[Update at 7:27 p.m.: Michael Cramer, the Dallas attorney repping Red Frog, just sent The Final Word via text: "The event is on!!! Both the Sheriff and Fire Marshal have given written approval." Mazel tov, and good luck to all.]
Surely this will be the last item about will-they-or-won't-they Warrior Dash this weekend. From the sound of officials with whom I spoke this morning -- including Dallas County Commissioners Courts Adminstrator Darryl Martin and Kaufman County Fire Marshal Larry Ewing -- things are looking so far, so good. But nothing's final till 6 p.m. today, when organizers have to submit their final plan to Kaufman County that addresses parking issues and how racers will be shuttled to and from the barbed-wired, fiery, muddy course out near Forney and the Kaufman County side of Mesquite.
Red Frog, the Chicago-based organizers of the 3.5-mile obstacle-course race topped off with a Viking helmet, has finally posted to its Web site a so-so-sorry in which it takes full blame for two days' worth of wait-and-see:
We, at Red Frog Events, would like to set the record straight regarding the recent legal events associated with the Warrior Dash in Forney, Kaufman County, Texas. The Kaufman County officials have been unfairly characterized and criticized on many websites and blogs, including our own. We are guilty of it too and apologize.Here's where things stand: Attorney Michael Cramer, repping Warrior Dash, is hammering out that parking plan. "We are not expecting any problems," Cramer tells Unfair Park this morning via text. Ewing and Martin say Warrior Dash still hasn't provided a parking lot: "They were asking us yesterday if we knew a venue," Martin says this morning. "They have to find a private lot -- they mentioned something about a school in the area."
We now realize these officials were simply doing their jobs and what they thought was right. We admit we did not like it at the time, nor did we understand what they were doing or why. With the benefit of hindsight, we now understand they are good people doing a tough job; unfortunately one we did not make any easier. To their credit, throughout this entire episode all of the Kaufman County officials have been (and still are) very courteous, respectful, and even helpful.
Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes isn't in yet this morning; Ewing is also awaiting his call to set up a final meeting with Red Frog. But the fire marshal says that inspections have begun to ensure his crews will still be able to reach the site near Forney, which is accessible only via a two-lane farm-to-market road. He's also been working with the fireworks providers, and will still need to make sure food vendors are properly propaned and ventilated.
"It's progressing OK at this point," Ewing says. "That's just half of the equation, understand. Both the sheriff and I have to say it's OK to go. Either one of us says it's not, it won't go. Right now, from my side it looks all right. I still personally believe -- and the sheriff is a great professional who's really into this -- but I still foresee some bottlenecks out there, having one farm-to-market road. But that's something the sheriff's department and [Warrior Dash] staff will have to work through. ... But they've actually turned out to be good guys -- they just got off to a bad start when it came to understanding the rules."