Tom and Becky swim invitational means big business for Hannibal

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20 swim teams, hundreds of competitors, and their families made for around 2,000 visitors in Hannibal this weekend.

It’s all for the 26th annual Tom and Becky swim invitational, and businesses are cashing in.

“Competing is really exhausting and tiring, but it was fun at the same time,” said swimmer Ronnie Benford.

Ronnie, her friend Emma Schourek and her grandfather Kurt Sortland drove from Kansas City with their swim team for this weekend’s competition.

Sortland said it’s a competition they look forward to every year.

“This YMCA really seems to have it all together, very organized, nice people, so we enjoy coming here,” said Sortland.

But for Hannibal, this event means more than just a fun weekend of competition, because all of the families are spending cash while they’re in town.

“When they’re not competing, then they are out and about and visiting all the attractions and restaurants and having a great time in Hannibal,” said Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Gail Bryant, adding that the event fills local hotels as well.

Something Cathy Thomure, a server at Fiddlestiks, said makes for a busy weekend.

“We enjoy having the swimmers come, they bring us good revenue, we look forward to meeting them, they come from all different parts of Missouri,” said Thomure.

“We have a team supper on Saturday night, so we look around for the best place to do that and that’s fiddle sticks today,” said Sortland.

“I’ve never been there so I’m excited to try out new foods,” said Ronnie, excited about supper.

Bryant also said for many of the visitors this weekend, it’s also an opportunity to learn more about the things to see and do in town. She said that means they could come back for another visit in the future.

Frank Healy

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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