Alva Review-Courier -

Cars, robots and marketing

• Alva Tourism provides support


February 24, 2019

David Ingraham (left) and Joe Phillips present plans for the Big Cruise and Car Show to the tourism committee. Video frame by Marione Martin

Three successful events requested funds from the Alva Tourism Committee Wednesday. The fourth request involved continued marketing of Alva tourism. Committee members present were Norville Ritter, Dr. Charles Tucker and Connor Martin. Absent were Terri Parsons and Jaunita Dotson.

The committee approved minutes from the December meeting. They also discussed and approved financial reports for December and January. Ritter noted that quarterly reports for September and December were considerably higher than the year before. As of Jan. 31, the tourism committee had $604,875.07 available for funding requests.

Heartland BEST Robotics

This will be the 18th year for the Heartland BEST Robotics competition in Alva. This program gives students the opportunity to experience STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities in a fun competitive way. BEST stands for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology.

Dr. Tim Maharry said this regional program began in 2002. In addition to support from Alva Tourism, the robotics program has received funds from Share Trust every third year as well as local sponsors. Every year the program hosts 12 to 18 teams. Last year the 14 teams came from as far away as Pratt, Kansas; Lawton and Kingston. Alva is one of the 38-39 hubs nationally. Winners from regional hubs advance to the national in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

There is no cost to the teams other than travel. Competition is open to students in the 6th through 12th grades from public, private and home schools. In addition to robotics, teams compete in an oral presentation, a marketing display and a project engineering notebook.

Around 250-300 will attend the kickoff meeting with some 300 to 400 attending game day. Some of the teams will spend the night in motels. This year the kickoff is Saturday, Sept. 21, on the NWOSU campus. This is when teams see the game field and receive robotic parts kits. Practice day is Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Alva Recreation Center. Game day is Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, at the Alva Recreation Center. Game day includes robotics and Best Award competition days.

Maharry said students are given information about NWOSU at the kickoff. They used to hold game day at NWOSU, but sports activities make that hard to schedule. He said the rec center has more space available so it works well for the game days.

Last year the event did not request funding. They received $5,000 in tourism tax money in 2017.

Tucker made a motion, seconded by Martin, to fund the Heartland BEST Robotics for up to $5,000. The motion carried unanimously.

Big Cruise and Car Show

The Big Cruise and Car Show is set for Sept. 20-22 in Alva. It begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and ends around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Co-Directors Joe Phillips and David Ingraham said the event is sponsored by the Alva Chamber and R.A.C.E. (racing and car enthusiasts). This will be the 19th year for the event.

Last year, the event attracted over 470 entries. A large number of the entrants spend Friday and Saturday nights in Alva motels. Some even stay over Sunday night. This is the largest free car show held in Oklahoma. There are no registration fees and no entry fees for the races. In addition, there is a free meal Friday evening and a free breakfast on Sunday.

The budget for the events shows a total of $61,715 in expenses. Revenue comes from apparel sales, food vendors, sponsorships, pageant fees, donations, cash scramble tickets and tourism taxes.

The request for up to $26,300 was approved by the tourism committee.

Crazy Cool Boulevard Cruise

Ken Schultz spoke on behalf of the Crazy Cool Boulevard Cruise which will be held July 20 in conjunction with Crazy Days sales downtown. The cruise is held from 8 to 10:30 p.m. on Oklahoma Boulevard.

Schultz said there is no registration so it's difficult to say how many participate in the cruise. However, several groups from Woodward, Enid and Wichita, Kansas, attend along with those from the local area.

Three bands are planned for the event, sponsored by the Alva Chamber and R.A.C.E. To help pay for entertainment and advertising, the group asked for $3,900. Martin made a motion to approve the request, seconded by Tucker, and the motion carried unanimously.

Tourism Marketing

Marione Martin

TOP LEFT: Melissa Heaton explains the need for Alva tourism marketing at the tourism committee meeting Wednesday. BOTTOM LEFT: Ken Schultz speaks to the Alva Tourism Committee about the Crazy Cool Boulevard Cruise. RIGHT: Dr. Tim Maharry describes the Heartland BEST Robotics competition.

Melissa Heaton with some help from Alex Mantz presented the request from the Alva Tourism Marketing Committee. Last year the committee hired an ad agency for branding, setting up a website, doing a video and brochures.

Heaton said this request was for a one year term to maintain and update the website as well as doing social media posts to promote Alva tourism. She presented a contract with Kendra Schnebel and 4 Tier Marketing for $5,820. Of that amount $4,020 is for social media boosting while $1,800 is for updating and maintaining the website. Heaton said Schnebel will do daily posts and weekly updates.

When asked about tourism funding of $2,500 in March 2018, Heaton and Mantz explained this was used for printing, mailing and labeling of brochures. The committee has not used $900 of that amount yet.

Martin commented that Schnebel has already been doing updates, "It's being done how it should be done. I definitely notice it."

The committee approved the request for $5,820 unanimously.


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