Warrior Dash promotes outdoor tourism - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Warrior Dash promotes outdoor tourism

Splashes in muddy brown water and a turkey leg are big prizes for the Warrior Dash participants and the city of Jackson.

It's part of a growing alternative sports industry. The Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau believes the challenging 5K will spark a new segment of outdoor tourism.

"We have a lot of young people in this market that want to do these events and want to participate in them," said Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau manager of Communication and Public Relations Marika Cackett. 

Mississippi Off Road Adventures helped lure Warrior Dash to the area, the 9,600 runners, 20,000 spectators, and an estimated economic impact of more than $877,000.

Organizers say the secluded location in south Jackson, off Elton Road, is an outdoor wonderland; a place for ATV riding, camping, concerts, and other sporting events.

"Five to ten years from now we want to be a Disney World outdoors. We want to have the cabins built for people to come in and stay. We want to have RV hookups and city water, public facilities for everyone. With the city's help, hopefully we'll reach that," says Mississippi Off Road Adventures event coordinator Nick Tarlton. 

Mississippi Off Road Adventures wants to bring Warrior Dash and similar events back to Jackson, but it takes a lot of planning to climb to success.

"You have to go over parking. You have to go over vendors and how long of a turn around, how long for a set-up and for them to leave. And so, it goes into a lot of details and a lot of legal work to get something of that size to be able to come in and everything be safe and smooth," explains Tarlton.

The Jackson C.V.B. believes there are other opportunities for growth in the metro.

"Obviously were not Denver, so we don't have skiing and snow boarding, but we have... being so close to the reservoir, you've got wakeboarding, kayaking, waterboarding, water skiing, skateboarding, the roller derby," says Cackett.

More tourists also means more money in tax revenue.  

"The taxes that they come in and they spend on food and restaurants, buying gas, buying gum whatever it is. It's new money coming into our economy. It's not just you and I spending money," explains Cackett.

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