For the first time since 1997 the National Boat Races are back in the mountain state. The big event attracts roughly 300 adult and kid riders from across the U.S. including Florida, California, Washington and Canada.
Erin Woodle is a teen rider is is visiting with her family from Massachusetts.
“It’s a great adrenaline rush its very fun and its very exciting,” Woodle said.
In addition to providing an atmosphere of fun and entertainment the boat races also provide a big boost for small businesses in Hinton.
Stephanie Stiffler is the Director of Hospitality for Mountainplex Properties.The company owns multiple small businesses in Hinton including retail, restaurants, and hotels. She says in response to the influx of tourists this week, the city is expecting to bring in more than $100,000.
“So far with the boat racers coming into town starting on Saturday we have seen an increase in business,” Stiffler said.
“I really think that the figure is going to be closer to probably $100,000 or more by the time that we look at all the lodging that is spent all the food that is spent the money that is spent in our grocery stores and our gas stations and all of our retail establishments that we have here throughout the county. I would say that we’re going to be hitting to a hundred thousand dollars or more,” she said.
In addition to the small businesses, in Hinton, Summers county is also benefiting from the boat races. Stiffler added that a percentage of funds gained from lodging and hotel taxes go toward the county to attract tourists
“We turn around and use those dollars for advertising and we advertise here regionally and locally as well and that helps us to increase additional tourism to our county,” Stiffler said.
The final competition rounds for the races kick off tomorrow. All events are free and open to the public.