by Valerie Verkamp
Warrior Dash, a 3.01 mile race with a course equipped with trenches, fire obstacles, barricades, and a swamp, will return to the Platte Ridge Park in Platte City next spring despite some hesitation from county officials.
The Platte County Commission approved the deal with event organizers on a 2-1 vote. Jim Plunkett, second district commissioner, opposed while Kathy Dusenbery, first district commissioner, and Jason Brown, presiding commissioner, were in favor.
The vote means county officials enter into an agreement with Red Frog Events, LLC, an independent event production company based out of Illinois, who will host the race event and post-race festival on April 27, 2013.
Plunkett asked a series of questions addressed to various county officials, including whether Red Frog Event properly restored the park's layout following this year's event.
Brian Nowotny, Platte County parks and recreation director, said the park's restoration following the most recent Warrior Dash is about 95% complete.
Since the 2012 Warrior Dash event, other events--including high school cross country races--have been held in the park.
Dusenbery noted that she has only received positive feedback regarding the park's appearance from other race participants.
Jennifer Goering, director of Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said parking arrangements will be slightly different next year. Event participants will be permitted to park in the Platte County Fairgrounds rather than the overhaul base at the Kansas City International Airport.
A $10 fee will be charged per motor vehicle to cover the cost of parking personnel and securing the shuttle buses. This fee goes to Red Frog.
Participants will still need to take a shuttle from the fairgrounds, but for a shorter distance.
A deal was reached between the Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Red Frog regarding the new parking agreement. The CVB will absorb the costs associated with securing the fairgrounds and in exchange Platte County will receive publicity on the Red Frog Events' website.
Goering cautioned county officials that Red Frog officials strive to book Warrior Dash and other events in places that don't require shuttling services since the cost associated with busing is extremely expensive.
“We wanted to keep it here at Platte Ridge so that is what we offered,” said Goering.
Plunkett voiced his concern that the for-profit business generated more than a million dollars last year from the event held in the county, yet Platte County is going to subsidize $7,500 for parking.
Goering further justified the expense by explaining that the event brings in a lot of business to area hotels, shops, and restaurants.
“I don't have another event that can bring in excess of 15,000 people here in one weekend so for my staff to offer up some money to keep them here in exchange for publicity and marketing on their website…I thought it was a win, win.”
Goering said down the road she would consider relocating the event to another area in Platte County since the event was grueling on the park itself.
Additionally this year, the CVB is teaming up with the Platte City Chamber of Commerce to promote the event and focus on how to keep race participants in Platte City.
Thus far, 4,373 participants have signed up for the race. The race slot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. is already full and Red Frog has not even publicized the event since nothing has been finalized, said Goering.
Erik Holland, public information officer with the Platte County Sheriff's Office, said 10 sheriff deputies were paid to facilitate the event through a separate and distinct agreement with Red Frog. Referring to the $30 an hour the deputies were paid per hour, Dusenbery said she was glad to see our deputies benefit financially from the event.
The Platte County Sheriff's Office was also compensated $25 per hour for each patrol car.
Platte County Sheriff’s Dept. Captain Mark Owen proposed involving the city of Tracy since parking arrangements for the event would be located at the fairgrounds in that city. He said Tracy’s law enforcement would also need to be utilized to handle the traffic situation.
Brown said he would bring that issue up at the next Platte City Chamber committee meeting, scheduled Thursday at 10:30 a.m.