PNQ volleyball tournament Spokane's most successful ever



Posted on March 29, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 29 at 6:55 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- According to Visit Spokane, The PNQ volleyball tournament has brought in more money than ever to the city.
More than 10 thousand people have been staying at Spokane’s hotels and shopping at local stores for the March event.

The Pacific Northwest Qualifier (PNQ) youth volleyball tournament is a middle school and high school girl's tournament.  The competition has been a tradition in Spokane for the last 17 years.

"We are the smallest qualifier in the smallest town nationwide," said Eric Sawyer, President of the Spokane Sports Commission.

But the event makes a big impact for the city of Spokane.

"It's the single largest sporting event annually that we host, generating the most hotel stays," said Sawyer.

WATCH: PNQ volleyball tournament sees spike in teams

Over two weekends, hundreds of teams from around the country pack into Spokane County hotels.

Some event leaders say it's all thanks to people like Kevin Twohig for bringing the tournament here in the first place.  Twohig has been on the USA Volleyball board for years.

"We just really have a great volleyball community here,” said Twohig, the CEO of Spokane Public Facilities District.  “I just knew if we could get the event, we'd find tremendous people to operate it."

April Stark and her father took the reins of the Pacific Northwest Qualifier, starting out with only 50 teams. That number has grown to more than 600.

"We like to call it our down home tournament because we like that personal touch," said Stark, the Director of the Pacific Northwest Qualifier.

Throughout the years, their friends at the Convention Center, the Hub in Spokane Valley and Eastern Washington University have provided courts for their players, and the Spokane Sports Commission helps with the tournament, too.  The commission helps find interns to help out with the event.  PNQ has also teamed up with 35 hotels and nearly a dozen restaurants in the area.

"They're on our website so people know where to go that are close and also support the tournament," said Stark.
Organizers say it's the coordination between the community that makes each year possible, and it is the tradition that keeps players coming back.

"I think through the years we've proved it belongs here, said Stark. “And I think the people who have competed here really enjoyed the experience."

For 2014’s edition of the PNQ, teams filled about 10,200 hotel rooms and spent about 4.5 million dollars - up 13 percent from last year.