OGDEN -- Local volunteers and sports fans here are doing more than making people feel good these days. They also are credited for creating a huge economic impact, most recently by attracting the Dew Tour championships this weekend with events at Snowbasin and in downtown Ogden.
"The attendance last year was higher than at any of the other locations that have had (the Dew Tour)," said Dave Hardman, president and CEO of the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce.
"That's why they were willing to come back and have the championship round."
While local supporters filled the stands and made Ogden look good last year at the second stop on the tour, organizers said volunteers who helped run the event put Ogden over the top as a choice for this year's premier championship event.
"Any time that we are looked at by a potential event of this magnitude, the fact that we have the incredible volunteer base and the GOAL Foundation to help coordinate those volunteers, it's definitely a feather in our cap," said Sarah Toliver, CEO of the Ogden/Weber Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"The Dew folks, when they look to the area, they hope to come back multiple years due to the learning curve," she said.
"Because of our amazing volunteer support, what Snowbasin was able to provide, and due to the local support, it really helped to sell us to be moved to this final stop on the tour."
Toliver also listed the Utah Sports Commission as a valuable partner in the venture.
According to commission calculations, Toliver said, this weekend's event is expected to bring $6 million to the area in addition to $6 million to $8 million in promotional value to the state.
According to trackable numbers, she said, 1,500 hotel rooms will be rented in the general area this weekend, but she knows the actual numbers will be much higher.
Hardman said there are several aspects to the economic impact of the Dew tour besides those numbers.
"First, there are the people who come to the county for that event who stay at hotels and eat in restaurants," he said.
But Hardman said the real value is the people who come to the area in the future.
Those numbers, he said, are much harder to quantify.
"This will be nationally and internationally publicized. The video they take is publicized throughout the world on the stations."
Hardman said because this is the championship round, there will be more publicity, and that publicity will be seen by more people than last year's event.
"There is an ancillary benefit. It helps sell the community for people to come here as a destination location."
That's revenue, officials say, that started because of the free work local residents are willing to give, unlike in other areas of the country.
"It would be impossible for any of those events to happen without the volunteers in our community stepping up," said Jennifer Stockard, executive director of the GOAL Foundation, which stands for Get Out And Live.
The GOAL Foundation was formed from the local volunteer base that pulled together during the 2002 Winter Games.
"We have amazing volunteers in our community who are willing to step up and give of their time," Stockard said.
Groups like the Dew Tour often compare Ogden's volunteer base to those in other areas, she said.
"People say, 'Man, we wish we had a GOAL Foundation in those other communities we go to.' It's really about the volunteers."
Stockard said for all the events the foundation supported last year, 1,648 volunteers gave a total of 15,449 hours of service.
For the Dew Tour alone, she said, 294 volunteers gave 2,729 hours throughout an entire week of preparation as well as the event itself.
Stockard admits such statistics are impressive.
"It really speaks to what people in our community are willing to do. That's a lot of people and a lot of hours."
Chris Prybyll, Dew Tour general manager, agrees that community support and volunteers are the reason the Dew Tour wanted to come back to Ogden.
"The community support here overall is just fantastic. It's a win-win. We are happy to show the world Snowbasin. It's a great partnership overall."
Prybyll said everyone has an amazing time. "It's a great mountain during the day and a great town at night. The local businesses really embrace the athletes."