There’s a popular segment on WHO-TV 13 SoundOff called “What’s Bugging Andy?”
Andy Fales appears on the show with a weekly taped 2-3 minute segment chatting about something that is bugging him.
I will steal a page out of Fales’ book this week and use around 900 words to discuss a few things that have been bothering me.
The city of Newton was quite busy the past few weeks. The first big event was the Hy-Vee IndyCar Series Race Weekend and then cyclists on RAGBRAI came through the town on the way to Tama.
Let’s start with the cyclists. There were mostly positive comments on our Facebook page when discussing the event, but the minority was louder.
Folks who pushed back against the event complained about 1st Avenue being shut down for most of the day.
It was re-opened at 3 p.m. so some of the businesses who lost revenue could have been open during what is usually the busiest time of the day.
I won’t pretend to know what the best decision would have been for this event, but I do think having the road shut down for one day until 3 p.m. is not the end of the world.
Hopefully, those who did lose money on that day can eventually make it up some other day or some other way.
RAGBRAI is a huge event for the state of Iowa and officials in Newton would have been foolish to not go all in for the event. I would assume the overall revenue for the town made it worth it.
The IndyCar Series race weekend was a whole other topic. The weekend featured plenty of star power as the IndyCar Series drivers were joined for a festival-type party that also included Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz, Iowa women’s basketball superstar Caitlin Clark and a star-studded musical lineup that featured Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney on Saturday and the Zak Brown Band and Ed Sheeran on Sunday.
David Letterman was even in town as he was seen on pit road in support of one of the teams he’s co-owner of.
I personally didn’t have any issues with being able to do my job. The folks at Hy-Vee and IndyCar made sure folks like me had enough access.
My only complaint would be to include a more wide variety of music, but I know I’m in the minority when it comes to the country genre.
Complaints I saw on our Facebook page mostly centered around music fans not wanting to pay to see the races and racing fans not wanting to pay to see concerts.
For the most part, I think folks do enjoy the festival-style event that Hy-Vee has worked hard to put on. But like with anything else, you will never please everyone and the ticket price that includes both concerts and the race being too high was a big talking point.
According to several folks on our social media pages, the prices were significantly higher than the year before and local fans who have had Newton Club tickets in the past were not able to retain their seats for previous prices.
It was my understanding that they could have maintained their seats but at a very increased rate. That bothers me for sure. Those race fans were promised the opportunity to keep those tickets when they purchased them back when the track opened. And changing the name of the Newton Club was not popular with the local fans either.
But then again, as race fans know, it’s all about the sponsors in this situation. What the sponsors want, they usually get. It’s just unfortunate that a lot of those Newton Club seats went unused because of the higher prices.
I believe the weekend festival produced 30,000 fans each day. That to me sounds like success, but another complaint on social media was about the lack of fans in the stands.
That can be misleading because fans do have access to the garages and pit lane so maybe those empty seats were just not being used by racing fans taking in other opportunities at the track.
I just know the parking lots were as full as they’ve ever been.
All in all, I think the event has been successful. And it’s great to have racing back at Iowa Speedway. The IndyCar Series drivers love it so I imagine Hy-Vee will continue to sponsor it.
What kind of musical acts will they get next year? And will they make any tweaks to help with the complaints? Maybe we’ll get those answers eventually.
The Newton Charity Classic was another big event that happened recently. It took place on July 20 at Westwood Golf Course.
United Way Director Jessica Lowe Vokes spends way more time than anyone knows getting things just right for the fundraiser.
I’m happy to call Jessica a friend and will continue to help volunteer at that event as long as my schedule allows.
Contact Troy Hyde at email@example.com