Pierce County tourism will get a significant boost in December 2019 as USA Cycling has announced that Lakewood’s Fort Steilacoom Park will host that year’s Cyclocross National Championships.

The Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission spearheaded the bid to land the weeklong event, which is expected to bring thousands to Pierce County. TSSSC was selected over groups representing other major cities, including the Utah Sports Commission, the Oregon Sports Authority and the San Diego Sports Commission.

Early estimates suggest the championship will generate $1.5 million in direct spending by non-local sources.

“The cyclocross championship is the most contested bid for bicycle racing in the U.S.,” said Dean Burke, TSSSC executive director. “The last time the event was in the Puget Sound area—the 1990s—it was only a small fraction of the size it is now.”

More than 2,000 racers representing all 50 states will compete at the event, a mostly off-road bicycle race that includes obstacles, hills, and mud.

 “Alongside all of our state and regional cyclocross partners, we have been preparing for this for a long time,” Burke said. “The City of Lakewood has been a star for openly embracing cyclocross the way they have. Fort Steilacoom Park is an iconic venue for the sport in the Pacific Northwest.”