Event funding takes hit in Steamboat

2011 budget has $10,000 less than previous year for Steamboat attractions

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Past Event

Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

  • Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 5 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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Funding changes

Event 2011 proposed funding 2010 actual funding

Steamboat Wine Fest $5,000 $7,000

Steamboat All Arts Fest $10,000 $15,000

Quiznos Pro Challenge $10,000 NA

Cycling Events Calendar $3,000 NA

Steamboat OktoberWest $4,000 $10,000

Free Summer Concert Series $5,500 $6,000

Steamboat Triathlon $2,000 NA

Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon $2,000 NA

Steamboat Springs Running Series $3,000 $3,000

Pro Rodeo Series $4,000 $5,000

Rocky Mountain Bull Bash $1,500 $2,500

Tour de Steamboat $2,000 $5,250

Wild West Air Fest $2,000 $4,000

Opera performances $1,000 $2,500

Paddling Life Invitational $2,000 $3,000

Piknik Theater $0 $0

Strings All Arts Fest $1,000 $2,500

Ride 4 Yellow $0 $2,000

Honey Stinger Race $2,000 NA

Kitchen and Garden Tour $0 $1,250

Mountain Soccer Tournament $1,500 $2,000

ReTree Colorado $500 NA

Run, Rabbit Run race $750 $1,000

Steamboat Stock Dog Challenge $1,000 $1,500

Sisters in Steamboat $1,250 $0

*NA denotes event un-funded in 2010

— Some of Steamboat’s best-loved summer events likely will have to do with less community funding this year, and in some cases, a lot less.

“We had requests for $168,000 this year and had $65,000 to give out,” City Councilman Walter Magill said. “I’ve been critical (of the process) in the past. This is the first year I’ve been involved, and it’s harder than it looks. It’s not a judgment on the value of the event, but its ability to attract tourists.”

Events that stand to receive less funding this year include the Steamboat Wine Fest, Steam­­boat All Arts Fest, Steamboat OktoberWest, the Free Summer Concert Series, the Pro Rodeo Series, the Rocky Mountain Bull Bash and the Tour de Steamboat.

New this year is $10,000 in funding for the Quiznos Pro Challenge road bicycle race, which is expected to bring national media attention to Steamboat in August.

Magill was a new member of the Special Events Funding Committee that sifted through requests from the organizers of 26 events intended to attract and boost summer tourism here. The money comes from city sales tax revenues passed through the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

The full City Council is scheduled to vote on the committee’s funding recommendation in the consent portion of tonight’s meeting agenda.

There was $10,000 less in the city’s 2011 budget for funding special summer events than the $75,000 allocated for the same purpose in 2010.

“It’s been a tough couple of budget years,” City Council Pres­­­­­ident Pro Tem Jon Quinn sai­d. “It’s unfortunate — these are some of the best dollars we spend.”

Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall said Monday that the special events funding always has been intended to provide start-up money for events that have the potential to attract visitors to Steamboat. Gradually, the events are expected to succeed with less support and eventually make it on their own. She also has consistently said that funding requests are sorted by the events’ ability to motivate visitors to come here versus simply enhancing their experience once they already are here.

Quinn said events like the Free Summer Concert Series, which he thinks do more to bring the local community together than anything else, are less effective in attracting tourists to Steamboat than others.

Magill said in some cases it’s a sign of maturity and success when an event receives less funding than in the past. Strings Music Festival often sells out, and that’s part of why it has received less funding every year, he added.

The Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour, a staple on the July calendar, received $1,250 last year and was not funded this year. A first-time event, the Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon, asked for $10,000 and was granted $2,000.

The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, which asked for $5,000 last year and was fully funded, asked for $7,000 this year and received $4,000.

Similarly, the Steamboat All Arts Fest received the $15,000 it asked for last summer but will be expected to make due with $10,000 this year. Strings musical programming during the All Arts Festival will receive $1,000 compared to $2,500 last year.

One of the biggest successes of summer 2010, the Ride 4 Yellow bike event that raised money for fighting cancer, asked for $3,000 again this summer and was not funded.

“There are a lot of good events that are doing so well they are in a position to give back to the community,” Magill said.

He cited the Steamboat Wine Fest, which saw its funding allocation cut from $7,000 to $5,000.

“I think they’re making a profit with the event,” Magill said.

Magill called Ride 4 Yellow a wonderful event, but observed that its ability to return six figures to cancer patients and their families in the community put it in the category of a few events that technically pass the Chamber events funding through to the community, suggesting that they can stand on their own.

“Nobody is going away happy this year, which is a sign we did our job well,” Magill said.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or e-mail tross@SteamboatToday.com

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