I am always amazed by the number of people who speak badly or post negative comments on the internet about special events that are held in Grant County. Of course, the Tour of the Gila had its share of ignorant comments from local people who have nothing better to do than bloviate about things they don't like.
Well I… on behalf of the members of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce, want to say thank you to the organizers, the marketing experts, the countless volunteers, and the race officials for holding a spectacular event right here in Silver City. I'll admit it, I don't know much about bicycle road racing. However, I do know a little something about tourism and economic development. Most economic developers will agree that tourism is a great form of economic development. You invite people to come to your community. While they are here they spend money in restaurants, stores, hotels, and gas stations. After the event is completed, they go home… leaving thousands of dollars in our fair community. If we did a good job, they will return for the event the following year, and if they were really impressed, those people will return for long weekends or possibly vacations during their regular "personal" time. And we had people tell us over the weekend they plan to come back with their families to have a vacation because they really enjoyed the Silver City/Grant County area so much. Thank goodness they don't listen to or read the comments of the few soreheads living here.
The Tour of the Gila is a tremendous asset to our community in many ways. Sure, it brings money to our community, but it does something else that is pretty great. Tour of the Gila gives our little town of less than 10,000 people the opportunity to be seen not only on a local, regional, or state-wide stage… we get exposure on a national and international stage. There's a darn good reason why we saw teams from Australia, Canada, Costa Rico and places from across the United States. Tour of the Gila is one of the best races in the United States.
NBC Sports covered the races. KOB and KOAT stations in Albuquerque had segments of their daily news casts dedicated to the Tour of the Gila. Several cycling news venues covered the Tour of the Gila. Photographers/reporters from VeloNews, Cycling News, and others were in the field covering the race. There were also several freelancers. This year, there was something special for the Tour of the Gila. The races held on Saturday were broadcast live. There were over 35,000 unique views on Saturday watching the live stream/coverage of the race provided by SkyWest Media, with 849 peak concurrent users. The live feed was provided over three platforms: Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and on a private player on TouroftheGila.com. The live stream coverage included branding for Silver City to help promote the area from those watching around the world. A huge THANK YOU to WNM Communications for providing the high-speed internet. Folks, this streaming of the Tour of the Gila was a BIG thing for not only the event… but our entire area. All of the really cool things that happened this year will definitely have a tremendously positive impact on what will happen next year for the 2019 Tour of the Gila.
So, the title of this article is true… we were winners this year and we will see a bigger and better Tour of the Gila next year.
By the way, there is a scheduled public meeting regarding the Gila Regional Medical Center (our hospital) set for Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. in the Grant Conference Center. If you are interested, come to the meeting.
If you like my article, call me. If you don't like the article, you can still call. The phone number at the Chamber of Commerce office in the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business & Conference Center is 538-3785.