The City of Sparks just finished up making almost $393,000 in improvements, to the Sparks Marina. They've added 40% more lawn and built a retaining wall, all in an effort to get more events to come the marina.
5,000 spectators are expected to come to the Marina, this weekend, with the Xtreme Beach Sports Festival coming to town. Contestants from around the world will be racing jet skis at speeds up to 80 miles per hour.
"It's like NASCAR," UWP Watercross Tour CEO AJ Handler said. "It really is. You've got your different teams and they're here to compete for a championship."
16-time world champion, Dustin Farthing says he's excited to compete at the new course.
"Buoys, reds are right-hand turns," Farthing said. "Yellows are left-hand turns and usually ends up being about 10 to 15 laps per race."
The UWP Watercross Tour is held in 10 cities across the country but this is the first time it's been held in Sparks.
"We've been working on trying to come to this venue for the past five years," Handler said.
But the new venue also comes with some challenges. Racers are doing some last minute adjustments to their jet skis because of the higher elevation. But contestants say they're excited to be in Northern Nevada.
"We went up to (Lake) Tahoe yesterday for the day and we're staying in Sparks until Monday," Farthing said. "So, we'll definitely hit some casinos, do some gambling, and hopefully take some money back with us."
Crews are also getting the Marina ready for it's first ever pro beach volleyball tournament, bringing in new sand and getting a little help from the tour, itself.
"We donated some permanent poles that we bought just recently," EVP Volleyball Tour President and CEO Ross Balling said. "We want to make sure we leave a beach better than when we get it."
No matter which event you're into, organizers say this venue offers a unique experience for everyone involved.
"For us to be here with the lake and the mountains, this is new to us," Balling said. "We're used to going to beaches, so we're real excited to be here."
There are also several vendors set up so you can get something to eat or a cold drink. All of them are locally owned. This weekend's event is free to the public. So, if you're looking for something to do come on out tomorrow or Sunday.