Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says Cape has 'great potential' for Tour of Missouri

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder believes the upcoming Tour of Missouri bicycle race could be the best opportunity to promote Cape Girardeau and the state to millions of people on a national and international level.

"I hope my hometown will embrace it and get excited about it," Kinder told business leaders and a handful of students at the monthly First Friday Coffee at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. "In Rolla, which is a university town, I was told the tour stop there last year was the most effective event to involve the town and gown. We have great potential there for our community as well."

Cape Girardeau is one of 11 host cities for the professional cycling race from Sept. 7 to 13.

Last year the tour generated nearly $30 million in economic activity and drew in more than 400,000 spectators.

Kinder, a native of Cape Girardeau, said the success of the Sept. 8 stop in Cape Girardeau lies in the community's commitment both financially and in volunteers. Between $50,000 and $75,000 must be raised and more than 100 volunteers are needed, he said.

Tracey Glenn, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce vice president of organization and leadership development, and Sarah Vickery, Convention and Visitors Bureau director of sales marketing, are co-chairs of a local organizing committee that will be instrumental in fundraising and coordinating local involvement. Glenn and Vickery will meet monthly with leaders of local organizing committees from other states to discuss the progress of their particular host cities.

Anyone interested in volunteering should e-mail Glenn at tglenn@capechamber.com.

"The turnout of people was exciting," Glenn said of the about 180 people who attended the morning event, compared to the few dozen who attended the last few First Friday Coffees. "The large crowd speaks largely of our lieutenant governor and the Tour of Missouri. At the meeting I had a good number of people come up and ask how they can help."

Though participants and routes have not been determined, Kinder said the Astana team, which has U.S. Olympic and Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, has asked to participate and that he expects the invitation will be extended to the team. However, he does not know if Armstrong will participate.

"If Lance Armstrong participates, this event will be even more supercharged and I'll be more proud and excited to bring this to my hometown," Kinder said.

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

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