LOUDON COUNTY - The World Wake Association's Malibu Factory Smoky Mountain Pro wraps up on Saturday with semi-final and final events starting Saturday morning and running through the early evening.
Some of the best wake boarders in the world are shredding the waters of East Tennessee. $40,000 dollars in prize money is up for grabs this weekend.
The event is a showcase of the world's best wake boarders.
"Let the boat pull you up. You don't have to pull or push knees bent toes up everything from the waist up right there, explained pro riders Tom Fooshee and Massi Piffaretti.
These two are in the running to win this weekend's event. The Smoky Mountain Pro is the first stop in three-date tour, putting Loudon County on a global showcase. Next up for the tour is Austria and Japan.
"It's an opportunity for us to not only bring in wake boarders and professional athletes from all around the world, but also show off things that are made here in Loudon County like the Malibu boat,” said Visit Loudon County Executive Director Rachel Baker.
This weekend's event is an example of sports tourism. Bringing athletes and spectators with a chance to a make a big economic impact, much bigger than many one day events.
"It holds people here for a number of days, that's what we're trying to do in tourism get people to spend more time and more money essentially,” said Baker.
It's hard to gauge how big the impact will be - this is the first time the county has hosted the event.
But they expect it to be something they can grow from, host in the future and show off Loudon County on the world stage. Saturday morning the event will let riders show off their best tricks and welcome in a young fans in an effort to continue growing the sport.
“I’m stoked to let all those people see our set up here in Tennessee,” said Piffaretti.
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