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Tue, March 02

Permit issued for Oatman bed races

Chairman Buster Johnson and Supervisor Jean Bishop opposed issuring a special event permit for the annual Oatman Bed Races due to the raging coronavirus pandemic. The permit was approved with a 3-2 vote. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

Chairman Buster Johnson and Supervisor Jean Bishop opposed issuring a special event permit for the annual Oatman Bed Races due to the raging coronavirus pandemic. The permit was approved with a 3-2 vote. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

KINGMAN – The annual Oatman-Gold Road Chamber of Commerce Annual Oatman Bed Races will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 in downtown Oatman.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors gave the county’s Department of Public Works the green light to issue a special event permit for the event with a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Chairman Buster Johnson and Supervisor Jean Bishop of District 4, who pulled the item out of the agenda for discussion, were against issuing the permit.

“The numbers are rising in Mohave County with COVID-19,” Bishop said. “And having attended this event several times in past years, I know it is well-attended. The permit says there will be 70 teams, five members each.”

In addition, they are expecting 500 spectators, Bishop said. Also, plans are to close parts of Route 66, “which is narrow in Oatman anyway,” Bishop said.

She argued that with 500 spectators, there is a possible liability for the county.

“Close proximity of that many people,” was one of her concerns. She also cited traffic concerns and “the ability to get from one side of the community to the other,” for example, in the event of a medical emergency.

Public Works Director Steven Latoski was asked for his opinion and he said the Risk Management department and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office had yet to review the event.

The county will not be liable in relation to COVID-19 because the organizers, who still did not file a valid insurance certificate, would sign a special release, Latoski explained.

“This has been done before so it’s not that there’s a surprise with the timeline,” Johnson observed, surprised that the matter was being brought in front of the board without the risk and management office and sheriff’s office blessings.

Supervisor Hildy Angius of District 2 spoke on behalf of the event, arguing that it is an outside gathering, which is not against the current county policy, and “there are events like this that are going on all over the state, all over the county,” she said.

“It brings good will and financial wellbeing to this area that has been hit hard and I don’t see why not,” Angius said. “Do we want to make people feel worse,” she asked. “Do we want to keep them in their houses?”

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