Rangerettes kick Kilgore economy up a notch during Revels

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The 2018 Kilgore College Rangerette Revels were more than just a dazzling dance display, they also directly benefited the city of Kilgore. People traveled from across the country to attend the annual show and many of those visitors booked rooms in local hotels and ordered meals at downtown restaurants, giving a boost to the city’s economy.

Shelley Wayne, assistant director and choreographer of the Rangerettes, said the Revels turnout was in the thousands.

“Approximately 5,600 tickets were sold and another 700 or so were issued out as comps to sponsors, admin, family and friends of the Rangerettes. About 6,300 people attended the show overall,” Wayne said.

A large portion of the Revels crowd consisted of high school students and some audience members traveled hundreds of miles to see the famous show.

“Over the course of five shows, approximately 80 high school dance and drill teams, totaling 2047 dancers [attended]. We had people travel from New York City, Chicago and California that I know of for sure and lots of Rangerette Reunion groups,” Wayne said.

Ryan Polk, tourism manager for the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, commented on the positive economic impact generated by 2018 Revels show.

“The Kilgore College Rangerette Revels brought schools, tour buses, retirement communities, dance schools, Rangerette Forevers alumni, and many from other states to Kilgore last week,” Polk said. “The Revels brought economic impact through increased demand for hotel rooms, and higher activity at local restaurants, shops and other services. There were many hotels in Kilgore that had high occupancy rates throughout the week and weekend starting Wednesday night.

“I was able to speak with one group traveling on a tour bus from Georgetown who was unable to find enough hotel rooms for their large group on a Wednesday night in Kilgore. They had to travel to Tyler to stay at a hotel, but came back to Kilgore the next day to visit the East Texas Oil Museum.”

Polk believes that events like the Rangerette Revels provide an immediate economic boost for the city but the positive effects can be seen for years into the future.

“Tourism is economic development, so when people are coming in to see the Rangerette Revels, they’re also looking at Kilgore as potential business owners or taking a look at it as a new community, so those kinds of effects are felt for years to come. It’s not just coming to see the Revels; it can be income for decades. It could be someone’s second home for the rest of their lives. It’s a huge impact for us,” Polk said.

Jackie Clayton, co-owner of The Back Porch restaurant in Kilgore, noticed a significant jump in business during the week of Rangerette Revels.

“It’s one of our best four days of the year,” Clayton said. “Because we’re in walking distance of the college, we feed a lot of drill teams. We thank the college for their support, we’re good neighbors with the college.”

Dan McKay, co-owner of McKay’s Ranch House Restaurant in Kilgore, also noticed an increase in the number of customers at his eatery during Revels.

“We always do,” McKay said. “Anytime there’s a football game, anything like that, we see people from out of town.”

For more information about the Rangerette Revels or other Rangerette performances, contact the Rangerette office at 903-983-8273 or visit their website at www.rangerette.com.

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