GOWD committee solicits funding from City Council

Group boasts about success of Memorial Day event

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— The Grand Olde West Days (GOWD) Committee always knew its event was successful, but this is the first year members have solid numbers to back their statement.

The bull riding event, brought to Craig for the first time Memorial Day weekend produced what officials said was the largest crowd to grace the Moffat County Fairgrounds grandstands in 25 years.

This alone will testify to the success of the event, GOWD committee member Les Hampton told Craig City Council members Tuesday night.

Grand Olde West Days is held the weekend of Moffat County High School graduation and many believe the high attendance of GOWD is attributed to graduation, but a questionnaire distributed to 340 people tells a different story.

More than 290 of the people queried said they were in town solely for Grand Olde West Days. Thirty-six said they were in town for both events.

"It's pretty evident why people came," Hampton said. "They came for our event."

At least 136 of the people surveyed traveled more than 100 miles to attend GOWD. People came from as close as Wyoming to as far away as Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Four people who filled out the survey were from Germany.

Data from local hotels show that occupancy significantly rose during the Grand Olde West Days weekend.

GOWD is funded several ways. Some activities, such as the concert and bull riding, are self-funded, in that ticket prices usually cover the cost of the event. Profit is also made by fees charged for arts and crafts booths and sponsorships that are sold.

Non-profit groups who help by collecting tickets, man a stand or volunteer in some other way are paid for their help.

To cover up-front costs, the GOWD Committee borrows $8,500 from the city and the county. After the event, the money is returned to both entities. Two years ago, the Moffat County commissioners voted to give the committee a one-time donation of $10,000 to end the loan cycle. The committee invested the money in a certificate of deposit which it borrows against if necessary.

Tuesday night, the committee returned the $8,500 borrowed from the city and asked Council members if they would consider giving them a one-time grant of $10,000.

"That way we wouldn't be coming here every year with our hand out," Hampton said.

The GOWD Committee believes the grant would ensure GOWD continues in the future.

City Manager Jim Ferree said he would try to work the grant into the budget.

GOWD was started nine years ago by the Craig Improvement Authority as a buffer to ease the boom and bust cycle in Craig, to add to the tax base and to have something residents have to in build community spirit.

The GOWD Committee is made up of volunteers and members estimate time donated easily approaches 3,000 hours each year.

GOWD is held the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend and includes a quick draw contest, a concert, dances and a shoot-out reenactment.

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