Five-event challenge comes to Joplin, promotes camaraderie

Kamryn Trusler, staff writer

Attention: Any student interested in a day full of 5k running, obstacle course jumping, dart throwing, karaoke singing and dodge ball ducking, please read the following article for more information.

In the years to come, citizens of Joplin will look back on 2014 and reminisce about the year when the Downtown Challenge was born. Sept. 18 through Oct. 4, teams will compete in five events for the title of Downtown Challenge Champion.

This challenge was designed with businesses in mind, and only teams may participate. There are three different divisions of the challenge: the corporate division (100 members), the small business division (100 members) and the friends and family division. The challenge is a branch off this year’s Oktoberfest 5k race. For this reason (and the fact that some events will take place in bars) all participants must be 21 years old.

“A lot of cities have hosted different kinds of corporate challenges, but we put our own downtown spin on it,” said Trisha Patten, executive director of the Downtown Alliance.

Now, as soon as teams are divided and costumes are sewn, it’s time for strategy. The challenge operates on a point system. Individual points determine the winning team in an event. Only the top five teams in each event receive team points. Team points determine team standings.

Some events provide opportunities to earn bonus points. Some bonus point opportunities include best costume, best crowd response (during the karaoke round) and volunteer bonus points.

“This is an event for teams with diverse talents,” Patten said.

The Downtown Joplin Alliance created this challenge of strength, talent and teamwork. The alliance works to revitalize Joplin’s downtown areas. You might know them for implementing Third Thursday. They help with every facet of downtown, such as bringing in new businesses, planning events, painting murals, installing hiking trails and developing the downtown economy. All money raised from the Downtown Challenge will go to the Alliance.

Since the event supports local downtown businesses, it only makes sense to utilize their venues for the events.

The first challenge is the obstacle course. It will take place on Main Street during Third Thursday (and yes, people will be watching and perhaps laughing).

Next is the karaoke contest, which will take place at Whiskey Dick’s.

Third is the dodge ball tournament at the YMCA.

Next is darts at JB’s, and lastly, the 5k, which will be run around the downtown Joplin area.

“All of [the events put on by the downtown alliance] are partnered with local businesses,” Patten said. “It’s a great way to connect.”

Anyone who is interested in registering a business or getting some friends together to participate can find registration forms at downtownjoplin.com or on the Downtown Challenge Facebook page.