St Joseph News-Press: Tour of Missouri

Jimmy Myers of the St Joseph News-Press tackled the subject of the Tour of Missouri recently:

Championed by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s office in its first three years, the tour, which brought in the best riders from the top cycling teams in the world, is now in the hands of non-profit organizations. The move away from the Republican-run office could help bolster more support from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, so the thinking goes.

The Missouri Bicycling Racing Association and the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation ramped up a public campaign this week, asking supporters to contact their representatives in the Legislature and ask them to approve the appropriation. A Facebook page, “Support the Tour of Missouri,” gained nearly 5,000 fans in less than a week; the Tour of Missouri Web site was updated Friday with an article about how to support the tour; and the tour’s Twitter page is posting pictures highlighting previous years’ moments.

The event, held in September, made its way from Chillicothe to St. Joseph last year, ending with a sprint finish in front of a large crowd in Civic Center Park. The tour had its grand start in St. Joseph in 2008, winding its way to Kansas City.

With hundreds of workers, mobile stages, tents and remote television cameras following the riders 100 miles a day during the seven-day stage race, it gets costly — about $3.5 million. Organizers are asking the state for $1 million this year and will request less each year until it’s almost totally funded by private/corporate donations.

You can help support the 2010 Tour of Missouri: