Dept. of Tourism: Watertown Rockman Challenge received $11,990 tourism grant

Danielle Johnson, Wisconsin Department of Tourism
608-266-0458; [email protected]

Gregory Breese, Watertown Rockman Challenge
414-704-9969; [email protected]


Event estimates a $210,000 economic impact

WATERTOWN, Wis. (Sept. 12, 2012) – The Watertown Rockman Challenge is boosting marketing efforts with the help of an $11,990 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant. Department of Tourism Regional Tourism Specialist David Spiegelberg presented the check today. The event, a sprint triathlon with a twist, will take place Sept. 22 and estimates an economic impact of $210,000 from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants and stores.

“This is a one of a kind event that highlights the fantastic outdoor recreational opportunities in Watertown,” said Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “The Rockman Challenge will attract more travelers to the area, creating positive economic impact for the community.”

Goals for Watertown Rockman Challenge, only in its second year, are to introduce the event to a larger audience through a comprehensive marketing campaign, increase attendance to 500 participants, and attract 1,250 overnight guests and 750 day-trippers. The event features four components: a four mile paddle on the Rock River, followed by a 13.5 mile bike ride, then a three mile trail run, finishing with a military style obstacle course complete with drill sergeants. The event will highlight Watertown’s silent sport opportunities, draw attention to the Glacial Heritage Area, and promote all the recreational activities in the area.

Grant funds are used to market the event with print, radio, and online advertisements. An integrated social media and public relations plan are also in place, along with an email campaign and website maintenance.

In fiscal 2012, the Department funded 50 Joint Effort Marketing projects, awarding a total of over $1.1 million dollars. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $29 million.

“This JEM grant has allowed us to significantly expand our marketing efforts to target an audience that was previously out of reach,” said Gregg Breese, president of Watertown Rockman Challenge. “With an improved website and on-line registration, now anyone in the world can register for the Rockman Challenge. We’re working hard to firmly establish this event and we’re excited to welcome a larger audience to this year.”

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The State can fund up to 75 percent of a project’s first year advertising and marketing costs and provides support for second and third year projects, but with decreasing amounts for funding each year until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the State as the Midwest’s premier travel destination by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at:

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