Lodging Panel Tables All Funding Requests at March Meeting



Panel Members, Brad Semmens, Ruthie Esgar and Myrna DuVall

Panel Members, Brad Semmens, Ruthie Esgar and Myrna DuVall

There’s a line from a country-western song of a few years ago, about there being, “Too much month at the end of the money!” And that might apply to the situation being encountered by the Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel.

For the first time in a long time, members of the Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel tabled all funding requests at their March 17 meeting and let one earlier request remain tabled for another month.  The panel is beginning to run short of immediate funds, due in part, to what may have been a partial payment from the state for the first quarter of the year of $7,060.  It’s not that the Panel is handing out money like there’s no tomorrow, but the timing and the growing size of some requests has become a prominent factor.


Panel Members, Vincent Gearhart (foreground) and President Pat Palmer

Panel Members, Vincent Gearhart (foreground) and President Pat Palmer

It’s only the third month of the year, but large funding requests for events have been made to the Panel and most of them are still months away on the calendar.  Three such recent requests are for events held in August and September.  The Panel receives funds each quarter, but there has never been any pre-determined amount of funds the state will allocate based on a 2% tax on rented motel rooms in Prowers County.  The Panel can’t give any funding to events beyond its annual balance and members have only a general idea of how funding from the state will go for the year, based on previous year’s payments.  At the same time, they have no way of knowing the dollar amount of the requests for the year, beyond requests for past annual events.  The Panel is concerned that if any new events request funding, will the money be available to carry through the remainder of the year.  The Panel is under no obligation to fully fund a request, while some return events have been asking for larger, not smaller donations.  Additionally, the Panel is dealing with contract fee requests for events, while years earlier, the only payments that were made went directly to advertise an event.  Panel member Diana Woller and Prowers County Commissioner, Wendy Buxton-Andrade said the Panel needs to determine if some events are charging participation fees, and if so, are they being used to cover the cost of contracting suppliers, livestock or otherwise.

A $17,000 request was made by Danielle Wollert, representing the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association Finals, scheduled for August 13-16 at the Prowers County Fairgrounds this year.  There was no advertising proposal included in the request, as Wollert said the funds would go to pay contract fees for the stock and the rodeo announcer.  Connie Brase described her request as an event that was new to the county, the Prairie Showdown, which would be held at the LCC Arena in early June.  “We’re on a roll for the event,” she said, adding that the arena has been taken care of, as well as the judges for the five events.

Brase explained that the competition is not the same as a traditional rodeo, “One event has some cutting in it, another is like a horsemanship class and has a pattern with cones, a third event has a reining pattern and then you box a cow; turning one out and working it, and there’s a trail class and a confirmation class on the horse and what they can get done.”  She requested $2,500 of which $1,000 would go to advertising and $1,500 to cattle contract fees.

The third request was for the annual Cowboy Up at the Wagons, held in Granada’s End of the Line Arena on June 20-21.  The all-day event is sponsored by the Santa Fe Trail Cookers and features judging of the best campsite, chuckwagons and how well cowboys and horses work cattle in the arena.  The event will coincide with the annual Granada-Bristol Days celebration.  Norma Dorenkamp stated, “We’re also coordinating with the annual Granada Alumni Dinner, so we hope to get more people staying overnight when they attend that.  We’ve added a trail ride on Sunday and the proceeds will go to the Southeast Colorado Cancer Initiative.”  Of the $3,800 requested, $500 will go for advertising and the balance will be used for contracts for six ranch teams and a stock charge.  This was the same sized request as last year.

The request for the September Fly In program at the Lamar Airport was tabled for an additional month.  At the February meeting, Peter Page and Chana Reed had requested $14,614 for the event, which had received $2,000 the previous year.  The additional $12,000 will be used to hire four aerobatic teams for the show and lengthen the program into the afternoon for additional viewers.

Tracy Godinez, General Manager of The Lamar Ledger, presented an advertising outline for a sustained monthly marketing campaign in the Ledger’s chain of newspapers throughout the state.  The online and hardcopy presentation would be geared to reaching more distant regions of the state, in an attempt to attract visitors who would rent a motel room while attending an advertised Prowers County event.  A suggestion was made at last month’s meeting, that a percentage of a local funding request, 20%, could be deducted to cover these newly proposed marketing fees.  Panel members took no action, but will schedule a work session prior to the April meeting to consider the proposal and how it would impact the Panel’s annual budget.

Carla Scranton, Lodging Panel office manager, compiled a spread sheet breakdown of all funding, by event, since the creation of the Panel in 2006, following a ballot question on a county-wide election.  The following is a rough outline of some of the funding for events:


Various Cap Ripken World Series               2007-2011             $71,400
Colo High School Finals Rodeo                   2008-2014            $63,000
PCDI Billboard Program                              2006-2008            $42,200
SECORHT (Heritage Tourism)                    2008-2013            $50,000
LCC Antelope Stampede                                2009-2014            $43,400
Sand & Sage Round Up/Concerts                2008-2013            $49,000
Snow Goose Festival                                       2007-2013             $30,535
Holly Blue Grass Festival                              2007-2014              $12,400
Lamar Days-Various Events (ads)               2009-2014             $32,739
Wild West BBQ/Cinco de Mayo                    2011-2014               $9,000

The total amount of funding from the Lodging Panel to promote events in Prowers County is $677,229.  These funds are not out-of-pocket expenses or taxes levied on Prowers County residents, but are originated from the 2% fee on any motel room rented in Prowers County.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinesscommunityCountyEconomyEntertainmentEventsFeaturedGranadaHistoryHollyLamarProwers CountyRecreationTourismWiley


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