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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Virgil Stampede sees ‘record revenue,’ business association donates $1,000 to pickleball club
The Virgil Stampede had one of its most successful years ever.
The Virgil Stampede had one of its most successful years ever. Evan Saunders

The Virgil Stampede saw one of its best years ever, says Virgil Business Association president Richard Wall.

“Overall, it was a resounding success. Our top line revenue was one of our best ever and our bottom line profits were also probably one of our best ever,” Wall said, during a phone interview with The Lake Report just after the association finished up its final meeting before summer vacation on Monday.

He said it was particularly surprising, given that there were some weather challenges on two of the days.

“But Monday seemed to make up for it,” Wall said.

Based on ticket sales, he said there were about 10,000 people that walked through the gates “on Monday alone.”

Wall declined to give a firm number on how much money was made through the charitable event.

“I think we just prefer to say it was a record revenue and a record overall for us,” he said.

“Gate revenue was tremendous. It always is strong but it’s never been quite that strong, just because of extreme attendance Monday,” he said. 

It was also a record year at the food stands.

“From what I understand from Phil managing the food from his end, probably the single biggest day of food revenue we’ve ever had.”

The money raised by the Stampede is used by the Virgil Business Association to support sports and recreation in town.

Past donations have included $125,000 toward the Virgil splash pad and $150,000 to the skate park.

Wall said there are no plans set in stone regarding what the organization will do with the boon from this year’s stampede, yet.

“As far as future funding projects, we’ve talked hypothetically about a few but we don’t have anything targeted at this point in time. So we’re going to investigate a couple of different ideas and opportunities.”

He said one thing the group wanted to do was support the pickleball club after it was ordered by a judge to pay a $1,000 fine and to stop using the outdoor courts at Centennial Sports Park for two years.

“As an organization, I think we’re disappointed at what’s happened with the pickleball situation,” Wall said.

“We have decided to support the pickleball club with a $1,000 donation to help them through their current challenging times and hope that there is an amicable solution for everyone for the future.”

Typically with donations, he said the association “follows the town’s lead” on projects. He said “hypothetically” noise barriers for the pickleball clubs could fall under the group’s mandate to support sports and recreation.

“We’re not leading the organization or making decisions for the town. We’re just there to support the sports community wherever we can,” Wall said.

“Unfortunately there was some obvious issues with lineups and rides and some things that we dealt with that were a little bit frustrating,” he said.

He said the ride company Albion Amusements Inc. refunded some ride bracelets or provided coupons for next year for people who were particularly disgruntled.

As far as next year’s stampede goes, he said they’re looking at ways to make it bigger and better and to overcome some of this year’s challenges.

One thing the group is looking into is a bigger, “much more enhanced” skateboard and bike contest and demonstration.