Two of the five presentations made to the Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel are first-time events. The Panel met for the first time this year, January 19th and introduced a new board member, Chad Hart, the Executive Director of Canyons and Plains tourism group, which serves the southeast Colorado area. The two new events were the Colorado Versatility Ranch Horse Association-Schooling-Clinic and Competition, set for June 11-12 at Lamar Community College and the Lamar Baseball Booster Club Spring Baseball Tournament, set for April 30-May 1 at the Lamar Sportsplex fields.
Connie Brase detailed the Ranch/horse session as a two day event with a clinic covering aspects of horsemanship on Saturday and competition on those courses on Sunday. The $2,500 requested will cover facility rentals, insurance, judging fees and cattle contracts. “The number of cattle we need will tie in to the number of contestants who sign up,” she explained, adding that each rider will need at least two fresh head of cattle for the competition. Brase said she estimates about 50 participants will attend the first-time event.
Holly Cruikshank, Jim Larrick and Blake Carere described the Booster Club Baseball Tournament which will feature 10U and 12U age groups at the Lamar Sportsplex April 30 and May 1st. Larrick said it will consist of an eight team tournament with Round Robin play and semi-final and finals competition. Carere added that the new booster club group hosted a regional tournament last year with ten teams from North Dakota, Kansas and Minnesota, “the teams were impressed with our facilities with only two fields then and now that all four will be ready this spring, we want to show the fields off and start making this the first of many future tournaments.” Larrick added that the club plans to use the requested $1,650 in funds for intensive advertising for the tournament, “We’re going to Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas, plus direct mailing through our Rec Department to all the others throughout Colorado, plus our contacts with existing baseball organizations.” He said one of the goals is to bring a lot of competitive teams to town, play in our great fields and spread the word so we can build up our facilities as a sports hub for tournaments.
A request for $8,000 from Mike Reed of the Colorado State High School Rodeo/Southeast All Stars, was presented to the Panel. The event, which will bring in approximately 150 contestants, will be held April 2 and 3 at the Prowers County Fairgrounds and the funds will be used for marketing and contract fees.
Cindy Bennett, representing the Wild West BBQ Cook-off, asked for $2,000 to promote the contest held the week prior to Lamar Days. Approximately 27 teams attended last year’s BBQ competition which awarded $10,000 in total purses for various types of entries. Although not a lot of vendors book motel rooms, Bennett said the event does bring numerous people to town. Because the BBQ chefs own expensive mobile units, they prefer to camp in the park for the event, rather than leave them unattended. “One thing we’ve been asked about is to offer more food vendors to accommodate the crowds who want to enjoy some BBQ,” she explained. Although there are two dozen entries, the majority of them are there to compete for cash prizes, not to cook for the crowds. Bennett explained health code requirements for the two day event can be costly.
Ron Cook gave a run down for activities and visitors expected for the 21st Lamar Days Rod Run set for May 20 and 21st at Willow Creek Park. Cook is requesting $3,000, the same as last year for marketing the event which is attracting display cars from neighboring states. The event raises money for the annual fireworks fund through the No Booze-Cruise with Cops run the Friday before the weekend. Cook said last year’s display had 160 vehicles, the best showing to date for the annual event.
The only event which received funds had made their request late last year, for the annual Sand and Sage Round-up Concert. The request had been tabled pending the Panel’s receipt of tax funds from the state to make sure they didn’t deplete their account for more immediate event funding. The concert is held in conjunction with the Sand and Sage Fair and concert organizers had asked for $12,000 which was approved by the Panel. Cindy Bennett said the beer garden, held for the first time last year, played a large role in helping the Fair Board break even on finances. The other requests were tabled pending future Panel meetings which will be held February 16th at 4pm at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.
By Russ Baldwin
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