Casper's economy will miss out on $2.295 million due to the cancellation of two spring high school events: state art and state track.

"State events bring participants, teams and families from all over Wyoming to Casper," Visit Casper CEO Brook Kaufman said in a statement Tuesday. "These events are critical to our overall economy and bring significant spending to lodging, restaurants, retail shops and recreation providers. They also contribute to sales tax collections."

The events were canceled due to concerns that the gatherings would increase transmission of the novel coronavirus in Wyoming. The state's first virus-related death was reported Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, the Wyoming Department of Health reported 275 laboratory-confirmed cases in the state as well as 98 probable cases. The novel coronavirus has been confirmed in patients from 21 of the state's 23 counties.

"The benefit of having state tournaments and events in Casper is not something we take lightly or for granted," Megan Miller, chair of the Proud to Host the Best Committee, said. "The loss of a single one of these is felt at businesses throughout Casper."

The committee is comprised of Casper-area residents and works to bring high school state championships, such as state track, to Casper. The community works to create "zero-based bids" and instead raises money to help offset the hard costs of hosting such tournaments.

The committee receives funding from a variety of entities, including Visit Casper, and through sponsorships and donors.

"The impact of these events on our economy is extensive," Kaufman said. "When state events are not in Casper, our entire community feels the loss. While this spring's state art and state track are cancelled due to coronavirus, it's vital that as a community we work to continue to raise funds to keep these types of events in Casper for years to come."

Kaufman's group says the Proud to Host the Best Committee's event recruiting efforts result in some $13.9 million in local economic impact.

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