ATV event at Busco Beach brings in sizable revenue
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 14, 2011 1:46 PM
Last week, after a Labor Day weekend that saw Wayne County host a round of the 2011 Extreme Dirt Track National ATV Racing Series, Busco Beach owner Jack Bennett could finally breathe a sign of relief.
After a summer of preparations and five days of swollen attendance at his all-terrain vehicle park, the 2,000 acres of land he owns just south of Goldsboro had finally quieted down a bit.
"I'm certainly glad it's Tuesday morning and they're back at work somewhere," he said of the estimated 5,500 competitors, spectators and recreational ATV riders that passed through this weekend.
And while Bennett said he wasn't familiar with the style of racing his facility hosted and was simply in awe of the two national champions crowned Saturday night, he was excited that so many people had turned out to spend the weekend hanging out on what was once just flooded out wetlands next to a soybean field.
"I didn't understand the magnitude of AMA and dirt track racing itself," he said, adding the event attracted people from 40 different states to the area. "To get them to come down this dead end road on an island in Wayne County, North Carolina -- that's pretty incredible. I was pretty touched to see that many people from that many places."
Travel and Tourism Director Betsy Rosemann said Tuesday that her office was awaiting official totals from both tournament officials and hoteliers, but that the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce considered the weekend a success. Mrs. Rosemann said that, according to preliminary figures, the AMA event brought in about $185,000 in additional revenue to Wayne County.
With work on the park beginning in the last week of April, Bennett said it was a scramble as the Sept. 3 event date approached, but that help from county and city officials allowed the preparations to be completed on time.
"The city and county, Ed Cianfarra and Sam Taylor, went out of their way to help make the deadlines," he said, adding county Planning Director Connie Price was also a big help, though Mrs. Rosemann "ramrodded" the whole thing. "It was all worth the effort."
And it will continue to be, he vowed, noting that Busco is slated to host six to eight more races, with plans to build a motocross track that will attract even larger crowds.
But he's not deaf to those who claim his track is a liability leading to increased visits to the emergency room. Bennett said that while there were three emergency calls to Busco Beach over the weekend, there was only one person in need of transport to Wayne Memorial Hospital, a recreational rider who broke her leg.
"Out of 5,500 people over five days we had one transport," he said. "I'm not saying that's good, but the powers that be look at it and say 'That's not bad'"