LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Organizers have stepped up trash collection for the Laughlin River Regatta tubing event, two years after 31,000 people left piles of garbage in and around the river.
Marnell Gaming, which owns Colorado Bell and Edgewater in Laughlin, paid $100,000 for rights to the tubing event’s trademarks, social media accounts, website, logos and use of the land from Bullhead City, Arizona, according to city documents.
The new organizers employed more than four times as many trash-collecting resources than previous events, including staffers with nets and garbage bags to collect trash during the race and a slew of additional divers who will scour the river after the event for any remaining waste, the Las Vegas Sun reported .
In three separate pre-trash collection dives from December to May, Marnell’s company has already collected and disposed of over 3 tons of trash. The regatta, which launched in 2007 with fewer than 500 participants, will be capped at 22,000 this year.
City Manager Toby Cotter said Bullhead City could permit the number to increase if the new owners prove they can successfully run the regatta without the mess left behind in 2016.
“To cancel this event after 10 years of success because it did get too big, I use the analogy it’s like cancelling the Super Bowl because you can’t clean up the tailgate parties,” Marnell told the Mohave County Board of Supervisors in January.
The regatta brought between $16 million and $22 million in direct economic spending over the weekend to Laughlin and Bullhead City in 2016, according to independent analyses conducted by Bullhead City-based economists. Its inception 12 years ago played a major role in salvaging the area’s then-flailing economy, Cotter said.
“It has a polarizing effect, that’s for sure,” Cotter said. “The regatta showed the world that there is a beautiful asset here in Bullhead City and Laughlin in the Colorado River.”
All attendees also are required to carry trash-collecting sacks with them while floating down the river — one of two mandatory items along with a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
The event runs all day Saturday along a 13-mile (21-kilometre) stretch of the Colorado River.
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com