Jan McCormick – Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, LLC     jmccormick@gemstoneresorts.com 

Date: Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 10:06 AM  -  Dec 1 (3 days ago)

Subject: Checkers Tournament at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort, Pigeon Forge, TN

To: me

Dear JR,  

I’m writing you to inquire about the possibly of working w/ your organization to set up an annual Checkers Tournament here at DreamMore. I have sent the same email to Alan, the current President of your organization.

My company works w/ Dollywood and manages DreamMore Resort for them. You can view DreamMore’s website at www.dollywoodsdreammoreresort.com 

DreamMore promotes family values and spending time as a family together…board games like checkers and chess are part of our lobby experience and we thought DreamMore would be is the perfect setting for a winter weekend checkers tournament. Selfishly we are looking to create events that would draw folks in from different parts of the state (and beyond) to fill our hotel during an otherwise quiet part of the year. A sponsored “checkers tournament” seems like a perfect fit for our brand and the family values we adhere to. 

DreamMore would provide the prize winnings and offer special rates during the period for those in attendance, but we need an organizational body to help up put on and run a sanctioned event. Hoping you could direct me to the person (s) I might speak with who could help us structure a tournament for this winter (Jan-Feb). I know its short notice, but for our first year we would be satisfied just sponsoring and promoting the event for future years. It’s our intent to grow the tournament and over time create a world class event that attracts players from all over the world to East Tennessee. 

I can be reached by email or on my cell (below) 

I look forward to hearing from you 


Jan McCormick

Vice President of Operations

1912 Sidewinder Drive, Suite #105
Park City, Utah 84060
(435)214.5113 Cell (972)984.9164 Fax (435)658.2175

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Jan McCormick <jmccormick@gemstoneresorts.com> - gemstoneresorts.com emailed me Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 8:10 AM   Re: Checkers Tournament at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort 

Saying:  He and Kevin are available Friday and Monday of next week (4th and 7th). “I’m wondering if we could set up a call between us.” I can free my schedule up both days. If you tell me some times that work, I will send out a conference number.  I also yellow highlighted Jan's above statement.

Kevin Osborn  kosborn@dollywoodsdreammore.com  GM of DreamMore                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cordelia Marzak  cmarzak@dollywoodsdreammore.com  Marketing & Group Sales- DreamMore
Alvin Robinette   arobinette@dollywoodsdreammore.com  Director Entertainment/Recreation/Retail - DreamMore

I called and emailed Jan McCormick for a conference call on Monday afternoon, December 7, 2015. He will email Larry Michael, JR Smith the time and telephone number. We talked a little and he was thinking about a checker tournament in Dollywood's DreamMore Resort as open to the public as family entertainment. We would help organize and run it.  Also we would help promote it and bring in players in addition to his advertising and family entertainment promotional spin.  They provide playing lobby and cash prize funds, trophies, and whatever we need to support the tournament.  This may not be enough time and be extended to next year and build into an annual event in January or February?

I’m not sure he wants to support or promote a professional group tournament? If so we could suggested since we are in off season and also off season for our National which is scheduled last week of July, why not consider our 11-Man National, Pool Checkers, and International Checkers as a joint tournament at DreamMore Resort?  Not sure we want to promotion something like this by going in several direction to get more numbers and also harder to coordinate the other groups.

We usually play our 11-Man National either January or February over 3 days in Burlington, NC.  This year we were considering 4 days: (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday) January 15-18 (18th Martin Luther King Day) or February 12-15 (14th Valentine’s Day). We decided to shorten the tournament after talking to our core NC and TN 11-Man players.  It seems that January 15-17, 2016 is what most want and keep it in Burlington, NC at Econo Lodge @ $55 double queens and a free playing room.  Most of our out of town player will arrive Thursday evening, and stay Friday and Saturday night.

We are holding off publishing these dates pending on what happens with the DreamMore proposal.

Just an idea to bring in a variation of checkers:  There is NC Checker Association Officers and ACF District 4 Manager:    http://nccheckers.org/NCCA/officers.htm   Pool Checkers National Results & links to officers: ) http://www.americanpoolcheckers.us/americanpoolcheckers/  Also the 10x10 guys, International Checkers:  http://icaona.org/

Questions:  Dollywood's DreamMore Resort opened July 2015; Dolly Parton’s DreamMore 307 room family oriented resort.  Parton’s presence is felt throughout the resort, her fascination with butterflies, and named after the singer’s 2012 book Dream More.” 

Room Rates on internet are $135 in Jan-Feb (off season) and $180 in peak season.   What is our price and what is the guaranteed number of rooms to rent?

How many players are we looking at to make this a feasible start up event?

How much is open in off season for wives, kids, and other family members like theme park, water park, attractions, rides, live shows, craftsmen, food, dining, shopping, etc.  DMR/DW includes a spa, in/out pools, lazy river, restaurants, & retail stores.

Has similar programs or events been use to promote or fill Hotels with success?   I know about a checker tournament called Hatfield & McCoy Checker Tournament, Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO on July 4th that is played outside in a pick nick area.

Some individual Checker players (tournament sponsors) who might be interested in this conference call: 

Charles Walker  ichfcheckers@aol.com
Larry Keen   lkeen@lctn.com
Joe McDaniel 
Larry Michael  ltmichael@lexcominc.net
Michael Holmes  holmes_cdfm@yahoo.com
Alan Millhone  alan.millhone@gmail.com
Richard Beckwith  beckwith24@msn.com
JR Smith  jrsmithnccheckers@gmail.com
Teal Stanley tstanley336@aol.com
Frank Davis  931-552-4246 or 207-889-1499 call and give 1:30 Monday conference number and password
Alex Moiseyev  rusms@juno.com
George & Darlene Stallsworth  dstallsworth@stjoelive.com
John & Mickie Webster  mwebster002@triad.rr.com
Jeff Webster  jwebster6@triad.rr.com
Gerard Gerry & Marjorie Lopez   prof22@twc.com
Mel Tungate   mel@tungate.com
Bob Parks   rparksg20@gmail.com
Edgar Atkinson EdgarAtkinson@yahoo.com
Edward Pal Bucker buckerandson@sbcglobal.net
Elbert Jones EJones5873@yahoo.com
Roger Doll  rogerdoll@att.net
Roger Blaine  reblaine@hotmail.com
Gene Ellison gellison@hamiltoncom.net
John& Judy Grisley  unitedcountrysouthernrealty@frontier.com
John Acker   acker.jt@gmail.com
Leon Creek   slcreek@windstream.net
Don Brattin  donbrattin@roadrunner.com
Jim Morrison   jody@scrtc.com
Travis Weddle   tdub84@gmail.com
Ryan Pronk   ryan.pronk@gmail.com
Joe Moore   chexnchips@yahoo.com
Clarence Gooche  CGOOCH@nc.rr.com
Luba Turiy  ltur@optonline.net

First Annual Smoky Mountain Checkers Tournament

Conference Call Mon, December 7, 1:30pm – 2:30pm EST  |  605-477-2100...  passcode 229552#
you dial number and enter passcode  (FreeConferenceCall.com)


Call Agenda…First Annual Smoky Mountain Checkers Tournament… 

·       Goal is to create a tournament that will appeal to serious checker players who want to compete… and families looking for a fun weekend who want to spend time together and learn to play…    We might consider inviting other checker variations to get our numbers up in this off season and make it an annual event that is financially viable?  I realize different variations of checkers may complicate or compliment coordination and organizing the tournament event?   American Pool Checker Association  (APCA) http://www.americanpoolcheckers.us/americanpoolcheckers/  Clarence Gooche, President APCA  (919) 608-0862 CGOOCH@nc.rr.com  and International Checkers Association of North America (ICAONA) http://icaona.org/ Dr. Leon Paul or Lyublyana “Luba” Turiy 631-470-0555 ltur@optonline.net  You would have “English” Checkers or Draughts, Pool Checkers, and 10x10. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 ·       Discuss the viability of DMR hosting a Checkers Tournament at the resort in January (or possibly Feb) with the goal of attracting players from within a 300 mile radius to play for a chance to win cash and DMR/DW vacation prizes. It is off season for checkers as well, with the exception of our 11-Man National which is a small group like 25 players.  This is why I suggested the above.  I want it to work and benefit everyone, checkers & DMR/DW.

 §  Winners  selected by…(?)  Winners recognized by 1st five places in their division or group. (Cash, trophies, DMR/DM vacation prizes, rides, show, shopping, restaurant coupons or tickets)

§  Age category (?)  Classes or Divisions dictated by number of participants in particular skill brackets.

§  Ranking (?)  If a player who wants to play is associated or a member of ACF, APCA, or ICAONA they have a rating, otherwise they would be placed by a qualified veteran player by a few practice games or preliminary rated.

§  Other  (?)…  Youth players would be grouped or play in a friendlier, relaxed environment by age brackets

 ·       Coordination-Facilitation logistics-Resources   DMR/DW would furnish playing room or lobby (table & chairs) 4, 6, 9, or 12’ x 3’ folding table.  Have coffee, water, etc. available in playing room.  Both DMR/DW and Checker Organizations promote and advertise event.

·       Playing equipment    Checker organization provides Director and Sponsor who provides vinyl  boards & checker sets, clocks, game recorder sheets, scoresheet, pairing method (manual or computer) Referee, Score-Keeper, Tournament Arbiters for time, rules, playing disputes & tournament etiquette .  All this is already in place, and most players are familiar with tournament procedures.

o   DMR will need Tournament support…we’re not checker aficionados and have no clue how to put on a Tournament of this magnitude.   Understandable, we would gladly take up those duties and go over in detail what is involved in running a good tournament.  We want you to feel comfortable with this event.

o   Judges…  Using Time Clocks sets the pace for Master players so they finish in allotted time.  Majors and Minors are not that fastidious about an endgame ruling by a Master Player to stay on schedule with over-time games.  This is performed by the Referee who may call the decision or have a Master or two Master make a decision.  This is part of running a good tournament with established playing rules.

o   Board games…   We may consider other board games to get the numbers needed to make the event financially feasible.


·       Marketing   

DW Marketing Machine…email-Facebook-Digital     ACF has facebook called: USA Checkers https://www.facebook.com/usacheckers  |  Pro Checkers  https://www.facebook.com/procheckers?fref=ts  | Checkers Group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/154876167883213/

o   Checker Club Memberships throughout Tennessee-North Carolina-South Carolina-Georgia-Alabama- …etc.   I am speaking for Tennessee Checker Association (TCA) Frank Davis, President – 250 mail list but 40 active players and 20 playing any given tournament.  North Carolina Checker Association (NCCA) Teal Stanley, President – 300 mail list but 30 active players and 15 playing any given tournament. The Missouri Checker Association (MCA) George Stallsworth, President has a 300 mail list but 24 active players and 12 playing any given tournament. SC, GA, AL, LA,FL, TX, MS, AR, KS OK MO, WV, NY, NJ, OR, NE, ND, MI,MT, IN, CA,CT,DC, IA, MD are included in these 3 groups.  There is a small group of players in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New England States of 10 or less active players.  We also have a nice small group of Amish players from OH, IN, IL, and PA.  All these active players belong to American Checker Federation (ACF) Alan Millhone, President – 500 membership list of mostly US and including 20 foreign players but 200 active tournament players and 45 playing any given tournament. There is overlap of the membership list belonging to the MCA, NCCA, and ACF.  Most or our larger tournaments are currently at this 35-45 number.  The American Pool Checker Association (APCA) Clarence Gooche, President has 12 clubs making up their association of 350 but 150 active players and 75 playing any given tournament. These clubs play locally and sometime between each other and converging at two main events, their annual National in July with 75 players in 5 classes.  They don’t use a cash prize fund but give trophies at their awards banquet.  Their other event is the South Bend Tournament with 20 players.  International Checkers Association of North America (ICAONA) Dr. Leon Paul, President sponsors one main annual event in the fall in Florida that draws 25 US & International players.  I would like to add that our numbers were much larger 35 years ago, and our core tournament players are senior citizens.

·      Target Market Definitely Checker players and their families.  A family vacation with a checker tournament.  Also don't forget there is so much more too Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge as theme park, water park, lots of entertainment, shows, things to see, restaurants, retail/wholesale stores an outlet malls of every type.

o   Checkers clubs and their members  See above

o   Competitive Checker Players

o   Families

§  Grandparents who want to introduce checkers to their grandchildren  We might offer a free one-hour lesson in advance of the tournament, to teach potential players the rules and a couple basic checker strategies.

§  Young parents who want to introduce checkers to their children We could have a youth players' session with instruction on how to play and some basic skill in checker winning ideas with parents help tutoring their child some of these ideas.

·      Budget Discussion

o   Production/Operations

o   Cash Prizes (what will create major interest and draw for the serious checker player) A larger cash prize funds seems to motivate top talent and others who enjoy playing checkers.  This is best observed by reviewing Joe McDaniel who sponsors the Branson, MO Tournaments with $10,000+ prize fund paid out to entire field.  Lunch and refreshments furnished throughout tournament.