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Rock Island Grand Prix Reloads...


Rock Island Grand Prix organization
reloads with an eye to the future

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The organization that produces the Rock Island Grand Prix, the world’s largest karting street race, recently underwent a significant reorganization in an effort to keep the event on the cutting edge of the sport as it moves into the future.

The Rock Island Grand Prix, presented by AT&T, will be held Sept. 2-4, 2011.

The race weekend is produced by a not-for-profit corporation. As outlined by its bylaws, the every two-year election of officers and a board of directors was held to close out the 2010 year. Previous officers were re-elected. They include president Roger Ruthhart from Rock Island, Ill. vice president Ron Smith and treasurer Debbie Duffy from Davenport, Iowa, and secretary Becky Rasmussen of Moline, Ill. Board member and track construction manager Bob Jackson of Rock Island was also appointed to the executive committee by Ruthhart.

Ruthhart then told organization members that as the event looks to the future, it was important that knowledge be shared and more input sought. Previously individual members had planned elements of the race weekend. Citing a bylaw that allows the president to appoint committees, Ruthhart passed out committee assignments for 11 committees. They were approved unanimously.

“We have too much institutional memory limited to too few individuals. It is time to solicit the input of others and share information within these committees. This is the only way we can assure the event will continue into the future,” said Ruthhart.

Also reactivated was the Competition Advisory Committee which includes many friends of the Grand Prix from throughout the karting industry. It provides opinions, ideas and feedback with regards to class structure, operations and rules.

Ruthhart also named a Marketing Advisory Committee to work with the group’s new internal marketing committee to assure that promotional efforts are on the cutting edge as “The Rock” starts planning for the next decade.

The Marketing Advisory Committee includes experts from throughout motorsports as well as individuals knowledgeable in promotion from the fields of music, politics, web design, beer distribution, sponsor management and activation, film, tourism, the casino and hospitality industry, social networking, the media and others.

“Our goal is to constantly keep the event moving forward and continue to enhance the experience that racers, sponsors and spectators receive at the Rock Island Grand Prix,” said Ruthhart.

Exciting upgrades are currently being finalized and will be announced early in 2011, Ruthhart said. The race organization will continue to co-promote with the Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District, but each element of the event is going through extensive discussion and review. New elements will be added.

“Although we have been very successful over the years, many of the things we have been doing have almost been on autopilot. We can’t expect to continue to be one of the premier karting events in the world if we aren’t constantly reviewing and improving each element of the event,” Ruthhart said. The new committee structure, including the advisory committees, has already proven to be very effective in doing that, he said.

Ruthhart said it had been difficult to think about upgrades during the past three years when the organization was fighting to survive. Now is the time to begin aggressively planning for the future. Contacts are also being made with sponsors and other new partners.

“Racers come to Rock Island for the great competition and an experience that is second to none. Our goal is to make sure that the experience they have this year is always as good or better than the one they raved about the year before,” he said.

Watch for a completely updated web site with race details and entry information early next year at rockislandgrandprix.com.

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AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the United States and one of the largest in the world. AT&T is the recognized world leader in providing IP-based communications services to business and the U.S. leader in providing wireless, high speed Internet access, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. It also has the nation’s fastest 3G network and largest international coverage of any U.S. wireless carrier. As part of its "three screen" integration strategy, AT&T is expanding video entertainment offerings to include such next-generation television services as AT&T U-verse TV. AT&T provides international voice services to virtually every country and territory in the world and has the largest number of high speed Internet access subscribers in the U.S. It is a global company that sets the industry standard for a new era of integrated communications and entertainment services. In domestic markets, Yellow Pages and yellowpages.com are leaders in directory publishing and advertising sales. The AT&T Foundation has contributed more than $1.9 billion to nonprofit organizations around the country, including $169 million in 2008. www.att.com

The Downtown Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District hosts The Rock Island Grand Prix. It features retail shops, excellent restaurants, live entertainment, dinner theater, art galleries and comedy clubs all within walking distance of the host hotel. Jumer’s Casino & Hotel is just a short drive away. Rock Island is located on the Mississippi River three hours west of Chicago in an area known as the Quad-Cities which straddles the river and the Illinois/Iowa border. It is at the intersection of Interstate highways 74, 88 and 80 and is served by Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill. ridistrict.com

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