Rockford hosts the biggest music festival in Illinois and is the hometown of an AHL hockey team known as the Rockford IceHogs. The north central Illinois city of more than 150,000 people is also the hometown of the famous rock group Cheap Trick.
In April 2013, Rockford gains another distinction as host of the NCTTA's 2013 championship games. The best collegiate players in the USA and Canada will be visiting the north central Illinois city for three fantastic days of table tennis next spring.
NCTTA leaders this week selected Rockford over seven other competing sites across the United States, including cities in such states as Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico.
NCTTA President Willy Leparulo thanked all eight USA cities for recently submitting bid proposals and taking the time to turn in a massive amount of paperwork. The proposals covered everything from facility lighting to floor space, from area restaurants and cultural attractions to details about transportation, overnight lodging and other amenities.
But, as is the case, every year, only one site could be selected for the three days of fancy paddles, awesome spins and powerful slams.
Rockford's proposal stood out in the eyes of most NCTTA voters.
Rockford has a nice setup with the hotel and venue so close to each other,'' Leparulo said. It's really something that NCTTA players, coaches and fans never experienced at its championship games in recent years. The Rockford bid proved very attractive, he said, primarily because it puts the major hotel and facilities for table tennis within walking distance.
NCTTA leaders picked their 2013 site with just over a month to go before the April 2012 championships in Plano, Texas.
There will be plenty to do for Rockford visitors when they are not playing, watching or dreaming table tennis. City leaders suggest checking out Jane, the 66 million-year-old dinosaur at the Burpee Museum of Natural History. The City of Gardens offers 7,000 acres of parkland, tree-lined streets and an exceptionally green downtown. Go see the Anderson Japanese Gardens. Rockford's sports facilities are first-class. Rockford life centers around the Rock River.
There are plenty of terrific collegiate table tennis teams in the vicinity of the Region of Four Rivers, including Governors State University, the University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin's campuses in Madison and Milwaukee. Rockland is a 60-minute drive west of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and some 90 minutes away from downtown Chicago. Rockford's airport is known as Chicago Rockford International Airport, and we predict many table tennis players will fly to the city to play their favorite sport.
For more information on the Rockford, Illinois proposal, visit the NCTTA's website. We're looking forward to returning our superb championship games to the Midwest in April 2013! Rochester, Minnesota served as wonderful hosts of the NCTTA's 2011 games.