The Delta County area and Bark River Lions Club got some good news this week. Attendance at the TORC Off-Road Championships in Bark River on Aug. 11 -12 was 11 percent higher than 2011. Officially, 17,446 people attended the race this year. That compares with 15,711 last year.
Whether you are a racing fan or not - this is something to be celebrated.
The winners here are not limited to racers who cross the finish line first - everyone in the area won.
The popular annual event always draws thousands of people to the area for a weekend of racing. Those people undoubtedly made quite an economic impact on the area as they purchased all sorts of goods and services here over the weekend. With the added attendance this year, the impact will undoubtedly be even greater.
August seems to be looking bright for the area. The TORC Off-Road Championships were held the week before the Upper Peninsula State Fair. The fair is another traditional draw for visitors to the area and provides an economic boost. The two events together, not counting the many other smaller events that were held in August, should bring a welcome late summer surge to the local economy.
The economic benefit of the off-road race is only one side of the coin, however. The event is put on each year by the Bark River Lions Club. Funds raised from the race are used by the Lions for charitable contributions to various groups and projects. It's the icing on the cake - profits from an event that helps the area economically are used to help local organizations and charitable causes here. This is truly a case where everyone benefits.
The Bark River Lions Club and the hundreds of volunteers that make the off-road race possible should be thanked for bringing this event to the area each year. Their efforts not only bring top quality entertainment here, but provide a much need economic shot in the arm.