6 local events receive tourism grant support

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Josiah Schmidt, of West Bend, organizer of the upcoming Schmidt Family Reunion to be conducted July 30-31 on the Clay County Fairgrounds, received a $500 tourism grant from the Clay County Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Jill Toft, CCCVB director and Delrey Bredehoeft, advisory board member, presented Schmidt with the award. The Schmidt's will host a large German festival and attempt to set a Guinness World Record mark. (Photo submitted)

Wednesday evening, in a small ceremony at the Clay County Heritage Center, Clay County Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Jill Toft and members of the CCCVB Tourism Grant Committee presented six Clay County events with funding for the coming year.

The Extreme Am: Rage in the Cage received $2,500 from the committee members and the National Columbia Sheep Show and Sale was awarded $1,000 from the local organization. Four other community activities put on by the Spencer Jaycees, Pony Express Riders, Schmidt family and Old Iron Company received $500 each for their specific endeavors. Representatives from each group appeared to accept the funding.

Toft explained, "The Clay County Convention and Visitor's Bureau was a vision from the city of Spencer and Clay County. It was created as a way to promote and develop the entire county."

The city and county have budgeted a combined $5,000 to establish the tourism grant to help promote events designed to bring people to Clay County. The grant has been around for five years, and with rollover, the committee had $5,500 to work with this year.

"We're trying to get the name out there and that it exists and its there," Delrey Bredehoeft, a member of the committee shared. "Let's go out and invent some event or take an event going on and make it bigger and better. We're trying to bring tourism throughout Clay County."

Since its inception, the grant and the CCCVB have assisted in multiple projects including Rocket Suzie, the Galaxy Cup, Seasons Center events, MidAmerican Equine event and Celebrate Clay County Baseball among others.

This year the committee received 13 applications.

"If we had the money, we could have given out $35,000," Toft said.

Extreme Am is a skateboard competition and festival scheduled for the third Saturday in August that will feature, in addition to an all-age amateur skateboard event, live music, food, artisans and other activities at the East Leach Park Skate Park. It will be marketed to participants within the Upper Midwest. The Extreme Am was conducted locally for six years before ending a run. It is being re-established as an event at northwest Iowa's premier outdoor skate park.

The National Columbia Sheep Show and Sale will be conducted on the Clay County Fairgrounds, drawing participants to Clay County from 15 different states.

Members of the Spencer Jaycees will host their annual Haunted House in October which draws visitors from all over the area and helps generate dollars which are in turn distributed back into youth programs within the Spencer area.

The Pony Express Riders will celebrate their 50th year by bringing the event back to Spencer where it originated and sending riders on the original three routes. Stub Johnson, Leo Gray, and Wayne Neilson had the idea to ride "Pony Express Style" county to county, not to carry mail but to carry money to help Iowa children and adults with disabilities. Following the ride, a dance and auction will culminate the day's events with all proceeds going to benefit Camp Sunnyside in Des Moines.

Representatives from all of the tourism award recipients -- Extreme Am, National Columbia Sheep Show and Sale, Old Iron Company, Pony Express Riders, Schmidt Family and Jaycees -- joined Clay County Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Jill Toft (far left) for a photo following Wednesday night's announcement. (Photo submitted)

On July 30-31, the Schmidt family will flood Spencer for the Schmidt Family Reunion in an attempt to share their German heritage with the community by putting together a festival and attempting to set a Guinness World Records mark for largest family reunion.

Old Iron Company has announced plans to change its annual Micro Mini Nationals event to stay in Spencer with Rod'n on the River, complete with several activities for participants and the public throughout the weekend.

These funds are given to the event organizers after receiving a report following the completion of each project.

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