The best gymnasts in the Southeast are returning for Foley for the 2024 Region 8 Level 6/7/8 Regional Championships April 26 – 28 and planners say it’s the city’s track record of successful events that has them returning.

USA Gymnastics Region 8 is home to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In May of 2022, Foley was the first in the state to ever host the Xcel Regional Championships. This time around the Foley Event Center will be welcoming competitors belonging to the USA Gymnastics Developmental Program in Levels 6, 7, and 8. Owner and coach at Bama Bounders Erin Holdefer-Kightlinger is part of the team that bid on the event to bring it to Foley. She explained that while both Xcel and the Developmental Program are different tracks within the sport both are highly competitive and this competition will feature only the best of the best. The event is set to draw 1,150 gymnasts who had to be in the top percentages of their respective states in order to qualify. As the final competition of the season, a spot at the Regional Championships is what they’ve all worked so hard to achieve.

With so much on the line, Holdefer-Kightlinger said that it was the goal of those planning the competition to make it memorable for every participant. She said when putting a bid together Foley was the obvious choice, especially considering the feedback she received after hosting the Xcel Regional Championships in 2022.

“We chose to put a bid in to host Regionals in Foley because of the absolutely stunning event center. Not only is it one of the best in the country, but the City of Foley’s staff is top-notch to work with. They go above and beyond to make hosting an event stress-free and enjoyable,” Holdefer-Kightlinger said. “Everyone that I got feedback from raved about the facility and the hospitality of the City of Foley. Many asked if we would bid again on another Regionals, and here we are. We would love to continue bringing State and Regional competitions to Foley. You can’t beat a place like that.”

Alabama USA Gymnastics State Administrative Committee Chair Mike Holdefer said Foley’s successful record of hosting gymnastics played a large part when the Regional committee was awarding the bid.

“The Xcel Regional had a huge impact on the decision as the bid vote was a tie and the tie-breaking vote was cast by the regional chair who was in attendance in 2022 and voted for Foley because of her experience with the event in 2022,” Holdefer recalled. “The suitability of the facility along with the experiences the coaches and judges had with hospitality and interaction with the Bama Bounder and Foley Event Center staffs were key.”

City of Foley Leisure Services Director David Thompson said the Foley Sports Tourism staff is committed to not only making great first impressions but also making great impressions each and every time an event comes to town.

“We are honored that those who attended the Xcel Regionals had so many wonderful things to say about their experience, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to rest on our laurels,” Thompson said. “Whether it’s their first visit or their hundredth, we always want competitors to look forward to trips to Foley. That’s why we’re always excited to work with planners like the Bama Bounders who consistently want to outdo their last event. We look forward to continuing to grow with them.”

For more information on the 2024 Region 8 Level 6/7/8 Regional Championships contact Stephanie Donald.