TINLEY PARK, Ill.--(Tinley Park Convention Center accommodates all maneuvers, both human and machine.)--It may seem like it's all about somersaults, flips and back hand springs, but for gymnastic competition Meet Directors, another major concern is cars and trucks. Holding their contests at the
“We need a minimum of 500 parking spots at any given moment, with gymnasts, coaches, judges and families in and out throughout the day.”
"Parking!" Kim Zenner, Aerial Gymnastics in Downers Grove says. "We need a minimum of 500 parking spots at any given moment, with gymnasts, coaches, judges and families in and out throughout the day." The Center's 1,500 free parking spaces solved that problem.
A great deal of equipment is required for meets; typically three or more semis full of mats, bars, beams and vaults. "The Center's multiple loading docks and over-sized doors make it so easy," said Debbie Satler, United Gymnastics Academy. "Our semis back right in."
Space inside is also a factor. "There are very, very few places in Chicagoland with this amount of space. We take all three ballrooms, the entire end of the Center. It's needed; we have about 300 gymnasts competing at a time," says Zenner. Satler adds, "The space is perfect, and the staff bends over backward. They make sure we have everything we need and are very responsive to requests. They can handle the floor roping. Electrical outlets for timers and scoreboards are exactly where they are needed; tables and chairs are in the right place. We loved the concession stand."
The carpeted floor is important for the competitors' comfort. "These are little girls, in bare feet all day. They don't wear shoes. At the Center, their feet are warm. They are not standing around shivering," says Zenner.
While the United Gymnastics Academy Invitational occurred in January, the Midwest Open will be held February 22 – 24. "We've expanded," says Zenner. "Because of the location – it's so easy to get here using the expressways – we're seeing more gyms participating." Gyms come from New York, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana and more. The attached Holiday Inn is also important. "We book about 70 rooms. Our families are pleased with that convenience and with the accommodations."
"We got phenomenal compliments, right and left, from everyone," says Satler. "Everything worked out to a T."