Mark the Date: Stars & Stripes -2024 - January 12th-15th
January 12th - 15th, 2024
Bayfront Convention Center
Erie, PA - USA
Women's USAG Levels 2 thru 10/ Open
Women's X-cel Bronze - Sapphire
Men's USAG Level 3 thru 10
Men's Xcel / All
Welcome to the Stars & Stripes Coed Invitational! Thanks for taking an interest in our competition. This is the 21st Annual Stars & Stripes Invitational. Thanks to a lot of hard work from a lot of great people, Stars & Stripes has grown to become one of the biggest and best meets around!
Last year we were filled to capacity with over 2,000 Athletes from over 55 quality Gymnastics Clubs, 4 Regions, 6 States, and 2 Nations.
We're again expecting a full house. This years event promises to be even bigger and better!
We encourage you to secure your entries as quickly as possible. Please use USAG Meet Reservations & Meetmaker.
About the year 2001, Erie Gymnastics / Team Lightning was growing as a business and Team and simply wanted to host a 'big meet'. During that year we researched all the components involved with hosting a 'big meet'.
Just up the road from Erie Gymnastics, Penn State Behrend Campus had just built a beautiful Sports Facility. The only weekend they had open for us to rent it was Feb. 1st - Groundhog Day. We were pretty nervous about this venture in that like a business, there is a small fortune in investment necessary to get started. If no Teams came to our event, we stood to lose a lot of money. With that in mind, on September 10th, 2001 we had a planning meeting for the first "Groundhog Day Invitational". We voted to go forward with the meet and wrote out and put in the mail a small fortune in deposit checks and contracts - (Facility Rental / Equipment Rental / Judges / Hotels...).
The following morning we woke up to the Horror of the Terrorist Attacks on our Nation! The world as we new it changed in an instant!
Gymnastics was the last thing on our minds, but somewhere along the line, we wondered if we would even have a 'gymnastics season'. Air Traffic was cancelled, people were afraid to meet in public places, even the NFL cancelled games.
As our Nation started to heal, we felt kind of silly celebrating a "Ground Hog" when the nightly news featured the heroic acts of brave Firefighters, Police, Rescue Workers who were running up the buildings as they were coming down. Our Military was also gearing up to take the fight to the terrorists.
We decided to direct attention in their direction. To thank them, to honor them, and to honor our Freedom to assemble to watch our beloved and talented children participate in their favorite sport!
That first year we put everything we had into that competition. We had 225 athletes participate in the event - which was exactly what we needed to break even!
The attending team raved about our efforts and promised to be back next year. Each year we grew... eventually growing out of 1 facility and then another. As the meet became more and more successful, we started giving back. Each year we've taken on various 'local' charities that have a positive impact on Military / Fire / Police & Rescue Workers. To date, we've been able to assist and dontate over $100,000.00 dollars to various 9/11 charities... including Search & Recue K9 Team / Returning home funds for VETS / Volunteer Fire Departments / Care Packages for Active Military / Veterans Miracle Center and much much more... all in the name of our Extended Gymnastics Family!
Star's & Stripes has grown to become the largest Coed Invitational in Pennsylvania. The event attracted 2,000 athletes, 55 teams, and thousands of spectators.
The Event has moved into the beautiful Bayfront Convention Center - right on the downtown Erie waterfront - with 2 convenient attached Hotels.
Erie is the 'snowiest' cite in the USA, but there is still plenty to see and do while in town! Erie welcomes you with all sorts of things to do including Presque Isle Downs & Casino / Peak & Peak Ski Resort / Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park / our huge Millcreek Mall Shopping Complex / Presque Isle State Park / Wine Tours... and much much more!
Each year we put ALL we have into the Stars & Stripes. We pride ourselves on conducting a Fun, Fair, Organized Competition. We pride ourselves on the 'personal touch' where at some meets... well - you feel like cattle getting shuffled through. We think about the comfort of seating for the parents, the visibility of the equipment, the decorations. We think about getting accurate and quick computerized scores. We believe that the gymnasts who work hard enough to earn a medal & trophy - that they are special and custom to the event. We think about access to Hotels, places to get a good meal, Things to do... which all add to the experience. We think about the Firemen, Police, Military, & Rescue workers who continue that line of work today and honor them and invited them to be our guests (free admission) and helping out with our Awards Ceremonies. In essence, we really try to make it a Special Event for ALL! We look forward to seeing you at the Star's & Stripes 2022!
One unique and really cool feature of our Stars & Stripes is the "Main Event!"
What is the Main Event?
As the Stars & Stripes began to grow, the Press became heavily interested in this 'huge event' taking place in downtown Erie. As a gym owner, it's hard for me to even explain to my customers the USAG ...
USAG Level System - let alone to a Press Reporter with limited knowledge of Gymnastics who in turn would re-explain it to an audience with limited knowledge of Gymnastics. In trying to explain it to the reporter he wanted to know when to tell the public when the Top Athletes were competing. He - rather than I - saw this event like a "Prize Fight", and dubbed it the "Main Event"! That stuck.
Apparently he had a good amount of readers to his article in that we had a huge audience for the Event. Sure, we had the normal audience of Mom's & Dad's of the gymnasts. But the place was packed with many people who do not even have a child in the sport. General Public who've never seen a 'live' gymnastics Competition.
It was FUN! Not just for me, but for the coaches & athletes. They were performing to a packed crowd - like a rowdy Football Game. A level 10 might miss a release on Bars and 'belly smack' on the mats, and you'd get this huge collective 'Ohhhh!'. The same was true for when a Gymnast stuck a Vault.
Sure, the audience was heavily rooting for the local athletes, but were super supportive of ALL of the athletes.
THUS - ever since, we've advertised the "Main Event", and reserve it for the Highest Level Gymnasts attending the Meet - typically the Level 9's / 10's. It's a lot of fun for ALL to have a full house for the Athletes.
Women's Team Sanction
Men's Team Sanction
Also Register via USA Gymnastics Meet Reservation System.
* Note: All teams must go thru both systems.