The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel voted to approve funding to secure the rights to host the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association Finals for 2016 and 2017. Panel members also approved $240 for shared funding of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce website and tabled a request for funds for the annual Sand and Sage Round Up concert in August.
County Administrator, Jo Dorenkamp, explained on Tuesday, December 15th, a community must submit a bid to the Rodeo Association to be considered as a potential host. The fees involved with putting on the rodeos for two years are $16,000 each year. Lamar last hosted the event in 2012-2013 before they went to Craig, CO. The bid due dates are January 8th of next year. If Lamar is selected, the rodeos will be held at the Prowers County Fairgrounds May 26-30 next year and the Memorial Day Weekend in 2017. A letter to the county from Sherri Schlegel, CSHS secretary, stated over 150 students and their parents could be anticipated for each of the two years which would impact motels, restaurants, grocery stores, feed stores and gas station outlets.
Brandon Sherwood and Cindy Bennett from the Sand and Sage Fairboard requested $12,000 from the panel to book a musical act during the annual county fair next August. Sherwood said last year, with the financial impact of the beer tent, the board was able to break even on their costs. The funds will cover contract fees at approximately $9,000 for the music show and $3,000 for marketing. The concert is set for August 6, 2016. The panel, which has helped fund the annual event, tabled the request pending additional funding expected through the coming year.
Year to date, the Panel has funded approximately $83,700 in requests and received motel use tax funds from the state at $24,500 for November and $7,400 for December with $14,000 held as contingency funds. While the Panel has requested at least a 90 day window between requests and the event to the funded, an increase in requests months before an event have been noted. This has prompted the Panel to delay action on some funding until its account has enough of a balance to entertain future projects from around the county.
The Prowers County Commissioners are currently advertising to fill three positions on the Panel and are accepting letter of interest to the nine member organization. The Panel is charged to administer funds derived from a 2% motel use tax. The monies are used for advertising and marketing which will bring people to the area from outside the county. State statutes stipulate that Panel members must have some form of professional affiliation with the tourism industry, serve for a three year term and attend the monthly meeting held on the third Tuesday of each month. Letters may be addressed to the Prowers County Commissioners at 301 South Main Street, Suite 215 in Lamar, CO 81052 by January 5th, 2016.
By Russ Baldwin
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