Five Reasons Why We Love Grand Rapids

This month, USA Weightlifting is bringing another national championship tournament to Grand Rapids with the 2018 Nike National Youth Championships Powered by Rogue Fitness, June 14-17 at DeVos Place – the largest youth weightlifting event in the world. This is our second consecutive year to come to Grand Rapids, holding the 2017 Nike American Series Open 3 Powered by Rogue Fitness Sept. 8-10, 2017.

It wasn’t a coincidence why we came back to Grand Rapids, and I want to share our top five reasons why we love this city.

1. The Facilities.

We consider a lot of factors when we decide where to bring a national championship. From the mundane (like the distance of the loading dock to the competition area) to the extraordinary (like entrance plazas and participant experiences) — the place where we hold a national championship is of utmost importance.

We’re lucky to be able to host an event at DeVos Place. The facilities in Grand Rapids are first class. Set-up and tear-down of the event is easy. The building is gorgeous. Natural light floods the entrance plaza and welcomes participants and fans to a special experience.

2. The Location.

Grand Rapids is an ideal destination for our fans and athletes. It’s an easy flight to Gerald R. Ford Airport from virtually anywhere in the continental United States, and a quick drive from several urban centers.

DeVos Place is centrally located in downtown Grand Rapids, next to the meet hotel, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. This allows our participants to not worry about parking or how to get to the competition. It also gives them a great opportunity to enjoy everything Grand Rapids has to offer, including the adjacent (and beautiful) Grand River.

3. The History.

Sometimes when we pull into a city, there isn’t much to do or see. Sometimes it’s a drab convention center in the middle of a town that has been in existence for a couple of generations. Grand Rapids is different.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and burial site is just steps away from the competition, and it’s just one of several important pieces of history Grand Rapids has to offer. At USA Weightlifting, we’re all about enriching the lives of our athletes. From success on the platform, to personal growth and understanding, Grand Rapids helps us achieve this goal.

4. The Culture.

Here’s our dirty little secret. We like to have a good time when we’re out of town and away from our families.

Grand Rapids doesn’t disappoint.

When we were in town last year, we enjoyed some cool cafes, great local beer and fresh sushi all within a block of DeVos Place and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. This is a perfect opportunity for us to explore more of downtown Grand Rapids.

5. The People.

At the end of the day, we like working with good people. From staff at the airport, DeVos Place, and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, to the West Michigan Sports Commission and local clubs who helped organize this competition, there’s no comparison to the hospitality, helpfulness and friendliness offered by the people of Grand Rapids.

Join us for the 2018 Nike National Youth Championships Powered by Rogue Fitness June 14-17 at DeVos Place!  Buy your tickets here. And volunteers are needed daily if you’d like to help out.  We’re so excited to be back!


Weightlifting photos at USA Weightlifting 2017 National Youth Championships in Atlanta. Credit: LiftingLife/USA Weightlifting

Pedro Meloni
Guest Blogger
Pedro Meloni is director of events and sponsorships for USA Weightlifting, serving as the director of the 2018 USA Weightlifting Nike National Youth Championships Powered by Rogue Fitness June 14-17 at DeVos Place.

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