History books have long taken note of Independence, Mo., but now a whole new era of historians is giving special attention to this city in the heart of America: Sports historians. That’s because this town takes its sports as seriously as it takes its role in the chronicles of American culture. And besides, if you want to make your mark on the sports world, what better place than the place where records become, like President Truman, not just history, but legend?
The Benefits of Independence
Hometown of President Harry Truman and the fourth largest city in the state, Independence is rich in history, Midwestern hospitality and professional service. Centrality is just one of the city’s key benefits: located just 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City and 40 minutes from Kansas City International Airport, Independence offers a range of hotel options to meet every possible budget, as well as a plethora of attractions to make every sports event trip a true vacation.
The area’s historical attractions include the Truman Library and Home, Victorian mansions, an 1850s jail, the National Frontier Trails Museum, a historic Square, religious sites and more, but Independence offers the amenities and excitement of a full-scale family destination as well, with shopping (including the ever-popular Bas Pro Shops sporting goods store), golf, the Adventure Oasis family water park, Centerpoint Community Ice Facility and more than 200 restaurants.
Team Players Make a Mark
Experience has taught this historical city a key lesson in event hosting: everyone wins when you work as a team. Over the years, Independence has become known for seamless teamwork. From the planning stages to the finish line, the Independence Tourism Department and its partners work with event owners to ensure each event meets its unique goals, whatever they might be.
As a department of the City of Independence, the Independence Tourism Department acts as liaison to other city departments, streamlining each step of the event planning process and providing the following services:
Welcome bags including discounts to area attractions
Independence has honed its sports expertise (and made use of its impressive array of facilities) by hosting a huge range of events. The diamond dominates in Independence, with major events like the USSSA Girls Fastpitch World Series, National Amateur Baseball Federation Regionals and the Kiwanis Regional and American Legion Woodbat all calling Independence home. Other major events include the Western Division Ultimate Players Championship, National Silver Gloves and the Missouri Horseshoe Pitchers as well as a range of other tournaments from tae kwon do to cup stacking.
It’s no surprise, with this lineup of events, that Independence also offers a number of state-of-the-art facilities. With a mild climate and four distinct seasons, Independence hosts sports events year-round, indoor and outdoor, with venues that set the stage for sports history-making.
Independence Athletic Complex
Independence is home to an athletic complex with one of the country’s most unique locations: it sits atop the Geo Space Center warehouse, a 4.4-million-square-foot subsurface complex of offices, warehouse and light manufacturing space. The 165-acre Independence Athletic Complex features the following amenities:
Eight soccer fields (two lighted)
Three lighted softball fields
Two lighted baseball fields
Six practice football areas (one lighted)
Two restroom/concession buildings
One shelter for about 100 people
More than 1.5 miles of trails
Independence Events Center
The Independence Events Center is home to the Missouri Mavericks, named the Central Hockey League (CHL) 2011 top franchise of the year, and the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Missouri Comets. A state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility, the Independence Events Center features two sheets of ice, a 5,800-seat arena, 25 suites, 2,200 paved parking spaces on site, a first-class grill and community ice facility.
The Independence Events Center hosts more than 100 events each year and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors annually. There’s even time for those new to the ice to get acquainted with broomball, an on-ice team game played in street shoes rather than skates.
Drumm Farm Golf Course
Designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, this championship course is built over approximately 280 acres of preserved farmland located in the heart of Independence. Designed around meandering creeks and rolling hills, the course is adjacent to a nine-hole executive course.
A great venue for events ranging from 20 to 144 players, Drumm Farm specializes in providing a professional, well-organized function. The venue offers its own experienced professional staff is available to assist event owners throughout the entire event coordinating process.
7,121 yards, par 72
1,674 yard par 30 executive course
200 seat full-service club house
WinterStone Golf Course
No matter where you look, it’s unlikely you’ll find a golf course quite as unique as WinterStone. That’s because WinterStone Golf Course is named after Winter-set, the limestone formation underground, and while you’ll never see that limestone, it creates one of the most unusual golf course features in America. Every afternoon, around three o'clock, WinterStone golfers hear and feel a rumbling from underground, as miners blast the limestone that will be hauled out of the ground for processing.
WinterStone offers more than just rumbling thrills, though. This 18-hole, par 72 championship course designed by Craig Schreiner features rolling slopes to steep terrain, mature trees, and magnificent views. Twin lakes and creeks bring water into play on seven holes. WinterStone also offers "core golf," with all the holes running contiguous to each other, unobstructed by housing developments, as well as a professional tournament staff to help plan and execute each event.
6,752 yards, par 72
Driving range and bent grass practice greens
175 seat open air dining pavilion with concessions
Stone Canyon Golf Course
Open since May 2009, this 18-hole championship course is the only Greg Norman Signature Design in Missouri, with design traits that include creative bunkering and landscape accents that pay homage to some of the great courses in the world. The dramatic site has interesting rock outcroppings, rolling topography and dramatic long views towards downtown Kansas City to the west.
Now a public facility, the 18-hole Stone Canyon Golf Club serves as the centerpiece of a 300-acre development project in eastern Independence.
7,131 yards, par 72
Rockwood Golf Club
Mature trees line the fairways of this short but challenging public 18-hole course. The small quick greens make Rockwood a test for the most skilled short game player and challenges beginners to develop quality short games.
6,000 yards, par 70
In 2011 the USSSA 12A/14B Fastpitch World Series brought more than 1,200 athletes to Independence. Held at Independence’s Adair Park and Tiffany Hills Park in Kansas City, Mo., this five-day softball showdown returns to Missouri in 2012.
Named the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) 2006 Complex of the Year, Adair Park features seven lighted, fully irrigated, state-of-the-art softball fields. The park also offers five shelter houses with 40 picnic tables and an eight-station batting cage.
Everyone Plays in Independence
Independence has also placed a high priority in ensuring that all of its citizens and visitors have access to ample green space, resulting in a remarkable number of parks, trails and recreation areas throughout the city. Little Blue Trace Walking Trail is just one of many examples. Accessible from Hartman Heritage Center (I-70 and Little Blue Expressway) and Eastland by way of a new trailhead under construction, Little Blue Trace extends north to Blue Mills Road (just north of 24 Highway), offering pedestrian and bike trails approximately 14 miles long.
With more than 1,400 hotel rooms, 20 attractions, the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Complex and Lake, plentiful shopping centers and restaurants, as well as exciting Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals games just 15 minutes away, Independence is the perfect place to play, to stay and to make your mark on the sports world.
Come for the history. Come to make history: Independence, Missouri. Find out more at www.visitindependence.com.