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Getting Involved - Local Amgen Volunteer Information and Sign-Ups

POSTED March 30, 2011 12:51 a.m.

The Oakdale Leader caught up with Oakdale City Councilman Michael Brennan — one of the driving forces behind the Amgen Tour of California coming through Oakdale — to find out more information on the volunteering aspect of this exciting eight-day event. There were many locations vying for a coveted spot on the tour. Oakdale made the cut but not before plenty of legwork behind the scenes. Brennan explains the process and the work needed to be done preceding the race in this exclusive interview.

 

How far in advance had you contacted the coordinators to include Oakdale in the route?

I have been in contact and on their contact list since the California Tour first started a few years back. I hadn't applied to be a host city as I wanted to see how the Tour progressed and what is required to handle such an event. When they told me the stages this year I saw the Auburn-Modesto leg and thought this would be a good way to get our feet wet. I sent an email suggesting that coming through Oakdale might be a good solution to getting to Modesto without much traffic interference. It also helps solve the Stanislaus River crossing problem. After sending their route team out to find the best possible path for the stage they agreed that passing through Oakdale could be a good solution.

After further consideration and holding an informational meeting here at the C of C office recently they found us to be a good fit. Now it is up to us to bring out our best to impress and be a success. I can't tell you that I was the first to contact the Tour folks or that it was my lead that helped them to decide on Oakdale. I didn't ask that question of them. It will take many more people to make this event a success. I will only be a small part of it.

 

If people want to volunteer, how should they contact you?

I am compiling a volunteer list now and I anticipate that we may need as many as 200 folks to do everything necessary especially when it comes to sealing off Yosemite Avenue to protect the riders as they sprint through our town. And we plan on having some sort of activities in Wood Park, which probably will be the center of our tour participation. We will need help there, too.

 

What was your first reaction when you heard Oakdale had been selected within the route?

“Ecstatic” as I have been a cycling fan for years and this could also help bring more positive attention to our community and it helps us take a big step toward becoming a host city for the Tour in future races. If the race goes according to Tour planning we will be on television (Versus Channel) and live streaming which also helps get our town visibility throughout the world.

 

How does this benefit Oakdale?

I've mentioned some of the possible benefits above (e.g. state, national and world notoriety through television and live streaming, possible hosting as a “Start” or “Finish” city for a stage in a future Tour race) as well as bringing people together to successfully host a major community event such as has been done with the rodeo and Chocolate Festival. This could also bring in much needed visitor dollars to our city for our business community for a day. Every little bit helps. And this indirectly helps our city coffers through sales tax money.

 

Now, for the fun stuff

I urge everyone to come out and watch these world-class athletes bike through our town and to cheer their efforts onward. We will probably play host to a Sprint Finish line, which adds to the riders’ race points total and helps in trying to become the overall race champion. We will be putting together a Sprint “Winner's Basket” full of Oakdale items to be presented to the Sprint champ at the race finish ceremony in Modesto later that day. So I'm hoping our citizens will give me some great ideas on what items should be included. I've already been told of some. I'm also looking for event ideas to help show off our best side to the riders and their teams, Tour staff, visitors, and viewing public.

Cowbells are the bicycling races’ instrument of noise to aid in cheering on race participants. We Oakdale High football fans have already had experience in using these devices so dust them off and bring ‘em out on Tuesday, May 17.  If you don't have a cow bell I am ordering some and possibly engraving them with the event date to sell to help defray any costs the C of C and City staff might incur in helping make this day a success. I don't want the City to have to spend any much-needed funds to help pull this off if possible. Volunteers and bell sales might be a way around costing our city money.

Any ideas for the day that anyone has should be brought to my attention. We might even have booth space for those who want to take advantage of the event. All is in the beginning planning stage at this point.

Also volunteers might get a Tour T-shirt to wear that day to distinguish them from the rest of the crowd as they perform volunteer duties. We are working with tour officials now to make that happen.

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