The small town of Kamas had the honor of hosting the stage 5 finish line of one of the most renowned bike races in the nation on Aug. 8.
While logistically the race and the accompanying party the city threw went off seemingly without a hitch, some businesses near the finish line said they didn't receive a windfall of patrons that they were expecting. Most, though, put a positive spin on the day, and hope the exposure they received will pay off in the future.
Tour of Utah officials pegged the turnout to be about 4,000 -- more than double the population of Kamas -- and sounded pleased about the joy many spectators. "It was amazing," said Jenn Andrs, project manager of the Tour of Utah. "The city did a great job The excitement and enthusiasm that we received was enormous."
Katie Stellpflug, head of the organizing committee for the Kamas finish line festivities, said the experience of hosting the finish line was "awesome There are countless thank-you notes that need to be sent out."
But Stellpflug is a business owner herself, of the art gallery Artique on Main Street, where the finish line was Friday. She said she expected more traffic to her and others' businesses, but it seemed as if many spectators congregated at the expo area, and didn't venture out further to patronize local businesses.
Lorri Sargeant, the owner of Kamas' Main Street Salon, Spa, Tanning and Boutique, acknowledged that having the peloton come through Kamas twice during stage 5 created "high energy," but that when she talked to other business owners about the day, sales were curiously "way down.
Gabe Morin, owner of the Mirror Lake Diner, was close to the finish line, and expected a record-breaking day of business for his establishment. It didn't happen, but he wasn't too upset. "It was twice as busy as a regular Friday, so we'll take it," Morin said.
Morin and Sargeant said that since the experience of hosting the finish line was the first time for Kamas, if the Tour decides to come through again, they will apply learned lessons to the future. "Hopefully we'll get it again, and we'll know what to do next time," Sargeant said.
Kamas Mayor Lew Marchant said that he was pleased with how Stellpflug and the organizing committee orchestrated the day's festivities, but noted that he had talked to several businesses and that the day "kind of hurt them" in terms of patronage. But he, too, expressed hope that the exposure the town received will pay off in the future for the businesses. "We showed Kamas Valley like it's never been showcased before," he said.
It is too early to say if Kamas will get the privilege of hosting another finish line. Stellpflug was optimistic. "We definitely received accolades from [tour sponsor] Steve Miller," she said. "I think there is a high chance of [the Tour] returning to Kamas next year."
Andrs echoed that it was too soon to say if the Tour will have Kamas host another finish line and expo, but that because of the excitement generated by some in Kamas, "We will be riding again through town."
Sergeant Ron Bridge, public information officer for the Summit County Sheriff's Department, said there wasn't an increase in the number of calls during the weekend associated with the Tour of Utah, despite the relatively high number of people who came to the county to watch the race.