Is Eagle ready for a big event? |

Is Eagle ready for a big event?

Scott N. Millersmiller@vaildaily.comEagle, CO Colorado
Jeff Brausch of Highline Sports & Entertainment talks to a group of business owners Thursday at Fiesta Jalisco in Eagle ,Colorado. The group, which has met a few times over the last few weeks, is working on ways to attract more people and paying customers to town businesses.

EAGLE, Colorado Could Eagle, Colorado really host somebody like John Mellencamp on the Fourth of July? Or stage a golf tournament with a big corporate sponsor?Events big and small were up for discussion at an early-afternoon meeting of a group of Eagle businesspeople Thursday at Fiesta Jalisco restaurant.The group, which has been meeting for a few weeks now, continues to talk about ways to market Eagle to boost sales in town.For years, Eagle has had a handful of events in town like Flight Days or the ShowDownTown summer concert series. But those events are primarily for people who already live and, presumably, shop in or around town. The town of Eagle spent more than $65,000 to promote those events.The idea now is to get people to town from farther away than, say, Gypsum. But for what?Joe Frasco, owner of Lights on Broadway, proposed putting together something like a Fourth of July concert or similar event, and said hed be willing to risk $5,000 of his own money to get the ball rolling. Frasco said hed want to be repaid if the idea worked out, but would stand the loss if it didntWhile concerts can be tricky, so can other events.Al Davis of CenturyTel works in the Flathead Valley in Montana. A few years ago, the Montana Chamber of Commerce helped that area start a golf tournament. The events a big success today, with about 200 players hitting two courses over a couple of days. People fly in for the tournament and theres a waiting list.But, Davis said, it took about three years for the tournament to really catch fire.But Ive played with the CEOs of major corporations, Davis said. Its a great event.But does Eagle want to push its golf courses Eagle Ranch and the entirely private Adams Rib Ranch? Or does the town want to take advantage of its mountain biking trails or kayak water?Thats what a committee would work to discover. The idea, at least now, is to have a committee of local business owners come up with a plan, then, with some private dollars in hand, go to the Eagle Town Board for some more financial help.If that works, a company like Eagle-based Highline Sports & Entertainment would probably be put in charge of promotion. That company promotes events including Spring Back to Vail. But theres plenty of work to do before talent is booked and ads are purchased.We try to plan based on facts, Highline president Jeff Brausch told the group.That includes research including interviews with residents and surveys of visitors.The good news, Brausch said, is that Eagle has a lot to work with. The hard part will be getting people to think of something when they think of Eagle.Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce director Tim Cochrane asked people in the room to give a one-word impression of Eagle. Most said home or community.When the group was asked for one-word descriptions of Moab, Fruita or Vail, words like biking or skiing came quickly.So its going to take some work to get people to mention an activity or event when asked to think about Eagle.But, Brausch said, he was encouraged by what he heard Thursday.It seems like theres been a paradigm shift, Brausch said. People are talking about finding funding for ads in Denver.Events work, he added. But they need to find what they want to do. But theres some fresh thinking going on. Its very encouraging.

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