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Bikes and bucks

Ride the Rockies stops in Craig to infuse local economy

Joshua Roberts

A scheduled one-day visit to Craig by the Ride the Rockies bicycle tour is expected to generate $175,000 for the local economy, tour organizer Paul Balaguer said.

“I would guess that figure would be about right,” said Balaguer, noting that’s the average cyclists spend per day in each town along the tour route. “That’s mainly driven by hotels with restaurants a close second. There is some retail (sales) involved, but it’s definitely in the minority.

“The financial impact is significant.”

Ride the Rockies organizers announced Sunday that Craig would be one of the stops along this year’s 422-mile route, ending a 12-year hiatus from the city. Between 3,000 and 3,500 people, including 2,000 riders, are expected to stop in Craig on Monday, June 18.

This year will mark the fourth time in the ride’s 22-year history that Craig has been a host community.

News of the tour coming to Craig has already had at least one impact: Balaguer said all the city’s hotel rooms were sold out by Monday, a day after tour stops were announced.

“There are no hotels available in Craig,” he said. “They went quick.”

Ride the Rockies not only will bring in money for local businesses, but also $5,000 grant money for an eligible non-profit agency. Agencies apply for the grant; the winning agency will be selected in coming months.

Grant applications are available through the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Shelly Flannery, director of the Moffat County Tourism Association, said she expects the event to be both a financial and tourism boon to Moffat County.

“Certainly it will be nice to have 3,000-plus people in our community and the economic impacts are there,” Flannery said. “Any exposure this area gets only serves to benefit us.”

Balaguer said many of the 2,000 cyclists who take part in the tour return to host communities as tourists.

The MCTA and the Craig Chamber of Commerce al-ready have begun strategizing on ways to capitalize on the influx of tourists coming into Moffat County this summer, Flannery said.

The two organizations also are considering putting together visitor packets complete with information about Moffat County events and activities for summer and winter.

“I really do think we’ll see a great return on our investment by having them here,” Flannery said.

The Ride the Rockies route will begin in Frisco and include stops in Steamboat Springs, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Leadville and end back in Frisco.

More than 4,000 riders are expected to apply for the 2,000 spots in Ride the Rockies, and riders are selected using a random lottery.

For more information about the event, contact Ride the Rockies at (303) 820-1338, or visit the Web site at http://www.ridetherockies.com.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.


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