By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton will leave today for a whirlwind trip to North Carolina to try to convince a group of softball tournament teams and organizers to hold events in the city.
Shelton and Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Neal McCoy will visit Charlotte through Friday to attend a national softball conference with hopes of recruiting a tournament and professional association meeting to Tupelo.
They will pitch Elvis’ hometown as a destination for softball players for a Senior Softball USA tournament and the Independent Softball Association’s next meeting location, hoping to bring their hundreds of members and players.
While McCoy and staff at Tupelo’s CVB routinely meet with many types of organizations trying to recruit their events to Tupelo, this is Shelton’s first trip to try to convince a major organization to come to the city. Elected in June, Shelton said then he wanted to see more events and activities in Tupelo.
“I told Neal I’d be willing to go anywhere if needed,” Shelton said this week. “As I understand it, the mayor’s role is to show how serious we are about wanting them here.”
Shelton follows previous Tupelo mayors who traveled outside the city hoping to bring back future visitors and the money they bring. McCoy said Tupelo’s fame as Elvis’ birthplace and area restaurants and shops are the biggest advantages the city has in convincing organizers of tournaments, conferences and other events to pick the Northeast Mississippi city.
Locations selected for the tournament and meeting will likely be announced by Friday, McCoy said.