The USA Fencing Championship, the largest of its kind, is being held in Salt Lake City for the first time July 1 - 10 at the Salt Palace.
“For the national championship, first year," said Christine Strong-Simmons, senior director of operations at USA Fencing. “We move it around the country. We were in Dallas and next year we’re in St. Louis.”
The company decided to hold the competition in Utah due to the staff’s connection with Visit Salt Lake, a tourist-based company.
“Because of our strong partnership," Simmons said, "that’s why we keep bringing events to Salt Lake City. Our attendees love this city. There’s such a variety of restaurants and shopping and attractions. So we’re very thankful to be here.”
The competition includes two parts, a championship and an event called The July Challenge.
“So for the championship part you have to actually pre-qualify in your state in order then to come to Salt Lake City and fence in the championship," Simmons said. "The July Challenge is a very elite competition. It’s for college and high-school-aged athletes. That particular event is open to all US citizens and current residents as well as international athletes. So we have, for The July Challenge which occurs at the same time as the championship in the same exhibit halls, we have people from all over the world that are fencing in that event too.”
Strong-Simmons says that competitors range from eight years old to 94.