Aug 072013
 




As celebrations go, we think the Route 66 International Festival was top-notch. On behalf of our community and our readers, we want to thank the Route 66 Alliance for choosing Joplin as the site of the festival.

We also tip our hat to the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and all the local volunteers who made it a great event.

Michael Wallis, one of the co-founders of the Route 66 Alliance and the man providing the voice of the sheriff in the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars,” signed about 2,200 autographs in Carthage. He called his fan base “future road warriors.”

We like the idea that there are those who are keeping the story of America’s Mother Road alive. As a result of the festival, it’s clear that our own appreciation has been rekindled. Events promoted the history of the route from Vinita, Okla., to Carthage, Mo., with stops in Kansas in between.

And it seems like every time there’s a discussion about Route 66, we learn something new or discover something new right here in our own backyard.

A lot of work and planning went into the event, from the car cruising, to the kids roadie parade.

With that said, it would be a shame to wait 20 years for Joplin to get another turn to be hosts for the festival.

Wallis described the success of the event this way:

Route 66 is a linear village that has no state lines, county boundaries or city limits. We have to work together, and we saw that beginning to happen for the first time in Joplin.”

It’s an experience we would love to repeat again somewhere down the road.

Aug 052013
 




Kingman residents and businesses have a year to dust off their saddle shoes, glam up their retro rides and spruce up their storefronts before putting out the welcome mat for the Route 66 Alliance’s annual Route 66 International Festival.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase Kingman as more than just a stop on Route 66,” said Mother Road historian Jim Hinckley. “It is an opportunity to come together as a community and say with pride, ‘Welcome to our town.’”

The Alliance announced that Kingman was the winner of next year’s Route 66 festival as this year’s festival in Joplin, Mo. wound down Saturday evening. The annual event brings approximately 10,000 people to the event city.

Hinckley has been working with Josh Noble, the executive director of tourism for the Kingman Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Wagner from Re/Max on Hualapai Mountain Road for more than a year to bring the festival to Kingman.

“It started after I ran into Rick Freeland (one of the co-founders of the Route 66 Alliance) last year at the festival in Victorville, Calif.,” Hinckley said.

Freeland told him that the location of the 2013 festival was already set, but the Alliance would be more than happy to consider Kingman for the 2014 festival. When Hinckley returned to Kingman, he met with Wagner and Nobel about the idea.

“The trick was, we had to show that there was community support and involvement with the idea,” Hinckley said. “Wagner really picked up the ball and ran with that.”

While Hinckley and Nobel worked on ideas for events and contacted local artists, authors and car enthusiasts, Wagner collected more than 30 letters of support from area businesses.

And then they had to wait for word from the Alliance. The official approval came at this weekend’s festival in Joplin.

“We’ve already got a basic foundation for the festival. The theme is ‘Kingman – Crossroads of the Past & Future,” said Hinckley, who traveled Joplin this weekend.

The Kingman festival will run from Aug. 13-17 next year. It will include events at the Hualapai Mountain Resort; an exhibit of Route 66 authors, artists and collectors at the new events center in historic downtown Kingman; a film festival featuring movies that were filmed on Route 66, in Kingman or feature Andy Devine; a bowling tournament; a golf tournament; tours of Desert Diamond Distillery; activities in Hualapai Mountain Park; and car cruising at night.

Electric highway

It will also feature a special edition of Kingman’s Chillin’ on Beale car show with an exhibit of alternative energy vehicles. Hinckley and Wagner hope to get a very special guest for the display that night, a 1902 electric Studebaker owned by Don Robertson of Jerome, Ariz. The car still runs.

They also hope to install electric recharge stations along Route 66 for the festival and turn the historic highway into one of the first electric highways in the nation.

“We wanted to plan more things for people to do than they could do in one day,” Wagner said. “We wanted them to say, ‘There’s too much going on. I have to come back tomorrow.’ This is great exposure for Kingman.”

Hinckley echoed those words from Joplin.

“There are people here from as far away as Australia and Tasmania. They came here just for this festival,” he said. “The potential for Kingman is astounding.”

With all of that international and national attention focused on Kingman, it’s a great opportunity to sell Kingman as a great place to visit, and a wonderful place to start a business and raise a family, Wagner said.

“I see it as a catalyst for the transformation of Kingman,” Hinckley said. “If we can just ignite the passion for a sense of community.”

He pointed to Galena, Kan., which also sits on Route 66. The city’s economy picked up after it started marketing its connection to the historic highway, Hinckley said.

The city is home to the International Harvester truck that was the basis for the character Mater in the Disney movie “Cars.” People started moving to the area, sales tax revenues went up, new businesses started moving in, old businesses were revitalized and historic buildings were restored, he said. Kingman could do the same thing.

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa – Daily Miner

May 062013
 




KINGMAN – Just call it The Gathering.

Roughly 10,000 people attend the Route 66 International Festival held each summer. Those disciples of the Mother Road – and their tourist dollars – could descend on the city en masse as Kingman is considered one of the favorites to host the event in 2014.

Such a gathering would have an undoubtedly positive affect on the city’s economy, but pulling off such a large-scale production will take teamwork by a number of public and private entities as well as residents.

Author Jim Hinckley and downtown Kingman booster Steve Wagner, both Route 66 and Kingman enthusiasts, seek volunteers to serve on committees that would work on specific aspects of the event, from drawing live bands, organizing car shows, food and beverage vendors and Route 66 beautification.

“It began almost 20 years ago in a rented tent in the faded wide spot in the road that is Landegrin, Texas,” said Hinckley of the International Festival now managed by the Route 66 Alliance.

A different community hosts the event each year.

Kingman is a front-runner to serve as the host city,” said Hinckley.

The men are banking on approval with the end game of pulling off a successful festival that highlights Kingman’s attraction as a destination.

If Kingman does land the hosting gig, the event would be held in conjunction with the August 2014 edition of Chillin’ on Beale Street, said Hinckley.

The initial plan, he said, calls for a Saturday car show, an exhibition of artists and authors in the Southwest whose work focuses on Route 66, a barbecue at Hualapai Mountain Park and live music.

The event, said Hinckley, “would introduce visitors to some of the community’s unique attractions, such as the Stetson Winery and the award-wining Desert Diamond Distillery.”

This August the festival is in Joplin, Mo. Last year it was in Victorville, Calif., and the year before that it was in Amarillo, Texas.

“We like to move it around,” said Rick Freeland of the Alliance.

Freeland confirmed Kingman is the front-runner, but an announcement won’t be made until Aug. 3, the final day of the Joplin festival.

“This will be great for Kingman,” said Freeland. “Every town or city that has hosted the event has seen a significant bump in the local economy. And this is a true international event. Route 66 truly does have a global following.”

Freeland said the Alliance’s primary goal is to double the number of cars that travel Route 66 between Los Angeles and Chicago.

If you’re interested in helping out, call Hinckley at (928) 530-7899 or Wagner at (928) 377-2239.

By Doug McMurdo – Daily Miner

Nov 132012
 



r111212xmaswindows.jpg



— It starts with plain brown paper and cardboard. Then come the sketches and the brush strokes — thousands of them.

By the time they are finished, June Stokes and Dixie Boyd-Carter will have committed more than 100 hours each to a labor of love that they hope will recapture what it was like when storefront windows in downtown Joplin were decorated for the holidays.

As Boyd-Carter draws black outlines around the windows of a skyscraper, Stokes weighs in on her work.

“That’s looking pretty good, girl,’’ said Stokes to her friend of more than 20 years. “I draw them up, and she helps paint them.’’

This year, they are tackling an ambitious task — the recreating of Route 66 from Chicago, Ill., to Santa Monica, Calif. The artists have created 22 panels that depict images one might see along the Mother Road. Among them are many that local residents will recognize.

The Route 66 panels will be placed in the Main Street windows of City Hall, the historic Newman Building, at Sixth and Main streets. They will be unveiled at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

“We used a Route 66 travel guide,” said Stokes, who is a gifted artist in that she can see an image and then recreate it by hand on paper. “I would see a little picture and think: That would be neat.’’

Boyd-Carter said, “This has been a lot of fun. It’s different than anything we have ever done. We like doing stuff like this together.’’

When the Newman Building was a department store, its window displays depicted the latest fashion trends with elaborate seasonal decorations, specialty items and a large assortment of toys.

To bring back the tradition, City Manager Mark Rohr and City Clerk Barbara Hogelin worked with the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2009 to implement the idea so the holiday magic of Joplin in the early 1900s could be relived.

Said Hogelin: “It creates a fun and festive atmosphere for the holidays. Many of our citizens may recall Newman’s windows being elaborately decorated for the holidays, but the younger generation may not have ever experienced anything like this. We are happy to share a little piece of history with them.’’

This year, as in past years, the Joplin Model Railroad Club will continue its tradition of providing a working model train for display. The 40-foot display will be presented in the windows facing Sixth Street.

Hogelin recruited Stokes and Boyd-Carter for the displays in 2009. The construction part of the project is being managed by Jeff Tennis and Rick Allen, maintenance mechanics for the city, who help assemble the various scenes for the display.

The Route 66 display will be used again this summer when Joplin plays host for the Route 66 Festival on Aug. 1-2.

After the unveiling of the Route 66 display, those attending can observe the Holiday Tree Lighting at 6:30 p.m. in Spiva Park at Fourth and Main streets. The event is put on by the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department staff.

By Wally Kennedy – The Joplin Globe

Nov 082012
 

 


Ron ‘The Tattoo Man’ Jones is pretty much known for one thing – his over 100 tattoos, and almost ALL of them are Route 66 related…

I (have known) of Ron for a while, but never really met him or even spoke to him. Then I found out he was going to attend the Route 66 International Festival in Victorville CA – and I knew I had to contact him.

Seeing I was just coming off the final trip to Needles CA to get the 66 Motel sign completed and lit – I thought it would be a great idea not only to have this sign immortalized, but also give Ron another excuse to add another tattoo of a Route 66 icon.

I Emailed him and we started going back and forth and I started sending him pictures of the sign and he picked one out. Now, there were only two rules with this tattoo – the first one being the tattoo HAD to be done at a tattoo parlor on Route 66. I started my research and found a few in Victorville and we agreed it would happen that friday of the festival. The second one was – I was paying for this as it was my honor to have him do this not only for me, or the 66 Motel, but for the entire Route 66 community.

The day came and Ron and I met for the first time in Victorville at breakfast. We talked about the plans for the day and when and where this was going to take place. Easy enough….

Then the unexpected. He received a phone call about his father not doing well, actually he was in dire condition health wise and Ron and his wife had to leave, at that very moment. I remember Rich Talley calling his wife Gail up at the Motel Safari telling her ‘..if Ron needs to stop and stay the night on his way home, please make sure he is taken care of…‘ Ron was going around the room saying his ‘goodbyes’ and he thoroughly apologized to me for not being able to have the tattoo put on that day. I told him family always comes first – I that I had no doubt in my mind we would see each other again soon and we can continue where we left off.

Off he went….

So, just a few weeks ago, I received an Email from Ron asking for my permission to go ahead and get the tattoo anyway. I told Ron to go right ahead and that I hoped it turned out well. So he did, and it did!

He then sent me an Email a few days ago asking for my address as he wanted to send a picture to me of the tattoo – I gave it to him and he sent me the picture. And now I just had to share it with you.

This really is about more than a tattoo – this is about the kind of people we have on the route. Ron knew me through my website but didn’t know the person behind it. I have read and heard stories of Ron, but never really knew the man.

We both met – albeit a short time – but I think we made long lasting impressions on each other… I like the guy! And I like what he is doing for the route!

So… if the planets line up and there is a chance – I wil be attended the 2013 International Route 66 Festival in Joplin, and you guessed it, Ron and I will have another date at a tattoo parlor!

Oct 162012
 




About a month ago (or so) I posted I think it woudl be a GREAT idea to have Joplin host next years festival – it will be good to pump some much needed dollars into their economy especially after they are recovering from the 2011 tornado…

The International Route 66 Festival, an event that attracts thousands, will hit the road to Joplin next year.

Organizers of the festival, along with the director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced Tuesday that the festival will be held Aug. 1-3 in Joplin.

The event was staged this year in Victorville, Calif., and last year in Amarillo, Texas.

Michael Wallis, the Tulsa, Okla., author of “Route 66: The Mother Road” and the voice of the sheriff in the animated movie “Cars,” said the festival is set around an annual meeting of eight state associations and the National Park Service to work on strategy for preserving and promoting the historic highway.

It features exhibits and presentations by authors and artists whose subject is the route. There will be a Main Street America Marketplace where vendors sell their Route 66-related memorabilia and merchandise.

This year’s event in Victorville offered a military display, a food and wine festival, a Miss Route 66 Pageant, and a bike rally.

Patrick Tuttle, director of the local tourism bureau, said the event locations have not been decided yet, but they can be spread through the area along the route. He said it is the intent of organizers to include cities along the route in Missouri in the event and to feature products made in Missouri.

Tommy Pike, with the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said that organization was formed in early 1990 by a handful of route enthusiasts, and has grown to involve members from 30 states and other countries.

“Hopefully this will be a festival everyone can get behind despite the adversity suffered here about a year and a half ago,” Pike said, alluding to the 2011 tornado. He said he hopes the festival will be a pleasant diversion for residents and will give the area an experience to build on in celebrating its heritage along the route.

Wallis said interest in the old highway, significant as the byway that took sightseers and those seeking a fresh start to the West, is still growing.

He is the author of 17 books on the West, and was hired as the consultant for the movie “Cars” and for the new amusement attraction Cars Land in the Disneyland amusement park.

Wallis said “Cars” and Cars Land are bringing up a new generation of Route 66 fans.

Debby Woodin – The Joplin Globe

Aug 262012
 




I would love to see what the logo and the compass they are planning on looks like…..

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin resident wants to mark a local intersection with an emblem pointing out its Route 66 history, and the idea is getting support from city leaders.

Steve Lea, a retired Joplin firefighter, presented a sketch to the Joplin City Council last week for a Route 66 logo that he thinks should be embedded in the intersection at St. Louis Avenue and Langston Hughes-Broadway to commemorate the historic highway.

The highway, celebrated in everything from song to television shows to American novels, went from Chicago to California, and passed through Joplin on the way. It went from what is now Range Line Road and Zora Street through the Royal Heights neighborhood, south on Florida Avenue and Euclid Avenue to St. Louis Avenue, south to Broadway, west to Main Street and south to Seventh Street. There it turned west to Kansas.

Lea said that with all the visitors who travel the famous route, he thinks a medallion made of embossing brick pavers with the Route 66 logo inside a compass would be eye-catching.

Lea told council members that some people he has talked to about the idea have offered to contribute money toward the cost.

City Manager Mark Rohr said the proposal also might fit in with city plans to eventually redevelop Langston Hughes-Broadway. Council members expressed no opposition to the idea, and Rohr said he would assign Assistant Public Works Director Jack Schaller and Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Patrick Tuttle to explore the idea.

Tuttle said it is possible that the idea could be incorporated in upcoming projects.

“We have two things in the works, and we could add it to the mix,” Tuttle said. “For 2014, we’re upgrading and improving the city’s way-finding program that’s in place, as well as looking at both tourism and economic development opportunities along the traditional Route 66 route. We’re really in the beginning stages of discussing it.

The way-finder program is one in which the city makes and installs signs pointing motorists in the direction of attractions and districts of the city.

“This falls in line with that,” Tuttle said.

Construction materials for a street medallion would have to hold up to heavy truck traffic in that area and probably would need to comply with guidelines of the Missouri Department of Transportation, Tuttle said.

 

Mother Road

Route 66, also known as the Mother Road and America’s Main Street, was a federal project that started in 1926 to create a continuous paved highway from Chicago to Los Angeles. Missouri’s stretch was paved in 1932.

In the 1930s, motor courts cropped up as a result of the development of the highway. Joplin had five tourist “camps” early in that decade. As a result of Route 66, that number increased to 11 by the end of the decade.

By Debby Woodin – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe

Jan 092012
 



Planning is under way for the third Mother Road Marathon, despite a drop last year in the number of participants.

Last year’s Mother Road Marathon cost the city about $31,000 after paying all the bills for the event, according to figures compiled by the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Income, mostly from entry fees, amounted to $32,719, while expenses totaled $63,678, according to Patrick Tuttle, director of the tourism bureau.

It was the second year for the event. The marathon is promoted as the only one along historic Route 66 that treks through three states, starting at Commerce, Okla., going through Cherokee County, Kan., and ending in Joplin.

In 2010, the local bureau spent $30,000, with $20,000 going to hire a promoter, Reinke Sports Group of Winter Park, Fla., to attract participants and provide the awards, prizes and final ceremonies for the inaugural marathon. The city’s relationship with Reinke Sports Group dissolved in a disagreement over ownership of the marketing rights and responsibilities for the labor to put on the run. The city ended up paying Reinke an additional $30,000 to settle those claims and to ensure that it owned the marketing rights.

Dean Reinke was allowed to collect entry fees for the first run, but he also paid much of the costs, including advertising and prizes, said former bureau director Vince Lindstrom. Lindstrom said Reinke never disclosed what he took in or spent from the entry fees. Entry fees have ranged from $30 to $60, depending on the event entered. The initial run attracted about 1,500 participants. Tuttle said last year’s event drew 641 runners: 138 for the full marathon, 292 for the half-marathon and 211 for the 5K run.

Tuttle attributed the decrease in runners last year largely to the impact of the May 22 tornado.

“The perception of some runners was the race wasn’t going to happen, and that was hard to overcome once implanted,” he said. There was a misperception that lodging and restaurants would not be available to the runners, and that volunteers would be focused on tornado recovery and would not be available to put on the event, he said.

Marketing of the event also got a late start because of the dispute with Reinke and the retirement of race founder Lindstrom.

As for expenses last year, costs associated with producing the race such as course certification, equipment, traffic control, transportation for runners before and after the race, and other services and materials amounted to nearly $31,000, according to Tuttle’s figures.

Other categories of expenses included advertising, about $18,000; meals and festivities, including awards, food, beverages and entertainment for the runners, $10,000; and costs to maintain and buy software for the event’s website, nearly $5,000.

Tuttle said the date of this year’s event is Sunday, Oct. 14. That date was selected to keep the event from conflicting with the Chicago Marathon, which is slated for Oct. 7 and draws thousands of runners.

Tuttle has already launched advertising to try to attract runners and plans to attend regional running events to help get the word out. He said the Joplin Roadrunners club is assisting with that effort.

By Debby Woodin – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe

Dec 222011
 



The ‘shock’on the Mother Road…


This even came without a warning – and changed the way we felt about the Mother Road after it left it…

The tornado which hit Joplin back in June was a surprise to all.
Now, one would ask me - ‘WHAT does this have to do with a Christmas List?!?’ The thing is: Even though the tornado did not directly hit the route itself, it beat the hell out of a major Route 66 town. And what followed was what one would expect: So many different people coming together and not only get through the storm, but help cleaning up and rebuilding.

The following is the story I posted back in June when we were making our trip from Chicago to Scottsdale, and we took a few stops along the way to stop in on the route – Joplin was actually one town we would not miss – no matter what:

We woke up to a nice sunny day and started over to Joplin. Unless you visited it – you can not understand the devistation these folks have faced… The damage was just south of Route 66 in Joplin, but you can see damage for miles with signs blown out, shingles tore off, limbs blown around…







































































We decided the best way we could help out Joplin was fill up a cart and donate the food to the food drive they were having… how can you not after seeing all of the destruction…






Seeing this is the season for giving – I have heard of so many folks doing what they can to help Joplin. Richard Talley (Motel Safari fame) lead up a drive to raise money for Joplin’s victims – as well as SO MANY OTHER FOLKS who took donations (at the International Festival in Amarillo), those who dontaed directly to different charities, and those who posted information on their own websites…

The very best thing anyone can do for Joplin is simply shop there, sleep there, get gas there, spend your money there. At the smaller, local places. The ‘mom and pop’ places pay more into the community than national chains. So think about that when you stop in for 10 minutes or the day.
We made sure we bought a shopping cart full of canned goods for charity from a small local grocery store. We bought gas from a local gas station, and even ate at a local restaurant when we passed through. It goes a long way.

So, in my eyes, it does make sense to put this on the list for 2011 – because even though it was bad, it could have been much worse. The tornado could have simply went north a mile or so and went east right down Route 66 - and then not only would we have had the same amount of damage and loss of lives – we truly would have forever lost a part of our past, and the future of Route 66 in Joplin.

Nov 302011
 




Note: When I talked to a few folks in Kansas who are involved with the route a few months ago – they mentioned this was one of the things they were really focusing their efforts on… and it seemed to pay off!! Congrats on this! It takes the route through Kansas to a whole new level!

The state has designated 13 miles of Route 66 in southern Kansas as a Kansas Historic Byway.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced the designation Tuesday for the route, which runs through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs in Cherokee County before reaching the Oklahoma border.

Scott Shields, a coordinator for the Kansas State Byways program, says the designation encourages visitors and state residents to drive the route and explore communities along the way.

The original Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles and was a major pathway for those who migrated west and later for tourists.

Historic Route 66 passes briefly through the State of Kansas on its was between Joplin, Missouri and Miami, Oklahoma. Though Kansas has the shortest stretch of the popular old route between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, the 13 miles of Route 66 in Kansas are among the best preserved and have many attractions.

©2011 The Republic