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GHSA wrestling tournament brings in millions to Macon-Bibb economy

The individual wrestling tournament runs through Saturday at the Centreplex.

MACON, Ga. — If you live in Macon, you might see license plates from all over the state this weekend.

The GHSA's individual wrestling championships run through Saturday afternoon at the Centreplex.

If you don't know a pin from a take-down, it doesn't matter -- you're still winning as a taxpayer.

GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines says the crowds have packed it into the Centreplex.

"Well we have over 1,500 wrestlers vying for the individual state championships, so at the end of it all, there will be one left in each," he said.

In fact, it's a challenge to find a parking space outside.

Inside, every one of those 1,500 wrestlers seems to have a cheering squad.

"You got parents, family, members -- this place has been full," Hines said.

That's what the Macon-Bibb Convention and Visitors Bureau is banking on.

They estimate this event, along with the duals that happened last month, will bring in $3.4 million to the city's economy.

Matt Sanders is a coach at Pepperell High School.

"We're from Rome, Georgia we got into town 5:00 on Wednesday evening," Sanders recalled.

He says they brought seven kids to Macon this weekend, and all of them are hungry.

"They eat a ton," he chuckled.

Sanders says they get athletic booster support, but it's still expensive to hit the road.

"Between room and board and what all the kids eat, probably close to $1,500 for the weekend," Sanders estimated.

It's money that will get pinned down in the local economy while wrestlers try to take home a trophy.

"They've accomplished a great deal to be a state champion in the state of Georgia," Hines said.

Wrestling ranks as the second-highest sports economic moneymaker. Tennis is number 1 for Macon.

RELATED: 'It gets bigger and better every year': Macon hosts GHSA Team Duals Wrestling Finals

RELATED: GHSA Wrestling State Championship: Central Georgia's top finishers

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