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Bike Tour Coming to Chillicothe
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY
December 4, 2015 (See update below 12/14/15)

Chillicothe will be a host city to the Bike Across Missouri (Big BAM) bicycle tour next spring. The event is a six-day, 300-mile journey across north Missouri from St. Joseph to Hannibal, via U.S. Highway 36. The cyclists are scheduled to arrive in Chillicothe on June 13 and stay overnight.

Amy Supple, director of the Greater Chillicothe Tourism Region, explained the event to City Council members during their regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. The cyclists will average 50 miles per day, leaving St. Joseph on June 12, and traveling east to spend the following nights in Hamilton, Chillicothe, Brookfield, Macon and Shelbina. They are scheduled to arrive in Hannibal on June 17.

This will be the second year for the event. Last year, the cyclists traveled across the northernmost part of Missouri, starting in Rock Port and ending in Canton. Supple said that the Highway 36 organization, of which she is a member, asked the Big BAM to bring their tour to Highway 36. Supple asked the City Council to consider allowing the cyclists to camp overnight in Simpson Park and to grant permission for Big BAM to serve alcohol during their stay. She said a component of being a host city is to allow alcohol to be served. She said that when Chillicothe hosted Tour Missouri several years ago, the city issued a special permit to allow alcohol during that event.

Some discussion took place as whether allowing alcohol to be sold in the park for this event could open the door for similar requests from organizers of other events. Council members will further discuss the request during their December 14 meeting. Supple said the event will bring 1,500 cyclists and approximately 700 support people to town. The first round of cyclists would arrive around noon and leave the next morning.

Chillicothe cyclist Doug Long also talked about the Big BAM, telling council members that the event came through Missouri in the early 1990s and set up camp near the old high school football field. He said the cyclists will have ridden many miles by the time they arrive in Chillicothe and will be preparing for the next leg of the journey. He said that once they are off their bicycles, they want to look for things to do... walk to the downtown area, eat, go to theaters, etc.

UPDATED EXCERPT DECEMBER 14, 2015 COUNCIL MEETING: In other business Monday evening, the council voted 3-2 to allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol in a city park or recreational facility and approved alcohol in Simpson Park for the Big BAM (Bike Across Missouri) event June 13. Both measures passed with Councilman-at-Large David Moore, 1st Ward Councilman Reed Dupy, and 2nd Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham voting "Yes" and 3rd Ward Councilman Tom Douglas and 4th Ward Councilman Paul Howard voting "No." The first measure was an amendment to an existing city ordinance to allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol in a city park or recreational facility. Under the new amendment, anyone wishing to have alcohol at an event in a park or recreational facility would first have to request permission from the council. The council would then decide whether to grant the request. The second measure voted on was specifically whether to allow alcohol during the Big BAM event. Douglas and Howard stated that the people they talked with were not in favor of alcohol in the parks. Moore stated he received input from interested parties with varying opinions; however, he noted that the Big BAM could have a significant economic impact on the city with an estimated 1,500 cyclists and 700 support people participating and he was in favor of allowing the event to take place. Bike Across Missouri is a six-day, 300-mile journey across north Missouri, from St. Joseph to Hannibal, via U.S. Highway 36. The cyclists are scheduled to arrive in Chillicothe on June 13 and stay overnight. The Highway 36 organization, of which the local tourism group is a member, asked the Big BAM to bring their tour to U.S. Highway 36 this year. While some details have yet to be worked out, local tourism director Amy Supple stated that the Missouri State Highway Patrol as well as local law enforcement will be present during the event. This is the second year for the Big BAM and she said that her organization had talked with last year's host cities and that none experienced alcohol-related problems. Supple invited the council members to attend a planning meeting that is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).

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