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Cactus Classic Fails to Meet Fund Raising Goal; Will Be Put on Hold For One Year

Organizers Hope to Restart Race in 2006

By Robert "Don't Shoot the Messenger" Burnson

Organizers of the Cactus Classic Inline Marathon had hoped to raise $15,000 by now to keep the event going another year.

But they've only been able to raise a third of that amount, and so have decided to put the Arizona desert classic on hold, until at least 2006.

"We're going to possibly ... maybe ... do it the following year," said organizer Ed Wachter.

"But we haven't been able to get any help from the companies. So we decided that rather than busting our butts again this year, we should take a break and see how things float out and possibly start it up again next year."

Eight Years Old

The Cactus Classic has been an annual late season event since 1997. This year's event would have been Cactus Classic IX.

The race has attracted a small but loyal following. The largest field was 187; last year's race drew 160.

The modest numbers were not enough to attract much financial support for the race, which costs about $22,000 to put on each year.

Few Sponsors

Bont and Rollerblade have pitched in $500 a piece each year. And Bones provided lots of bearings for give-aways. But the rest had to come from the organizers.

"We just had to step back and take a look at the money we were spending out of pocket and the time we were putting into it," Wachter said.

"And we decided, it's just time for a break, basically."

The Deadline

The race committee had set a deadline of March 1st to see if they could raise a significant chunk, $15,000, of the money that would be needed to put on Cactus Classic IX.

But by yesterday, they had only raised $5,300, Wachter said.

Ironically, one of the things that further discouraged the race committee this year was the news that the nearby Long Beach Inline Marathon was being rescued.

The race committee had thought that the threatened cancellation of Long Beach might be a boom for the Cactus Classic. Both races are late season events that draw heavily from the Western United States.

"We thought that if they didn't have it, we would get the overflow," Wachter said. "But then, when they decided to do it, we thought we would be back in the same boat again."

Wachter and his mother, Diana Coonce, founded the Cactus Classic and have been its primary organizers.

"We figured we needed a break," said Wachter, who recently got married and started a new job as a car painter.

A decision on whether the Cactus Classic will return in 2006 will be made later this year.

"When you stop doing an event, people might forget about it," Wachter said. "But we are hoping that won't happen."

(posted on March 2, 2005)

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Related reading:

Cactus Classic web site

• Will the Cactus Classic Roll Into the Sunset? (the Planet Story from last October)

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