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410 W MAIN ST • ARDMORE, OK 73401 • (580) 223-7765 • Fax: (580) 223-7825

United States Chamber of Commerce Accredited

Looking Back at the Year in Tourism

02/04/2018

2017 was an exciting year for tourism in Ardmore.

It seems like just yesterday, but 12 months ago the Ardmore Tourism Authority was starting the year with a flurry of activity. After months of research and effort from stakeholders across the Ardmore community, the ATA launched the final product of the community branding campaign. It was a fantastic moment thanks to the efforts of many Ardmoreites - and it was just the start of a great year.

2017 was exciting for tourism in part because of several new events coming to town. Ardmore hosts many sporting events, which have a tremendous impact on local tourism and economy. Events like the Oklahoma Texas Shootout Youth baseball tournament, which draws youth teams from across the region for three weekends in the month of April, have become annual mainstays. This past March, Ardmore was fortunate to add the “North vs. South Red River Classic”, which brought over 30 competitive fastpitch softball teams to town. The event was an incredible success with the tournament set to return and expand in 2018.

Last year also included the first air race to visit Ardmore in the 41st Air Race Classic (ARV) at the Downtown Executive Airport. The ARC is an annual all-women cross-country airplane race inspired by the voyage of Amelia Earhart. This year’s field included 54 planes and 118 pilots from across the globe. Each team made its way through Ardmore before crossing the finish line, leaving rave reviews of the city and our hospitality. With luck (and some intentional effort), this success will lead to the attraction of similar competitions in the future. 

Of course, I would be remiss to not mention potentially the biggest tourism event for 2017 - the return of a HOG Rally to Southern Oklahoma. In its new regional format, the Harley Owners’ Group drew 1,500 riders to Ardmore from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and beyond. The three-day October event showcased the entire city of Ardmore, from downtown merchants on opening night to concerts and competitions at the Ardmore Convention Center. The Harley owners left town singing praises for the community and promising to return in the future.

2017 also included the addition of exciting new attractions like the UrbanAir Adventure Park for families to enjoy, as well as the beautifully restored Mercy Train moving downtown. As you can see, last year was quite eventful. 2018 promises to be another great year for tourism, with new projects like the Clubhouse at Regional Park, City Streetscape and continued development at Depot Park set to provide even more reasons for people to visit and enjoy Ardmore.