By Vern Hee
Tough Mudder came to Beatty in early October and was declared a resounding success. The event flooded the depressed area with more than 12,000 people in one weekend. The Mudder people came from all over and booked every hotel room in town.
The Beatty Chamber of Commerce estimated the event made approximately $120,000 for the businesses of the small town of 1,200 people. The town was told then Tough Mudder might come back the following year.
Now there may be a question if Beatty will get Mudder at all.
According to Kate Fitzpatrick, deputy director of venues for Tough Mudder LLC, the Tough Mudder people approached David Spicer again about two weeks ago. Fitzpatrick would not get into the details of the meeting but said Tough Mudder explained to Spicer that despite having a very successful event, Mudder might open the event to other towns and the date will be on April 13, 2013 instead of an October date.
“Tough Mudder had a fabulous event with David Spicer. It was a really great venue and it was an interesting spot for us. We were really thrilled from the response from the town and the community. We also enjoyed working with David Spicer in putting together a great event. The contract we had with Spicer was just a one-time thing. I have spoken with him for a longer term partnership and that is still just in the initial stages,” Fitzpatrick said.
The bottom line is that Beatty will have to compete with other towns for this event. It seems that Fitzpatrick is saying Beatty did a great job, but Mudder needs a venue closer to Las Vegas. Apparently, Mudder did not sell out Sunday, the second day of the event in Beatty. Perhaps, Mudder organizers may be thinking they could make more money with a town closer to Vegas. The logical town closest to Las Vegas is Pahrump.
Fitzpatrick picked her words carefully. She would not say the precise reason for looking for other towns. She said they were still talking to David Spicer and Beatty and never once mentioned Pahrump or other towns.
“In terms of next year, we are still looking at a couple of different options and really trying to access what makes the most sense for us in terms of proximity to a central market. Typically we try to find a venue within 90 minutes of our primary market, which would be Vegas. Then we need a certain amount of land and that means a minimum of 350 acres for a course. There are a variety of other factors involved. I did speak to David Spicer for a bit about the potential for us to come back there and we are at the moment just assessing where the market falls for us and what we really are going to need for our event of April of next year. We are hoping to make a decision in the next 30 days,” she said.
The town of Pahrump is not standing by on this. Already the town is filling out the application according to Arlette Ledbetter, Pahrump tourism coordinator. Ledbetter was under strict instructions by Bill Kohbarger, town manager, not to say anything and could not divulge any details. Kohbarger was unavailable for comment.
Harley Kulkin, town board member, is very excited about the town filling out the application for Tough Mudder.
“We are filling out an application for Pahrump. The town is working on it and I am not sure if this is an additional venue or if they are going to move it from Beatty. We are definitely looking to have it here,” Kulkin remarked.
Kulkin feels that county commissioners should not be at odds with the town board on this.
“The county should be on board with this. I see a turning trend now in the last commissioner meeting where they supported our bill draft request to help develop the fairgrounds. I suggested to them that we call this a turning point and become the ‘can do community’. I am hoping we are looking for ways to make things happen. As far as the rest of the town board, I have not spoken to any of them but I can not imagine why they would not be on board with this because we are very pro tourism and bringing jobs out here. If this involves town property, then it will be brought up for a vote, but I imagine it will be just a formality,” Kulkin said.
Joni Eastley, out-going Nye County commissioner and known as a Beatty protector, said if this were a case of a big town bullying a small town she would be leading the charge with a pitchfork.
“It seems that Tough Mudder has opened this up and may just want a venue closer to Vegas. If that is the case I am all for keeping it in Nye County,” said Eastley.
Nick Moore, president of the Pahrump Chamber of Commerce, agrees with Kulkin, but said the board must be sensitive to other towns.
“We have not discussed it as the chamber yet, but Tough Mudder is something I feel definitely we should be looking at. I think this is to our best interest to apply for this. I do not want to step on anyone’s toes, especially Beatty, but if Tough Mudder is looking and Beatty is not providing something they are looking for, it would be to our benefit to inquire about it. I do not think we should go in at attack mode and try and steal it,” said Moore.
Mike Dreyer, CEO of the Pahrump Chamber of Commerce, is thinking along the same lines as Moore.
“We want to find ways that stimulate our own economy but we also have to be good neighbors and stewards too. We are all in this together. This could be good for the community but it could also hurt another part of it Beatty . It is important that we find avenues to stimulate the economy even if it is a two-day event,” remarked Dreyer.
Regardless of what Pahrump thinks, Beatty people in general are furious and want Pahrump to keep their hands off their event. One Beatty town member, who wants to remain anonymous, said, “Find your own event. Spicer’s Ranch had amazing reviews on the terrain that is needed and after competing and seeing how challenging it was because of the terrain, the feedback was YES, everyone would come back. Let Beatty be and find your own event Pahrump.”
Ann Marchand, Beatty Chamber of Commerce treasurer, was the only chamber officer available for comment. She was little bit less harsh.
“Tough Mudder will make a decision within 30 days. Maybe Pahrump should go after other events similar to Tough Mudder just as Beatty did. There are other events that have just as big of a following as Tough Mudder that have not been tapped into and Pahrump just needs to do research and find out what would suit them with their accommodations. I really don’t want to get in a pissing match with Pahrump, but maybe this would redirect them to something else that would not be a conflict with their neighboring communities,” said Marchand.
As Marchand said, in the end, Tough Mudder will make a decision in 30 days. In that time, Pahrump has to find the 340 acres to hold the event and the land has to be satisfactory to Mudder. Mudder said in 2013 they only have one event for Las Vegas, but she said there might be two events in 2014. Perhaps room for both communities.