The new Rising Star Sports Ranch fieldhouse that opens this month in Mesquite is going to the dogs.
“Ironically, our first event in the fieldhouse is called Fly Ball,” Andre Carrier said in an exclusive interview with the Mesquite Local News. “It’s a canine event in which dogs sprint between two pylons to test their speed and agility in competition. I think these kinds of events will do very well in Mesquite.”
Carrier is COO of the newest hotel in Mesquite, Rising Star Sports Ranch, that opened last October. Almost immediately after the opening, construction started on a 30,000-square foot indoor fieldhouse, sometimes referred to as the ‘barn’ because of its replication of an old-fashioned red barn.
“We also have several Nike-sponsored sports camps scheduled throughout the summer including volleyball, basketball, softball and lacrosse,” Carrier said. “This is the only indoor training facility of its kind in this part of the country. It allows athletes to play their sports or participate in training camps during the day, in the summer in Mesquite, when it’s so hot outside. The entire fieldhouse is air-conditioned.
“Being able to offer these kinds of events in what is typically the ‘shoulder season’ in Mesquite is a major gam changer, not just for us but for all the businesses in the area.”
The Rising Star Sports Ranch will host an inaugural Sports Leadership Summit for high school and college athletic directors and people in the sports industry from May 19-21. The summit will feature a Keynote address by University of Oregon Men’s Basketball Coach Dana Altman and a series of distinguished speakers including UNLV Football Coach Tony Sanchez, UNLV Men’s Basketball Coach Marvin Menzies, UNLV Women’s Volleyball Coach Cindy Fredrick, and Impact Basketball’s founder Joe Abunassar. (See accompanying article in today’s edition of Mesquite Local News.)
One of the special features of the fieldhouse is the ability to quickly and easily change the floor surface from wood-based for basketball or other net sports to AstroTurf for other kinds of sports. The wood surface is the same quality used by major league sports teams. “We have 30,000 square feet of AstroTurf we can lay down on top of the wood floor when we need to change it. Velcro fastenings allow the AstroTurf to lay on top of the wood and is sealed by water,” Carrier said.
“This is a big opportunity for Mesquite because it gets us into the sports camp business. That’s something we haven’t been able to do before,” Carrier said. “Think about how far youth sports have come in Mesquite with our outdoor field facilities for soccer, softball and baseball. Now we have facilities for youth court-based sports including the Rec Center and the new high school gymnasium. Mesquite can now become as popular for court sports as we are for field sports.”
He said that adding the fieldhouse facilities to those of the new Rising Star hotel, including the four-acre backyard full of fun activities, that are all geared to traveling sports fans sets the entire facility apart from what’s available in other areas and major cities.
Carrier likens Mesquite’s blossoming youth sports market to how the city became a popular golf destination in the early 2000’s. “The whole city really nurtured the golfing market which helped the area to grow. We have excellent tournaments for soccer, baseball and softball. But, as an example, just a year ago we had zero lacrosse events. Already this year we’ve done seven lacrosse events. So far, we have ten lacrosse events scheduled for next year. As we continue down this road we can keep growing youth sports much like we did the golf industry.”
“It was always part of the long-term plan for the Rising Star,” Carrier said about the fieldhouse as phase two of the complex. “We just pulled it forward in the schedule because we could ‘see it.’ We decided we didn’t need to wait any longer to build it. We have a sales force that’s building relationships that will take us into the future growth of youth sports in Mesquite. It’s the dawn of a new day.”
Carrier applauded the excellent relationship the Rising Star staff has with the city staff when it comes to coordinating sports events. “We at the Rising Star can serve as a one-stop shopping service for teams and events who want to come to Mesquite. We can take care of the hotel room requirements, food requirements and sports facility scheduling requirements because we work with the recreation department staff so closely. Event coordinators can work with us directly and we can take care of everything they need. I don’t think that happens a lot in other cities or regions.
“Traveling youth sports is an $9 billion industry in the United States. All of this allows us to compete in what may be the fastest growing travel sector of the American domestic travel market. Mesquite is perched to compete remarkably well.”
Carrier said a new push to cultivate youth golf will be starting soon to help nurture the next generation of sports tourists for Mesquite. “In a ten-year or fifteen-year lens it makes sense. Kids will remember their fun golfing experience in Mesquite and want to keep coming back. Look at what we’ve done for golf in Mesquite the last twenty years. It’s a good cultivation for the city.”
For a full schedule of all events at the Rising Star Sports Ranch and fieldhouse, access its web site at www.risingstarsportsranch.com.