Director of Marketing and Business Development, Rocky Top Sports World
Lori Moore’s enthusiasm is downright contagious: That’s one big reason for the first-year success of Rocky Top Sports World, an 80-acre indoor/outdoor sports campus for youth and amateur tournaments in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Moore played an instrumental role in securing 44 events for the new venue, 69 percent over projections. The estimated economic impact on the resort city is expected to hit $17 million by year’s end, and Moore couldn’t be happier.
“Being able to create economic value for the city you’re in is rewarding,” she says, adding the ability to hire local high school athletes as part-time employees lays the groundwork for a larger impact. “It opens up a whole new world to kids in the Great Smoky Mountain area. They may not all be able to play in the NFL, but [they can] learn [how to] run a sports facility, market sports or get involved in hospitality.”
Moore speaks from experience. She ran track, played basketball and was a cheerleader in high school, and always wished she had been good enough to compete at a higher level. After graduating from college, she went into destination marketing, working with city and county governments facilitating special projects. With her position at Rocky Top, she’s come full circle, combining her destination background with her love of youth sports. “I feel it was created for me,” she says. “To be able to provide a great experience in our community for families traveling in, and to know you’re making a difference in a child’s life and putting a smile on their face, is fulfilling and inspiring.”
Role models: “It’s hard to live in our area and not be a great admirer of [coach] Pat Summitt. She kept true to her character, worked hard and demanded excellence from those around her. I was also a big fan of the Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova rivalry because you never saw anything like it between two strong women.”
Fields of dreams: “As much pressure as girls are under now to act a certain way, with sports, they realize it’s not all about appearance—it’s about athleticism.”
Photos by Dan Watson