Biathlon gala raises $30,000

14 years ago

Biathlon gala raises $30,000

By Kevin Sjoberg
Sports Reporter

PRESQUE ISLE – The 2011 Biathlon World Cup Gala, held Nov. 13 at the Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Event Center to serve as a momentum builder and fundraiser to support the hosting effort, was termed a “huge success” by coordinator Jane Towle.
“We surpassed the goal that the Gala Committee set, due entirely to the community’s generous support,” Towle said, “and the committee will be contributing well over $30,000 to the Biathlon World Cup fundraising effort.”
Approximately 260 people attended the gala, which featured a live jazz band, appetizers and a cash bar. A silent and live auction were held, including items such as vacation packages, massages, signed sports jerseys, a gas grill, concert tickets, gift certificates and more.
“The community was extremely generous with donating auction items and services, and a big thank you to those who attended and bid high,” Towle said. She added that more than 40 community member sponsors contributed with a Platinum, Gold, or Silver sponsorship.
Aroostook County will host the entire 2011 North American Biathlon World Cup tour in February, 2011.
Efforts to prepare the region for the significant economic development and international winter sport activity are well under way in both central Aroostook and the St. John Valley, where the two Maine Winter Sports Center venues and surrounding communities will play host to thousands of visitors.
“The two World Cups in Aroostook County will be the largest event of any type ever held in Maine. With 120 million sets of eyes focused on the two events, our communities have a unique opportunity to leave an impression with the European tourism industry that will make them want to come and visit. That kind of opportunity requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and there is no place where that culture is stronger than Aroostook County,” said Andy Shepard, president and CEO of the Maine Winter Sports Center.
This will be the Nordic Heritage Center’s first World Cup, and will be held Feb. 4-6, 2011, a week before Fort Kent’s World Cup (Feb. 10-13). The sport of biathlon combines the precision of rifle marksmanship with the aerobic requirements of cross-country skiing.
Fort Kent’s 10th Mountain Ski Club hosted the first Biathlon World Cup in Maine history in March of 2004 and drew very favorable reviews from the athletes, European TV and from the International Biathlon Union. That event created $5.2 million in economic impact for the St. John Valley and was seen by 50 million viewers in Europe. It also had 17 hours of broadcast time in the United States on the Outdoor Life Network (now Versus).
Presque Isle’s emergence onto the international biathlon scene came in 2006 when the Nordic Heritage Sport Club hosted the Biathlon Junior World Championships. The IBU considered that to be the best World Junior Championships event ever and is supporting the Nordic Heritage Center’s bid for that event again in 2014. Presque Isle’s hosting of Junior Olympics last winter brought superlative reviews from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), which awards the event.