World Final Jet Ski races may no longer be held in Lake Havasu City AZ
For the first time since the event began, the Jet Ski World Finals may no longer be held in Lake Havasu City.
By a 5-1 vote with Mayor Harvey Jackson dissenting, City Council rejected a proposal from the International Jet Ski Boating Association to have this year's Jet Ski World Finals at Rotary Park. As a result, the World Finals may be headed to California.
Scott Frazier, IJSBA managing director, said the event had been losing money and that there were problems with Crazy Horse Campground, the location used for the last few years.
Specifically, Frazier said Crazy Horse needed some “aesthetic upgrades” for purposes of televising the event and that there has been a “disconnect” with the community since the event was moved there.
Frazier said that if the event were moved to Rotary Park, that would draw more people and give incentives for more sponsors to fund the event. As it stands, Frazier indicated the event lost about $200,000 last year.
From the city's point of view, holding the event at Rotary Park creates some logistical problems, and while city departments continue to assist in support of the event, city staff indicated Rotary Park now is too small to adequately serve the event. Problems mentioned included inadequate parking and lack of access to the park and beaches for the general public while the event is going on.
Dan Cunning, president of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said his board also believed that they weren't getting the kind of return they used to and that the event isn't drawing the way it once did. Therefore, they only were allocating $12,000 toward the event this year. The board paid $25,000 for the event last year.
Frazier disputed Cunning's interpretation of drawing power and revenue to the city, stating he paid $20,000 in bed taxes for last year's event. For this year, Frazier requested $35,000 from the city for the event plus an additional $5,000 to run a food festival.
After the vote, Frazier said, “I don't see how the event can possibly stay here for $12,000 in funding.”
While Frazier's proposal included several benefits to the city, including the cost of pulling the necessary permits, a cut of parking fees, a three-year contract for the event, a two-year right of first refusal to meet other offers, promotional considerations and $20,000 in scaffold renting, City Council felt the costs and responsibilities involved were not equal to the offer and rejected it.
Frazier said Crazy Horse wasn't acceptable to many of the executives involved and that he had no relationship with the Nautical Inn currently.
As for where the World Finals will end up being held, there is no clear answer to that question. Frazier said he would do everything he could to keep the event in Lake Havasu City, but that he couldn't “put on an event I'm going to lose money on.”
An option he said he is considering is Mission Bay in the San Diego area, but did not give the city a deadline for keeping the event here.
“This event needs to have a home where people look forward to it coming back,” said Frazier.