I was impressed at the coverage of the PsicoRoc competition ( http://tinyurl.com/zaa575w), but there are many things about the event that didn’t resonate well with me.
I’m relatively local—I live (and climb) in West Virginia and my hometown is 20 minutes from the lake, this event was utterly not promoted in the wider region. Why? I’ve heard discussion about “not wanting a crowd at the lake,” but that to me raises even broader questions. You can’t tout the tourism or economic impact value of an event that intentionally excludes the local community and isn’t promoted outside the region. If there were no economic or tourism value intended, then I have a lot of objections about a specific, limited group of folks getting special treatment and privileges for use of a public facility. As noted in the article, DWS is still banned at the lake, with no intent to change those rules. A special permit was granted for this event. What was the long-term goal? Was there any intended benefit for a state that is struggling with widespread economic and socioeconomic issues?
The broader local perception is that the only people to truly benefit from this are climbing-equipment companies and media—very few of which have invested in production or publishing facilities in this state—and the very few people who were invited to participate.
I sincerely hope that this is an event that continues and takes on a greater meaning in the area. It is easy to imagine this serving as the start of a dialogue for further engagement and investment in West Virginia by a host of these companies who claim social responsibility in their mission statements. A commitment from those companies could come to represent a lifting of all the fortunes of folks in this region. On the other side, maybe this was just an invite-only party, and no one ever wants to talk about the people who were left out.