Roundup, Amgen and Frog Jump – our triple crown

By Union Democrat staff November 16, 2011 07:14 am
    In the course of 10 days from May 11 to 20, 2012, our region will celebrate and host three major events — The Mother Lode Roundup, The Amgen Tour of California (Stage 4) and the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee.
    If planned, coordinated and promoted smartly, we’re hopeful that all three events will benefit from this “crowded calendar.” This is a unique opportunity to maximize exposure, attendance, favorable publicity and revenues for all three events.
       The Mother Lode Roundup has a rich and colorful history and tradition that dates back to 1916 when spring rodeos were a common occurrence here and throughout the West. It became a more organized and super-charged event when the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse took over the organizational reins in 1958.The Roundup Parade in the past has rivaled the Rose Bowl Parade for its number of entries and duration. The Rodeo, drawing some of the nation’s top professional riders and ropers, packs in big crowds at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. The economic impact of the Roundup is huge for Tuolumne County and the region. We all owe the Posse members a huge debt of gratitude. Their long hours, energy and efforts create activities that generate huge amounts of revenue for local merchants, restaurants, hotels and tourist-related companies. The Posse always set aside funds for scholarships and other donations to local charitable groups as well.
    The Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee is a signature event that draws big crowds from the region and statewide. The Jumping Frog Jubilee dates back to 1928. It’s based on Mark Twain’s 1866 amusing narrative that first introduced Twain to the nation as a humorist and writer. Take a stroll through downtown Angels Camp and see tributes to the winning frogs who really are “celebrated” with their name, year and jumping distance etched into sidewalk panels. “Rosie the Ribbeter” is the all-time record-holder. The revenues generated each year from this event are a credit to the fair directors and community volunteers who invest so much time, planning, organization and creativity into this annual event at “Frogtown.” For 2012, the event dates are May 17-20.
    Unlike Roundup or the Frog Jump, the Amgen Tour of California is not steeped in history and tradition. It is, however, a very prestigious and celebrated event that began just seven years ago. The Amgen Tour draws global attention as a major cycling event. It will attract some of the world’s best cyclists — Olympic medalists, world champions and Tour de France competitors. Sonora is one of just 13 California cities — from more than 100 applications — to be named a host city. On Wednesday, May 16, Sonora will host Stage 4 of the event as riders face a scenic but demanding course through the Sierra foothills winding south to the flatlands of Clovis. Amgen, a California based bio-tech company, is a huge donor and supporter of Breakaway from Cancer — in support of cancer research. At every stage of the cycling tour, local cancer survivors will be recognized and be part of the ceremonies.
    The Amgen Tour will bring a new and diverse group of tourists to Sonora and the region. Cycling enthusiasts from all over California, the United States and Europe will converge on the Mother Lode. We know they will be treated here with great warmth and hospitality.
    We’re confident they’ll be impressed with our unique part of California — an area that few of them have seen. The initial economic impact of these visitors will be huge. But there can be a tremendous, positive multiplier effect for our local tourism and hospitality industry for years to come — as these new visitors tell others about our Gold Rush History, our scenic beauty, our wonderful state parks, recreational opportunities, community theater, Vineyards and our special gateway to Yosemite.
    The Mother Lode Roundup and the Calaveras Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee should benefit from this new infusion of tourists coming to Sonora for the most scenic and, perhaps, most challenging leg of the Amgen Tour.
    We hope to see a coordinated effort from the Tuolumne and Calaveras visitors bureaus, the local chambers of commerce, Amgen, Roundup and Frog Jump organizers — and government leaders from both counties — to take an active role in promoting and celebrating all three events. It’s our local triple crown — a trifecta  that benefits us all.