tent camping at texas Heat Wave voted down
County, event officials still sign 2-year deal for car, truck show
Organizers of one of the country’s largest custom truck and car shows would like to allow overnight tent camping to help boost attendance, but Travis County commissioners voted against the idea Tuesday.
After a closed-door discussion, commissioners voted 3-0 to prohibit tent camping at Texas Heat Wave and directed staff to review the county’s
‘I just feel that we’re being targeted for one incident that happened. We didn’t do anything wrong. Someone who came to the event did something wrong.’
Texas Heat Wave
policies on camping at events. Commissioners Ron Davis and Margaret Gómez were absent for the vote. Later, county and event officials signed a two-year contract for Texas Heat Wave to be held at the Travis County Exposition Center on July 23-25 this year and July 22-24, 2011. RVs will be allowed.
Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt said the annual event is not “family friendly” — some women wear bikinis — and noted there was a sexual assault at the event several years ago.
“I just feel that we’re being targeted for one incident that happened. We didn’t do anything wrong. Someone who came to the event did something wrong,” said David MacDonald of Texas Heat Wave. He asked commissioners why camping is allowed at the expo center for the
Continued from B1 Republic of Texas Biker Rally.
“I agree — this is a lack of policy on our part,” Eckhardt said.
“As long as any other event is doing camping, we should have the same right,” MacDonald said. “It’s not against the law for a female to wear what she chooses to wear.”
Heat Wave, going on 21 years, has been held at the expo center for the past 14 years, except in 2001, when it moved to the Dell Diamond, which doesn’t allow tent camping, he said. Tent camping at the event was available from the first year until 2000.
The event attracts thousands of people every year — there were 35,000 in 2005 — and will include the fastest monster truck on display and hydraulic and wet T-shirt contests this year.
But MacDonald said attendance has dropped recently as the economy soured, and many people said they would attend the event if they could camp.
He hoped allowing tent camping at the event would increase attendance.
“We’re not asking to throw a party; we’re just asking for camping … a place for people to stay,” MacDonald said.
The county’s five-year contract for the ROT Rally does not include a no-tent camping provision like Heat Wave’s contract, according to Roger El Khoury, the county’s facilities management director.
MacDonald said he would continue pressing the issue with commissioners.