HURRICANE – Tourism and racing events were the main topics of discussion at the Hurricane City Council meeting Thursday. Two race promoters came seeking the city’s support for their events, and the city approved the formation of a city tourism committee.
6 and 25 Hours in Frog Hollow
Cimarron Chacon, of GRO Promotions, is the organizer of two mountain bike relay races, 6 and 25 Hours in Frog Hollow. Chacon presented to the City Council about her events, touting their economic impact to the Hurricane area. In their seventh year, the events use local vendors, provide significant press for the area and have encouraged the Bureau of Land Management to build more mountain biking trails, Chacon said.
Most of the race participants come from outside of Southern Utah. For instance, Chacon said, of the 228 racers in the 2014 6 Hours in Frog Hollow event, 61 percent came from northern Utah and 37 percent came from out of state – as far away as North Carolina, Rhode Island and British Columbia, Canada. The 2014 25 Hours in Frog Hollow race attracted 366 racers; 90 were from Denmark and 15 were from Canada.
One-third of race participants stayed in Hurricane lodging accommodations for at least one night and spent money at local stores and restaurants, Chacon said.
Some of the funds raised by the Hurricane Lion’s Club and GRO during the events will go toward the construction of the Hurricane Wayside Park, 200 East and State Street.
Chacon came specifically to ask the city to support the races by donating emergency medical services, but she met some resistance. Councilwoman Pam Humphries said she would rather help the event with advertising than with EMT services. Councilwoman Ethelyn Humphries said the events are wonderful, but she was not sure Hurricane businesses benefited as much as Chacon was saying.
“We’re not just building an event,” Chacon said after the councilwomen voiced their concerns. “We’re building a brand – Hurricane as a mountain biking destination.”
Not only do racers come for the events themselves, they return two to six times a year to ride with friends and family, Chacon said.
City Manager Clark Fawcett was on Chacon’s side, saying the city needed to promote events that will keep bringing people back to the area. Mayor John Bramall also sided with Chacon, saying that donating EMT services is a small investment to get so many people to come to town.
In the end, Ethelyn Humphries made the motion for the city to pay for just the EMT personnel costs for the events, contingent upon fire district approval, which amounted to $1,382.50 last year. Pam Humphries and Darin Larson voted no, while Kevin Tervort and Ethelyn Humphries voted yes. In Darin Thomas’s absence, Bramall cast the tiebreaking vote – the first time he has done so as mayor – in support of donating the EMT services.
“I very much appreciate your support,” Chacon said.
The dates for the two races this year are April 18 for 6 Hours in Frog Hollow and Nov. 7-8 for 25 Hours in Frog Hollow.
Sand Hollow Marathon and Hurricane Mud Run
The City Council’s discussion and approval of EMT support for the Frog Hollow mountain bike races worked in Chris Mathison’s favor. Mathison, of Red Dog Events, organizing entity for the Sand Hollow Marathon and the Hurricane Mud Run, received quick approval for donation of EMT services from the council for his events, with all but Pam Humphries voting in favor.
The Sand Hollow Marathon will be held April 11, and the Hurricane Mud Run will take place May 16.
The council’s first agenda item included unanimous approval for the formation of a tourism committee that will be similar to Washington County’s Sports and Events Commission, tasked with helping promote Hurricane as a travel destination and serving as a liaison for the City Council in tourism matters. The mayor and City Council will appoint individuals from the community, many of whom work in tourism-related industries, to serve on the committee.
Amid the discussion on the racing events, Larson said the tourism committee would assist in such matters.
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