Hurricane the new Moab? City Council supports mountain biking events

Hurricane City Council, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 16, 2014 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

HURRICANE – Discussion and presentations about luring mountain bikers to Hurricane City took up the bulk of Hurricane’s City Council meeting Thursday, the first under new Mayor John Bramall and new council members Darin Larson and Ethelyn Humphries, chosen to fill the remainder of Bramall’s council seat term.

Cimarron Chacon of GRO Promotions encouraged the council to continue its support of the two races her company organizes, 25 hours in Frog Hollow (November 1-2, 2014) and 6 hours in Frog Hollow (April 19, 2014), which have attracted mountain bikers from around the world to Hurricane for the last five years (this year will be its sixth).

In her presentation, Chacon touted the events’ positive economic impact on the city since Hurricane businesses serve as vendors and its participants stay at local motels, eat at local restaurants, and return home to tell friends and family about the area’s scenery. She said the race is also giving Hurricane international exposure, especially through the television show “Boundless” on Esquire Network, clips from which she showed:

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After her presentation, Chacon asked for the city’s assistance with the event, specifically by supplying emergency medical services, which it has done in the past.

Councilman Darin Thomas, who said he is a mountain biker himself, was quick to show his support and so was Recreation Director Bryce King. Chacon has done a great job communicating with businesses, King said.

“It is a good event,” King said. “Mountain biking is where we should be putting our support.”

Councilman Kevin Tervort concurred.

Bill West on Frog Hollow  mountain bike race, Virgin, Utah, Nov. 3 2013 | Photo by Crawling Spider Photography, courtesy of Cimmaron Chacon, St. George News
Bill West on Frog Hollow mountain bike race, Virgin, Utah, Nov. 3 2013 | Photo by Crawling Spider Photography, courtesy of Cimmaron Chacon, St. George News

“This is one event Hurricane should own,” he said. “We have a lot of events here that get us nothing.”

Chacon’s mountain bike races do a lot for the community, Tervort said.

Councilwoman Pam Humphries was the lone dissenter during the discussion about supporting the two events, questioning the need for Hurricane’s support and asking Chacon about the events’ expenses.

In response, Chacon said that a lot goes into putting on the race including paying permit fees and everything from signage to water trucks.

Humphries relented but said she hopes the event is self-sufficient and does not have to ask for support next year. In the end, the council did lend its support for the races.

In a later discussion, DJ and Quentin Morisette, owners of the Over the Edge Bike Shop, asked support for the Hurricane Mountain Bike Festival, slated for March 28-30 this year. Specifically, they requested a special beer license for its beer garden on the community center property during the event as well as financial support for a stage, fees and advertising. King said he would like to see the festival funnel its participants to local businesses and include a post-event survey which finds out “what are participants asking for?”

The festival’s discussion led to more talk of mountain biking’s boom in the area.

“Hurricane is putting the fear in Moab,” Quentin Morisette said.

Tervort, owner of Quail Lake Quick Stop, said he sees more people at the gas station coming through for mountain biking than for riding ATVs.

The discussion over the festival will also lead to an agenda item on a future City Council meeting – making an exception for special events in the city’s ordinance prohibiting alcohol in city parks. The council voted to back the event and granted the requested special beer license.

In other business, the Hurricane City Council approved a plan for improvements, specifically curb and gutter, for Scow Orchard Estates, a six-lot subdivision on 1760 West between 400 South and SR 9.

The council also referred a group of disgruntled residents of the Sand Hollow Mobile Home Park to small claims court to settle on property taxes the county says the residents owe. The residents claim the mobile home park’s management should have paid the taxes and that the park owes three years of back taxes. City Attorney Fay Reber said the residents’ grievances are a civil matter and that he is “not sure the city has any standing” in its regard.

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  • Marc Kase January 17, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Even better than being like the new Moab, Hurricane is like the old Moab with fewer crowds and better trails.

  • JJ January 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    If you lure new people to visit your area, don’t snap at them when they pronounce the name of your town (which is a pre-existing word that you didn’t make up) the way that the American dialect would normally pronounce it. Just because your town was founded by British people does not mean we all have to say it the way British people do!

  • spectator in the cheap seats January 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Well , just like something in the recent past that effected the City of Hurricane , Councilwoman Humphies lacks the facts and disagrees with something positive for the residents of Hurricane . Until she understands things are different now days versus the way things were back 18 years ago , Councilwoman Humphies is going to be left behind at the bus stop again. I am guessing she would NOT want the Ironman competitors here either . The economic benifit these events bring to all of Washington County is HUGE ! .

  • Mike Sylvester January 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    As a Southern Cal resident, I want to applaud the City Council on theie decisions to promote mountain biking. I personally come out 3-4 times every year SPECIFICALLY for the mountain biking. I come out for the MTB Festival and then take (2) additional trips, usually with a group size of anywhere from 5-10 people. Besides renting a home in Hurricane, we go visit local restaurants, buy groceries & gas and of course do our best to keep Quentin in business at ‘Over the Edge’. I’d guess we spend $2500-3000 for every 4 day weekend we’re out there. If it wasn’t for mountain biking, we wouldn’t be there at all.

    Just one comment to Councilman King in regards to the beer garden…I’m not a a beer drinker myself but I can attest that the beer garden is overwhelmingly popular with mountain bikers. The event in Fruita, Colorado has several hundred people that attend the beer garden/concert event. Everybody ejoys gathering outdoors and hanging out/talking shop with other riders. It *might* work if a large enough restaurant sponsored the event specifically for riders at the festival (or race).

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