City hears report about GOWD |

City hears report about GOWD

More than $30,000 was spent to fill four days with events geared to give residents and visitors alike activities for Memorial Day weekend.

Activities ranged from a street festival to a bull-riding event. And, despite tornado warnings that closed the street festival early, and low attendance at the chariot races, event organizers say Grand Olde West Days was a success.

“We feel the whole weekend was successful in spite of Monday’s weather sna–fu,” Downtown Bus——iness Assoc–iation member Carol Wilson said.

Wilson was at Tuesday night’s Craig City Council meeting to report about what the committee did with its money — specifically, the funds contributed by the city.

The committee started with $5,820 and combined that with $8,500 from the Craig City Council, $1,500 from the Moffat County Tourism Association and $4,625 in donations. Most of the money was spent to host events — some of which generated money. Most of the advertising dollars — $1,300 — went toward purchasing an advertisement in American Cowboy. The ad didn’t provide as much return as it has in the past, Wilson said. It generated 40 inquiries for information.

Next year, the group plans to advertise in a Pro Bull Riding Association publication because, next year, the group will host a PBR-sanctioned event.

DBA member Jackie Rob–erts has been working for more than a year to get Craig’s Memorial Day weekend bull-riding event sanctioned by PBR. Next year will be the first the group has the $10,000 in upfront costs to get it here, Roberts said.

“I’m really anxious to see the difference between this year and next year,” she said.

She expects the proceeds from corporate sponsorships will end up reimbursing the group for the upfront costs, and they’ll get to keep all the ticket proceeds.

“For us, I think the benefit will be a larger turnout of spectators because the stature and prestige of the event brings more people,” Wilson said.

This year was the first time in three years the bull-riding event made money. Wilson estimates the group netted $700 to $800 and drew nearly 750 people. Last year, rain kept the number of spectators down to 400 .

“We’re at the mercy of the weather every year,” Wilson said.

The group is working to save enough money to bring back the concert that used to be a highlight of Grand Olde West Days.

“We’d love to find the funds or the sponsorship to bring that back,” Roberts said. “People say they’d love to have that again, and we’re listening.”

By recording attendance numbers at each event and adding them together, Wilson estimates that the combined events served 4,000 people.

Bull riding was a clear leader in attendance, but the antique tractor pull and the chili cook-off were both well-attended and popular, Wilson said.

“We were on track to have record attendance for the street festival before the weather changed,” she said.

Next year’s events likely will be fairly similar to this year’s, Roberts said, though some will be improved.

She already has done the legwork to make the chariot races a premier event, attended by more than the three teams that showed up this year.

“The few who did come were very excited to have this venue and to be here,” Wilson said.

Organizers hope that someone offers to host a dance next year.

Organizers distributed surveys Monday, but only about 80 were returned. Most of the comments, Wilson said, were weather related. Some asked the committee to consider changing the date the event is held.

Wilson said the group has discussed it but decided to stick with tradition and not compete with other regional events held on other holiday weekends.

“We’ll stick with the established event and work to make it bigger and better,” Wilson said.

She said the group also would like to invest in a tent and find other alternatives for inclement weather.

The DBA took over the Grand Olde West Days celebration in 2003. Originally, the group was going to host only a street fair, but it found people wanted to see the familiar events. This was the 15th Grand Olde West Days.

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