NAIA championships a boost to Cedar Rapids economy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

NAIA championships a boost to Cedar Rapids economy

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)- For John Neiss of Ronan, Montana, it was a moment a long time in the making.

"It's been a hell of a ride," Neiss said.

Neiss drove close to 15 hundred miles, covering five states in two days, eating up more than $150 in gas.  It was all to get a first hand glimpse of his freshman son Cameron competing for a national championship.

"Money becomes a non-issue. You can't miss it when the situation arises," Neiss said.

For the first time ever, Cedar Rapids played host to the NAIA Wrestling National Championships, brining more than 300 athletes and their families into town from all across the country.

"Because of all of the successes of wrestling in the past and the great wealth of people here knowing how to do an event like that, we were able to host it," said Mary Lee Malmberg with the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The tournament is projected to bring in an extra $390,000 for the area in direct spending and is expected to have a lasting impact on the Corridor area.

"Not only is it good for the community in terms of the economic impact, but it also gives us a chance to showcase the Cedar Rapids area," Malmberg said.

In the end, the experience has been a win for the Cedar Rapids community, and a win for the Neiss family, who will return home to the Treasure State with a seventh place finish and memories to last a life time.

"My dad's been a huge supporter, whatever I did.  I've appreciated every bit of it.  Like he said, money really isn't a big issue when coming to a tournament like that.  I've just really appreciated it a lot," Cameron Neiss, a freshman from Montana State-Northern University said.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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