~ by Rick Langenberg ~
The Salute to American Veterans Rally is dead due to the coronavirus epidemic, but the main promoter is seeking a nearly full reimbursement for the total amount of city funds previously allocated to the event.
A final decision on a funding request for nearly $20,000 by ProPromotions, is expected to be made in early October.
According to Cripple Creek City Administrator Ray White, the council delayed action on this funding bid, following a scheduled executive session held last week. He said the council plans to make a decision during their first meeting in October.
At issue, according to White, is a request by Jim Wear, president of ProPromotions, to have a meeting with the mayor and possibly another member of the council or more to discuss the current relations between ProPromotions and the city. It hasn’t been determined whether this meeting would be public.
In addition, White said the council wants to evaluate the impacts of a forthcoming POW/MIA recognition ride, scheduled for Aug. 22.
Although the Salute Rally has been cancelled, plans are still proceeding full-speed ahead for the regular motorcycle ride procession. This point was stressed by Wear during a recent interview with TMJ, and based on statements on the rally’s website.
“The Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek has been cancelled. What this means is there will be no vendors bands, beer gardens food, ceremonies etc. on the streets of Cripple Creek. We will however, be honoring our American veterans and our troops with several activities, including the 33rd annual POW/MIA Recognition Ride, the R.E.D. Friday T-shirt giveaway, the dedication of a plaque to a fallen service member at our Memorial and more.”
“We are anticipating that many motorcycle riders will be coming into town. They are more than welcome, but they must abide by our COVID-19 protocol,” said White.
That means following strict social distancing requirements, currently barring any outdoor gatherings from exceeding a 250-person limit, and wearing face coverings, when entering any casino or local business, or for outdoor functions, when social distancing can’t occur.
He said the city is not planning to take any action to prevent or restrict riders from entering Cripple Creek during the scheduled day of the recognition ride.
However, the outcome of this ride, could heavily influence the council’s decision on whether to reimburse ProPromotions any monies, resulting from the city’s decision to cancel the event. The city has advocated strict COVID-19 prevention protocol to assure that local casinos don’t get shut down again.
To date, the city of Cripple Creek has maintained a top safety record in preventing the epidemic from spreading to the gaming community, with no new cases attributed to Cripple Creek or the casinos.
Based on the request made by ProPromotions, the group is asking for $18,175 in direct costs. Most of these deal with promotional-type expenses, such as for program production and printing, pins, plaques, law enforcement escort arrangements, email blasts, publicity costs and for the expenses of various materials.
Altogether, ProPromotions estimated its total costs at organizing the event at $20,435 so far.
The crux of the matter deals with the council’s apparent about-face move in cancelling the event, when it earlier gave Wear the go-ahead for the rally, and agreed to provide ProPromotions with $26,500 for this year’s festival. But those funds were contingent on the event actually occurring.
However, when making that condition, the council was mostly concerned about any roadblocks the event organizer may experience in getting county approvals for a coronavirus suppression plan.
Wear and ProPromotions did accomplish that goal. County health officials gave the rally the green light, but requested that the promoters assemble the participants into designated crowd areas of no more than 250 people. However, County Administrator Sheryl Decker stressed that a final decision rested with the Cripple Creek City Council regarding this year’s event.
Wear recently expressed disappointment that he couldn’t have a conversation with the council and city officials prior to their decision to cancel the event. This decision was made during a special meeting to protect the community from the recent surge in coronavirus activity in Teller County.
With the exception of a July 4th fireworks celebration, the city has pulled the plug on virtually every major event in 2020.