The question is, “What will do more to bring more people to Branson and get Branson the most public relations (PR) exposure for each dollar spent, a three day pie show with a nationally recognized celebrity or a free three day $150,000 minimum prize Texas Hold-em tournament? Recently, the Branson Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District (TCED) Board was told that the area should be thinking “out of the box” to help jump start Branson’s Ozark Mountain Spring season.
The “out of the box” idea presented was the “Great American Pie Show” and the board conditionally authorized $150,000 for the event. Actually, the Ole Seagull believes, providing someone makes a great Pineapple Cream Pie, the pie show, while more out of the oven than the box, run the way this community would run the event, would enjoy success.
In the world of poker playing hands are rated. The higher rated hands beat the lower rated hands, four Aces beats three Kings, two pair beats one pair etc. Branson is getting ready to bet at least $150,000, which will probably be closer to $250,000 before all is said and done, on a hand holding the “Great American Pie Show.”
What if that hand were playing against a hand that held one of the largest non-alcohol, smoke free, and free Texas Hold-em Tournaments ever, with a minimum of $150,000 in prizes? The governing word here being “free,” no pay to play. Given the same level of funding, promotion, and community effort as the pie show, in terms of the potential number of people that the event could bring to Branson and the value of the PR Branson could get, which ranks higher, the pie show or the tournament?
Now let’s not get all emotional, hostile, and judgmental about the morals of gambling and how it will destroy our community. We’re only talking about one three day event. Besides, isn’t gambling used for charitable purposes by some organizations within the Branson community to further the good works and services performed by them? That brings two things to mind.
The first is, “Would these organizations use gambling as a method to raise funds if they thought gambling was morally wrong, after all, what kind of example would that set for the community?” The second is, “Why base a charitable event around gambling in the first place?” An Ole Seagull would respectfully answer, in order, by saying, “No” and “Because it’s a fun entertainment thing that people like to do and helps attract people to the event.”
One doesn’t have to go back too far to find just such an event, the “Skaggs Bash” held at the Branson Convention Center on Oct. 11. One of the ads for the event said, “Monte-Carlo is known for its food, casinos, and gambling, so you won’t be disappointed with the night’s events.” It went on to say, “A reception kicks off the night at 5:30 p.m., dinner follows at 6:30 p.m., and casino fun begins at 8.”
The tournament would be an annual event and open to anyone over 21 and would not cost any player one penny to play. The total number of players would be limited only by the size of the venue(s) and the rules and limits of the tournament. How many players could fit in the Branson Convention Center? Free registration would be available in advance, on the internet etc. If more registrations are received than there are seats available the players would be assigned seats through an appropriate random method, drawing etc.
Is the Ole Seagull saying forget the pie contest, absolutely not, he’s merely suggesting that there are other ideas out there that could help get Branson, not only the number of people and PR it wants and needs, but target a lower age demographic. Why can’t Branson eat pie and play poker too?