The HUG E. Awards are presented by the Huddle Up Group to sports tourism industry leaders who made a significant contribution to their community, organization, or industry.

In the namesake of the Huddle Up Group mascot, HUG E. Bear, the HUG E. Awards were created in 2018 to recognize sports tourism leaders for their positive contributions to the industry.  Recognition categories vary and are given throughout the year at various industry gatherings.



Ashleigh BacherT

Executive Director, Durham Sports Commission

Staring a new sports commission is a challenging endeavor.  Doing so in your home town is another challenge all together.  Ashleigh Bachert is doing just that.  As the first Executive Director of the newly formed Durham Sports Commission, she is tasked with galvanizing the sports leaders in Durham to unite for the betterment of the community.


Josh Todd

Executive Director, Omaha Sports Commission

The professional journey in the sports tourism industry can take many paths.  Josh Todd has been an athlete, parks leader, CVB sports guy, trade show manager, consultant, and now, Omaha Sports Commission Executive Director.  Josh’s HUGGIE was preemptive.  We know he will be successful in Omaha and wanted to thank him for his long standing support of the sports tourism industry and as positive reinforcement to the successes that will come next for Josh and his family. 


Sports Facility Advisory

Sports Facility Management

As the preeminent sports facility consulting and management company in the country, SFA and SFM have already cemented themselves as industry leaders.  What many don’t see is their commitment to community.  SFA and SFM have collaboration in their DNA.  Their leadership participate in the national discussion on youth obesity and how to create communities where our kids can be active and prosper.  Their founders and team members invest time and resources in the things that are important, and not just things that drive the bottom line.


About HUG E. Bear

HUG E. Bear has been a staple of the Huddle Up Group since he came on board in 2012 to help embody what the Huddle Up Group is all about.  While supporting the efforts of the award winning team, HUG E. Bear serves on the front lines as a popular face and reoccurring guest at events all across the country. 

A Cal Berkeley graduate and named after longtime actor Antonio Fargas, HUG E. Bear boasts a well-rounded background in operations, marketing, and public relations, all of which aid in his increasingly valuable role that grows with notoriety.