Tough Mudder event has local economic impact
by Jonathan Partridge | Patterson Irrigator
Oct 04, 2012 | 7395 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tough Mudders struggle to hold their footing as they are repeatedly shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity in the Electroshock Therapy obstacle, the final obstacle of the course. Thousands of people tested their mettle at the Tough Mudder in Diablo Grande this past weekend, September 29 and 30.
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Tough Mudders struggle to hold their footing as they are repeatedly shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity in the Electroshock Therapy obstacle, the final obstacle of the course. Thousands of people tested their mettle at the Tough Mudder in Diablo Grande this past weekend, September 29 and 30. Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
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Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
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Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
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Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
slideshow
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
slideshow
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
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Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
Lisa James / Patterson Irrigator
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As more than 10,000 Tough Mudder contestants and thousands of more volunteers and spectators made their way into Diablo Grande this weekend, many were left with the question: where do we eat and sleep?

Local business owners were more than happy to provide a solution, as local hotels filled up to capacity and restaurants were jam-packed with customers.

“We got slammed,” said Mark Massone, owner of Lampost Pizza on Rogers Road. “We had 10 people working, and everyone was running around ... .”

Massone said he spoke with the manager of a nearby restaurant over the weekend, who compared restaurant attendance last weekend to the way it was four years ago before the city was hit with the housing foreclosure crisis.

Ianel Hernandez, a server at El Rosal Mexican Restaurant, said the flow of patrons into the restaurant was constant on Saturday.

Other restaurants in the Villa del Lago retail area near Interstate 5 also were packed out over the weekend, and dozens of “Mudders” made their way further into town as well.

Nicole Guenther, who works at Shooters Wings & Things at Sperry and West Las Palmas avenues, noted that there was not much of a break in the day, as the start times for the Tough Mudder were staggered throughout the day.

“One guy said he was sorry about the floor,” she recalled with a smile, after a patron dragged some mud into the eatery following the event.

Some patrons made it to the downtown area, too. Greg Damas, whose family owns Pizza Plus, said the restaurant seemed unusually busy when he stopped by on Saturday evening, but at the time he did not know the reason for the large crowd.

“I’m sure we got a little bit out of it,” he said of the Diablo Grande event.

On the other hand, The New Frontier Club bar on South Third Street prepared for the crowds by hosting an “afterparty” for the event, with several competitors coming in wearing the orange bandanas they earned by completing the 11-mile run and obstacle course.

Jesus Besinaiz, the bar’s general manager, was happy to see the athletic event being hosted in the area, noting that his daughter wants to participate next year.

“They’re bringing something new into Patterson,” he said.

A few others did their best to advertise their businesses to the “Mudders” as well.

Massone said his grandson stood on the corner of Rogers Road and Sperry Avenue dressed in a wrestling outfit, waving a sign to let Tough Mudder contestants know that Lampost Pizza was down the road.

About 75 percent of patrons in the eatery that he spoke with on Saturday were from the Bay Area, he said, though he said they also came from Oregon and Washington state in addition to Patterson and places close to home such as Turlock and Modesto, he said.

Local hotels thrived over the weekend as well, with many spending the night in the West Side’s temporary dwelling places.

Hotels in Patterson and Westley were sold out, leading some Tough Mudder participants to book hotel rooms as far away as Turlock and Modesto, according to Kaitlyn Peixotto, front office manager at Best Western Plus Villa Del Lago Inn in Patterson.

Peioxotto, who has worked at the hotel for several years, said the last time she recalled seeing a large crowd like that was when the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race came through town, most recently in 2008. But even then, there were some vacancies at the hotel.

The Kit Fox RV Park just down the road also benefitted, with some paramedics from the event even pitching tents over there, staff members said. The RV park was 97 percent full over the weekend, compared to about 60 percent full during most weekends, said Cindy Belyeu, an office assistant there.

Local businesses benefited in other ways, too, according to Carmen Millan, chief financial officer for World International, parent company of the Diablo Grande development.

Several Patterson businesses were involved in providing materials and services for the Mudder, she said. For instance, Yancey Lumber contributed lumber for the event’s various obstacles.

Of course, Diablo Grande itself also benefited. Millan said attendees picked up about 3,000 brochures about the developing community and its amenities. In addition, participants booked a future wedding and a golf tournament over the course of the weekend, she said.

“Most of the participants were very surprised to the layout and beauty of Diablo Grande,” Millan wrote in an email. “Most people think of the valley as being very flat, but (they) got to experience everything but that while at Diablo Grande.”

While such large-scale events can produce hefty costs in terms of public safety, both representatives from Patterson District Ambulance and the Patterson Fire Department said the Tough Mudder organization itself is reimbursing public safety organizations for their services.

That included about $5,000 for fire services and $7,500 for the Patterson District Ambulance, according to Division Chief Jeff Breasher of the West Stanislaus County Fire Protection District and Yumi Edwards of the Del Puerto Health Care District.

While traffic was backed up nearly to Interstate 5 during the early morning hours on Saturday, eventually Diablo Grande security officers stopped checking in individual vehicles at the guard shack and vehicles drove on either said of the building, alleviating traffic concerns, Breasher said.

There were only a few medical aid service calls and one small fire stemming from the event, he said.

Millan said the event was an overall success, and she hopes Diablo Grande will be able to host the event in future years.

"Tough Mudder is welcome here in Diablo Grande," she wrote in an email. "Whether a participant or spectator, TM has folks wanting to come back for more."

• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or jonathan@pattersonirrigator.com.

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