MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The biggest money-making sports tourism event of the spring season was held this weekend in Myrtle Beach.
The Battle of the Beach brought in a combined $12 million last year and showed no signs of slowing down this year.
Thousands of cheerleaders, coaches, family members and supporters came out to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
The event is one of the biggest draws for the sports tourism industry on the Grand Strand and features some of the top athletes in the country.
“It takes more than one person to accomplish these goals,” said Isaac Chubb, a coach and cheerleader who has been at the top of the sport since 2009.
Chubb wants to make sure cheerleaders get the respect they deserve as athletes.
“I played football all through my highschool years and cheerleading is the by far the hardest sport, key word sport, that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Chubb.
13 year old Kaitlyn O’Connor, a cheerleader from Pennsylvania agreed, “when they play football all they do is throw the ball, we throw 100lbs girls.”
“I can tell you these girls work harder than any other athlete,” said Paul Rought, a proud cheerleading dad who said he’s seen the sacrificing they make first hand.
“I’ve seen more injuries in cheer than any other sport,” said Rought.
Tori Gloskin is on team Cheer Extreme from North Carolina, she wants to pursue the sport in college.
Cheerleading scholarships aren’t available at the school she’s enrolled in, but she’d like to see that change.
“I think that’s something that could be really big and a lot of people could benefit from that with school through scholarships,” said Gloskin.
Because people who came out for the competition say the time, dedication and commitment cheerleaders give to their craft should be appreciated by all.
“We put a lot of money and time, so we’ve got to get pumped about this,” said Rought.
Numbers from last year show baseball was the only sport to bring in more dollars to Myrtle Beach’s sports tourism industry than cheerleading.
The Battle at the Beach was third largest money maker, after two events held in the summer.