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City Council recommits to sponsorship of equestrian events 

Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association

Stacie McDavid competes in the 2013 Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association’s futurity event at the Paso Robles Event Center.

City will contribute $20,000 annually to support Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association

The Paso Robles City Council approved 5-0 recommitting to sponsoring Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association equestrian events that take place at the Paso Robles Event Center in March and October.

Paso Robles Assistant City Manager Meg Williamson said that the association’s events attract horsemen, owners, trainers and others from throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. She said that participants to the event stay in lodging around the city and the event generates 1,000 to 1,600 visitors each day. For multi-day events, Williamson said this adds up to 2,000 to 7,800 room night stays per event.

The city and Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce adopted an economic strategy that places a principal focus on promoting tourism. According to Williamson’s staff report, the strategic importance of tourism not only includes a direct dollar income from visitors, but also exposes them to the Paso Robles lifestyle, which could then entice them to return to Paso Robles.

She said that the event center is a key asset in hosting events that attract visitors. “They come downtown, they stay in our hotels. I think it’s an outstanding addition our city. And revenue generating,” Mayor Duane Picanco said at the Sept. 16 council meeting. “I can assure you that both events that they have are huge. They also contribute to nonprofits. … And believe me in today’s world, it’s greatly appreciated.”

In 2008, the city committed to a $20,000 annual sponsorship through 2014 with the caveat that the business community, led by the Promotion Coordinating Committee would raise $10,000 of those funds as matching funds to a city contribution of $10,000. Since the fiscal year 2009-10, the city has funded $10,000 of the $20,000 annual sponsorship.

“When you start counting up the actual dividends that come out of our commitment … I fully support [the sponsorship],” Councilman John Hamon Jr. said.

The association asked the city’s Tourism Collaboration Committee in July to renew its commitment to the annual sponsorship. The committee voted 5-0 to recommend that the council support the request. However, the committee determined that due to restructuring and the work focus that private funds should be used to generate the annual matching funds.

In August, the Travel Paso Robles Alliance unanimously supported the continued sponsorship and will contribute $10,000 a year for the next five years. In previous years, the alliance has contributed $5,000 annually.

Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Executive Director Phil Benadum said that the event in October lasts 13 days and draws people from around the world. This year, there will be a fundraiser for breast cancer research. The association also donates to numeral charities around Paso Robles. “We divvy it up and give it out,” Benadum said. “It’s just something we’re real proud of.”

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