DETROIT (WWJ) – EnGarde! Detroit is bringing a major fencing tournament to Detroit this weekend.
It will mark the first time in a quarter century that the North American Cup is being held in Michigan. The tournament will take place at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13.
Bobby Smith, CEO of EnGarde! Detroit, says the event will pump millions into the local economy. “Having 5 to 10,000 people downtown is the equivalent of about $2 to $3 million in tax revenue for the city over this weekend,” Smith told WWJ Newsradio 950. Smith says he hopes this is just the beginning. “So, if we can get larger tournaments and more frequent tournaments, we can … use it as a cultural exposure for our youth, but also increase the tax revenue for the city.”
Smith says the art of fencing simultaneously trains the mind and body, creating well-rounded children. While he says all sports offer opportunities to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble, he describes fencing as a good way for inner-city youth to explore other activities that keep them physically fit and mentally active.
As a Jamaican immigrant, Smith used fencing to escape his environment and trained with members of the Olympic team in New York. He attended Wayne State University on a fencing scholarship, which he says, changed his life. “The more we expose our kids to, the more chances they have, the more opportunities they have to be successful.”
Click here for more information on EnGarde! Detroit and this weekend’s fencing tournament.
Terri Lee – Entertainment Reporter