Tour of Missouri still needs 60 to 75 volunteers for Cape stage

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The local Tour of Missouri organizing committee needs 60 to 75 more volunteers to fill its roster in advance of the Sept. 8 stage 2 race from Ste. Genevieve, Mo., to Cape Girardeau, volunteer coordinator Troy Vaughn said Wednesday.

The Tour of Missouri is visiting Cape Girardeau for the first time this year. Begun in 2007, the race will attract 120 riders from top world and U.S. teams who will participate in seven race stages beginning Sept. 7 in St. Louis.

The local organizing committee is preparing for up to 30,000 visitors in Cape Girardeau for the race finish on Main Street near Independence Street, Vaughn said.

The biggest need is for race marshals along the county roads and state highways that racers will use as they approach Cape Girardeau, Vaughn said. The local organizers are responsible for finding the marshals needed for 154 locations. Marshals are volunteers who will make sure spectators don't park along the route, identify potential obstacles such as branches or animal carcasses on the road and keep residents from leaving their driveways immediately before and immediately after the racers pass.

Vaughn made the announcement about the volunteer needs at an orientation meeting for volunteers at the Osage Community Centre. In all, he said, the local organizing committee needs about 350 volunteers. Most of the jobs at the race finish are filled, as are the posts for marshals within city limits.

A surge in the number of volunteers -- including whole classes of Southeast Missouri State University students who will help with an economic survey as well as businesses encouraging employees to take part -- has helped swell the numbers in recent days, he said. "We are getting close, but we are still not there yet," he said.

Local organizers have raised most of the money needed for the expenses that will include hospitality for the riders and their support crews, said Tracey Glenn, vice president of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and chairwoman of the organizing committee. Additional sponsorships and vendor booths are still available, she said.

Along with an explanation about their role in making the race a success, the volunteers were told about other actions that are designed to keep the riders safe. Volunteers will visit every residence along the route and leave information about the race, including the expected time riders will pass a particular point, said assistant police chief Roger Fields. There are 415 driveways along the route, he noted, and many other entry points.

"I don't want a combine pulling out during the race," he said.

Volunteer Jill Wicks said she's not a cyclist but looks forward to her job. "I am excited about it coming to Cape," she said. "It will bring good exposure about the city of Cape Girardeau."

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent addresses:

43 S. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Tour of Missouri volunteer sign-up:

www.tourofmissouri.com

www.visitcape.com/tom

Map of pertinent addresses

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