Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder on Monday commended the efforts of the Local Organizing Committee volunteers from St. James and Rolla who are working hard on hosting arrangements and sponsorships for the Tour of Missouri set to arrive in September.
“This race will have a big impact, an enormous economic impact on your communities,” Kinder told the audience gathered at the St. James Golf Club.
Kinder cited facts collected during the inaugural event held in the state last year. The economic impact study was conducted by an independent research team from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
“We know from the demographics that people who follow cycling are more affluent with higher incomes and they stay longer,” said Kinder.
“Over $26 million was returned to the state in tourism dollars. We expect that impact to be even bigger this year. “
The Lt. Governor went on to explain that last year’s event generated over 424 million advertising impressions with major metropolitan newspapers, in addition to stories appearing in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Several foreign countries will be running live stream coverage via web sites.
“Cycling is extremely popular in other parts of the world,” said Kinder. “It ranks up there, right behind what they call football and we call soccer.”
Being showcased on the international stage will be one of the many benefits to the St. James and Rolla communities.
“Some of these countries may only know about Mark Twain or the Arch, but they may know nothing about our smaller communities and their people. This will be an amazing opportunity to show off both of your towns.”
Kinder went on to talk about the educational component of the TOM. “Our children will learn something about the geography of Missouri,” he said.
The tour will begin in St. Joseph on Monday, Sept. 8, and finish in Kansas City; start on Tuesday, Sept. 9, in Clinton and travel to Springfield for a finish.
Time trials will be held in Branson on Wednesday, Sept. 10, then 15 eight-man teams will start in Lebanon on Thursday, Sept. 11, travel through Fort Leonard Wood’s military installation and finish in Rolla in front of Castleman Hall on 10th Street.
Racers will start around 2 p.m. in St. James on Friday, Sept. 12, and travel to Jefferson City for the day’s finish; then start on Saturday, Sept. 13, in Hermann and finish in St. Charles.
St. Louis will host the last leg of the seven-day event with a St. Louis circuit race on Sunday, Sept. 14.
“Our children will also have international geography lessons with participation from 22 countries outside the United States,” Kinder continued. “Then there are the health and wellness fairs that are part of this event.”
Kinder referred to recent statistics stating that many of America's youth are obese.
“What a great opportunity to introduce our children to healthier lifestyles and proper nutrition. Wait until they see these guys who may burn up to 5,000 calories per day,” he said, describing to the rigors of the riders competing in the 600-plus mile event.
“The visibility for our community that this event provides,  goes well beyond     anything that we could ever afford,” said St. James Mayor Dennis Wilson. “The exposure for our kids with these world class athletes from other countries will be an amazing opportunity.”
He also commended the partnership of Rolla and St. James. “Together we have great resources and the cooperation has been tremendous, “ he said.
Scott Caron, director of The Centre: Rolla’s Health and Recreation Complex, chairs the Rolla LOC while Candace Connell, director of St. James Community Development, chairs the St. James LOC.
Volunteers will be needed by both communities, in addition to sponsorships to pay for meals and lodging for the teams and their crews.
The TOM fundraiser was hosted by the St. James Chamber of Commerce.
For more information contact Caron at (573) 341-2386 or Connell at (573) 265-7013.