St Louis Post-Dispatch: Division of Tourism to say "no" to Tour of Missouri funding despite General Assembly approval

This is frankly incredible: After the funding for the 2010 Tour of Missouri has been passed by the Missouri House and Senate--and by all indications will be signed by Governor Nixon--now the Missouri Tourism Commission, an appointed body, is saying they will use their discretion to simply not provide the funding for the 2010 Tour.

To do so without even meeting with Mike Weiss (Chair of the Board of Tour of Missouri, Inc, and President of the Missouri Bicycle Racing Association), me, and others who are on the Board of the Tour of Missouri and who have been requesting a meeting with the Governor's office for months, is frankly a slap in the face of Missouri bicycling and all we have been working for over the past 15 years.

It will really help--and could definitely still turn the tide--if you make your voice heard on this issue:

Division of Tourism:

phone 573-751-4133
fax  573-751-5160
tourism@ded.mo.gov

Gov Nixon's office:

(573) 751-3222
Online contact form

Please, please be polite and persuasive when you call!  The person you will be talking to is a low-level employee who is often personally very supportive of our goals.  But let them know you support the Tour and oppose eliminating its funding.

Page A-1 of the St Louis Post Dispatch:

Tour of Missouri hits roadblock

By Kathleen Nelson

 Though the start of the Tour of Missouri is four months away, time is its enemy. Without an infusion of cash or commitment from the state in the next two days, the race, scheduled Aug. 31-Sept. 6, is likely to be canceled.

Timing became critical last week when Medalist Sports, which has provided logistical support for the race since 2007, set a deadline of Friday to learn whether the state intended to help fund the event. Medalist and its partner, 776 Original Marketing, work with cycling's governing bodies, negotiate with teams and vendors and provide sponsorships for the Tour of Missouri and the Tour of California.

Mike Weiss, chairman of Tour of Missouri, Inc., noted that Medalist "has drawn a line in the sand. Before (the) Tour of California, May 16-23, they have to say 'enough is enough,' and move on."

Since Medalist set the deadline, state officials seem to be making it clear that they won't fund the race. Tour supporters believed that $1 million of the $13 million tourism budget approved last week had been set aside for the race. . . . 

Marci Bennett, chairwoman of the tourism commission, said that given this discretion, the commission probably would divert the money to the cooperative marketing program, which provides matching funds to destinations in Missouri for marketing. Last year's tourism budget was about $18 million.

Read more from the Post-Dispatch here.