By CHRISTIAN KNIGHT
News staff writer
Since announcing a month ago he'd front $50,000 in cash prizes for a summer adventure games event, John Gotts' proposal has accumulated at least 45 volunteers, six main event organizers, an office in White Salmon, a Web site and a date.
What they don't yet have is a name.
“Bottom line is that we got someone who is a pro or semi-pro who knows somebody and who can get it done,” Gotts said. “Each person can go out and do logistics for their respective events.”
Meanwhile, Gotts said his lawyers are deciphering whether the use of “Columbia Gorge Summer Games” would constitute trademark infringement on the Gorge Games, which Peggy Lalor retired a few days before Gotts announced he would like to start a weeklong adventure sports festival on the same date and in the same location.
But Gotts contends his idea is vastly different from Lalor's. To start, he points to the event's motto: “It's about the athletes not the advertisers. It's about the sports, not the sponsors.”
He says he is not trying to attract corporate sponsors or internationally acclaimed athletes.
“Columbia Gorge Summer Games is what I'd like to call it,” Gotts said. “Peg has laid claim to the time of year when it happens, the nature of it and the terms ‘Gorge’ and ‘Games.’ But this is a new event that has nothing to do with the Gorge Games except that they are possible because they (Gorge Games) gave up.”
An e-mail inquiry and two phone calls to Lalor were unreturned.
Gotts said his lawyers are deciphering whether or not Lalor's ownership of the words “Gorge” and “Games” is valid.
So far, Gotts and his organizers have decided upon five main events: kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding, trail running and mountain biking. But they are also considering evening events like amateur boxing and bullriding.
“To me this is just fun,” Gotts said. “I'm meeting a lot of great people. I'm thrilled that the community is so supportive. It's something that people want to happen. They want to have a community event every summer.”
Gotts hired nwtracks.com editor Keith Liggett as the games' director and has the main event's organizers on a stipend.
“Not one of them asked for any money,” Gotts said. “Not one asked for a dime. I volunteered to pay them a little bit. Not much. I don't ask anybody to work that hard full-time and not get paid because they are putting off other work.”