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story.lead_photo.caption Tandie Bailey of Bentonville and others gather Wednesday before heading out on the Women’s Skills Clinic on as part of the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s World Summit Expo at Compton Gardens in Bentonville. - Photo by Jason Ivester

BENTONVILLE -- The International Mountain Bicycling Association is organizing another event to be held in the city that will bring more national exposure to the local trail system.

The IMBA Trail Lab will bring riders from 25 to 35 cities to Bentonville three times in a 12 month period, Kalene Griffith, Visit Bentonville president and CEO, told the Advertising and Promotion Commission at its meeting Thursday.

The multi-day labs will feature officials involved with the trail system as well as industry professionals leading discussions about trail development, promotion, maintenance and their economic impact to a community, Griffith said.

Commissioners approved using $50,000 from Visit Bentonville's general fund to support the labs.

Private money will also be used for the event, said Chris Sooter, chairman. The $50,000 is about a quarter of the cost, he said.

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"This is a pretty big undertaking," he said. "This is our small contribution."

Meeting documents show the cost for the three labs to be around $175,000 and the Walton Family Foundation will be a partner for the events.

Media from other cities will be invited, and their work will give the trail system continued exposure, Griffith said.

The editorial value from stories written since IMBA held its World Summit in Bentonville in 2016 is around $4 million and continues to increase as stories continue to be written by writers who attended it, according to Griffith.

"This would be another great opportunity for us," she said. "Hands down, that $50,000 would be met through editorial value over time."

The labs will promote local trails, promote Bentonville as a premier cycling destination and promote local restaurants, businesses and attractions, according to meeting documents.

Chad Goss, commissioner, said money can be spread thin over a lot of events to help fund but there are a few "tent poles" that should be kept supported -- mountain biking being one.

"It differentiates us from surrounding areas," he said.

Commissioners also approved to accept a $75,000 Walton Family Foundation grant to help support a two public art murals completed in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

One mural will feature the artist William T. Williams, whose artwork is in the museum's special exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, which is on display until April 23. The other will feature artist Yatika Starr Fields and be part of Crystal Bridges' exhibition Native North American, which will open Oct. 6.

NW News on 02/23/2018

Print Headline: IMBA back to Bentonville to hold Trail Lab

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