Shutdown threatens Boulder City business, cancels Slam The Dam - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Shutdown threatens Boulder City business, cancels Slam The Dam

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The federal government shutdown has forced the cancellation of the Slam The Dam 8K swim at Lake Mead that was originally scheduled for Saturday.

Over 250 swimmers from 25 states and several countries spent weeks getting in shape for the event.

"For something to affect us so fast, it was unbelievable and disappointing," said two time Slam The Dam winner Bill May. "To keep the endurance for the race, which could be up to two hours, we have to swim a minimum of 10 hours per day."

Professional triathlete Chris Kemp is an Australian, and was also ready to take part in Saturday's swim, "I can't imagine where a similar situation would happen, I've never heard of anything like this happening. Certainly there's political issues in Australia, just like any other country," he said.

Organizers of the non-profit event can't refund most racers' $100 entry fee because they've already spent the money prepping for the race that, until Oct. 1, was a go.

"This has been put together for an entire year and for us to have it pulled from underneath us four days before, it's very difficult, very frustrating. Yes, you want to be angry about it," said race organizer Paul Fritz.

The effects of the government shutdown reach far beyond any event at Lake Mead.  It's threatening small businesses.

"Our company is literally out of business right now," said Izzy Collett, owner of Desert Adventures in Boulder City, which is losing thousands of dollars in boat and vehicle rentals the company was set to provide Slam The Dam.

Each day Lake Mead and other nearby national parks are closed, Collett is losing $5,000.

"It's really difficult for us right now, especially to have made it through such a poor economy the last couple years, and finally we're seeing some light, and then this happens," said Collett.

Since Oct. 1 Collett has been forced to send employees home and tells FOX5 she can only sustain the shutdown for a few more days.

Slam The Dam organizers would only be able to refund each competitor about $5 after paying expenses they've already incurred leading up to the race's cancellation.

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