Prowers Lodging Panel Reviewing By-Laws Regarding Promotions



The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel will begin to review their by-laws in support of a proposal to use Panel funding to promote Prowers County in general as well as specific events as they have in the past.

Panel member, Chad Hart, suggested the current by-laws do allow a general advertising campaign which would benefit the county as a whole by bringing more visitors to the area. “I’ve been on the board for three years and we do the same old thing and we get the same results.  People apply and do their own advertising and most are professional at it.  I’m curious as to why we’re not advertising our county for heads and beds,” he stated.  Hart felt the by-laws are flexible enough to allow the Panel to decide to advertise on its own.  He continued, “We need to market ourselves so we can draw in more people to stay in our lodging places, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores.  Alamosa is one of the counties that markets this way.”  The Panel by-laws draw heavily from the same by-laws used by Alamosa when it was formed.  Hart suggested that although the Panel’s budget for 2019 had been approved, it could still be altered to allow marketing funds for a general promotion of the county.  County Commissioner, Ron Cook, suggested a meeting be set up with Ron Farmer, accountant for the County, who has informed them of the uses of past funding sources.  New Panel member, Marcus Widener, suggested a sub-committee be organized to review the by-laws and bring their findings to the Panel and County Commissioners for recommendations by the Tuesday, March 19th meeting.

The Panel operates on an annual budget of about $95,000 which is generated by a 2% tax on motel rooms used throughout the year. The Panel funds activities which promote the county and are hoped to generate overnight visitors.  That 2% tax, though, is levied on all motel rentals throughout the year.

Three annual events received funding during the February 19th meeting at the Chamber of Commerce offices.  The 15th Annual Wild West BBQ Cookoff received their requested $2,000 for marketing funds.  Diane Poole and Cindy Bennett explained that a minimum of 25 teams are required to participate to qualify for sanctions from the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association and the Kansas BBQ Society. “We had 26 teams last year and expect that many with our $10,000 payout for the winning teams.  The Grand Champion received $2,500, she said.”  The cookoff will be held May 10-11th at Willow Creek Park.

This year’s, “Cowboy Up at the Wagons” will be held in Granada on June 1st, according to organizer, Norma Dorenkamp.  “This year we’re featuring something new with three trick riders performing in the arena at Camp Amache,” she explained.  The all-day event is attended by about 200 people dedicated to experiencing an authentic rodeo event on a small scale.  “We just charge by the carload when people come in and there’s a chuck wagon cookout that costs $6 a plate,” she said.  That group received $2,500 in funds from the Panel from their $4,000 request.

The third event receiving funds was the annual Holly Bluegrass Festival, now in its 17th year and set for June 7-9th.  This is billed as the only free bluegrass festival in Colorado and attracts visitors and entertainers from bordering states.  Friday sports a community concert with any musician free to join in the performance, Saturday is an all-day event featuring food and other vendors at the town park with as many as five bands performing through the day and Sunday features more gospel-oriented music and a morning community worship service.  The committee requested $6,713 to fund a more aggressive advertising campaign and was given $3,000 by the Panel.

The Panel election of officers for 2019 had Jane Felter remaining as president, Craig Brooks as vice-president, Norma Dorenkamp as secretary and Valerie Baldwin as treasurer.

By Russ Baldwin

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