JUNE 6TH, 2016 Heather Good HEATHER GOOD

It’s the largest sporting event ever to land in Evansville. The 10th Annual National Theatre on Ice Competition will bring people, money and attention to the city.

The Evansville Sports Corporation and the Greater Evansville Figure Skating club secured the competition for June 2017. Skaters will hit the ice at the Ford Center and will practice at Swonder Ice Arena. The event is expected to bring in more than 4,500 visitors with them booking more than 5,500 hotel rooms in the Evansville area.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says, “Half the rooms that have been blocked have already sold, incredible. Our convention hotel already sold out. That’s music to my ears to be honest with you.”

The U.S. Figure Skating sanctioned event hosts 1,700 skaters.

River City Ice Theatre Team Manager Jill Plough says, “It’s the largest event that’s ever been brought here. They’re expecting about ninety teams. Teams can have up to twenty-four skaters per team so that’s huge.”

The local River City Theatre team first competed in the event in 2012. Last year it earned fifth place but the team is aiming for gold this year in a sport combining dance and skating.

Plough says, “They have a short program and a long program much like the individual competitions you see on TV. So our short program everybody has to wear all black. For the long programs it’s free and open to whatever we would like to do and you will see elaborate costumes, make-up, props, backdrops, everything. Some of the teams will do tricks, they throw, they lift. It’s really exciting.”

Young skaters say they are looking forward to hosting the big event at home so more people can learn about and enjoy what they do.

Skater Lilly Ferguson says, “It’s big and it’s really fun and you can learn new things and you see other teams perform and you meet people. It’s just fun.”

The team is hosting the River City Showcase this Saturday at 5:30pm at Swonder Ice Arena. There, you can see the programs the team is taking to nationals. It is free to the public but donations are accepted.