North Star Grand Prix Searching for a New Sponsor

Updated: 06/02/2014 7:23 PM
Created: 06/02/2014 5:09 PM
By: Todd Wilson

The spectacle, color and beauty of a national caliber bike race has called Minnesota home for 13 years. Unless new funding is found this year’s addition will be the end of the road.

"We've got some major companies that have expressed some interest in the event but the people we are talking to are sort of at the brand manager level and we need people at the vice presidential level," organizer David LaPorte said. 

LaPorte has been at the head of the race since the beginning. He says, the budget for the race is $350,000. Their savings funds this year’s race.

LaPorte says, his staff has had no contact with General Mills. "And then we found out why it was because they weren't planning on renewing the contract. I have spoken to nobody at General Mills," he said.

Nature Valley has been the races longtime sponsor.

They sent KSTP a statement, "We evaluated the partnership against our current brand strategy and came to the difficult decision not to renew."  

Cannon Falls is one of five host cities. It is the trailhead for the Cannon Valley Trail. Patricia Anderson with the Cannon Falls Chamber of Commerce says, the race helps to promote the trail and cyclo tourism in the area.

"So in being a host city we get we estimate about $50,000 worth of media coverage that a small town chamber can't afford," she said.

LaPorte says he's not interested in putting on a local or regional race. If he doesn't get something secure by August he will apply the brakes to stop the race.

The organizers have made cuts to this year's race. They have cut the Fixed Gear Fever race at the Blaine Velodrome. They have also cut their television program, which was their biggest single line item.


Minneapolis/St. Paul

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