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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

State continues Tour of Missouri backing

On Tuesday, the Missouri Development Finance Board approved spending $500,000 to support media coverage of the 2009 Tour of Missouri. The board contributed the same amount for this years' race, The Associated Press reported.

The race's $3.7 million budget also includes $1 million from the state tourism division. The rest comes from corporate sponsorships and donations.

The third annual race is to run Sept. 7-13, and the community of Hannibal is making a push to become a start city for a stage of the race, the Hannibal Courier-Post reported. Hannibal, of course, is best known as once being the hometown of author Mark Twain.

“I feel pretty good about it, said Beau Hicks, executive director of the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The next thing is it feasible for us to be a start city where they spend the night at? Can we work that issue out? I was pretty clear I’m not asking my hoteliers to give free hotel rooms. Once we work that out as a start city, I think we’ll be just fine."

Hannibal has about 850 motel rooms available, so I would think there would be enough rooms to handle the teams and support staff. My hunch is the economic benefits also may spill over to nearby Quincy, Ill., which has more than 1,000 motel rooms.

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