COLUMBUS, Ga. — More than 4,000 people flocked to Columbus this week thanks to several events featuring the US Army Rangers.
Columbus’ economy is closely tied with the military community and it’s because of weeks like this. According to the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, the economic impact of this week will be about $1.5 million.
“It’s a way for us to reach out to our soldiers and let them know that southern hospitality is a real thing in Columbus and that we certainly appreciate that service,” says Peter Bowden.
Bowden heads up the Convention and Visitors Bureau and appreciated what a week like this does for the Fountain City. The Ranger Rendezvous, a week-long competition featuring tactical and physical challenges, brings in more than $375,000.
“These are people that are saying in hotels, these are people that are going to our restaurants and doing retail therapy if you will. Doing all the things that we like to thing makes Columbus a unique destination,” says Bowden.
Many other events are scheduled this week because of the rendezvous including the USA Shooting Rifle Pistol National Championship, an event that brings about $800,000 to the economy.
For the Rangers, one of the most exciting parts of the week is the Ranger concert that’s held in Uptown, and a big place they like to go to is Scruffy Murphy’s just to have a beer and hang out with friends they haven’t seen in awhile.
“We opened primarily because of the military presence in Columbus so we intended for the military to be a big focus for us and it has been like that. Military and Irish pubs very much go hand in hand I think yeah,” says Breda Gleeson.
Joshua Horsager won the three-day Ranger Competition at Fort Benning in April. He says the competition is the second best part during a week like this.
“My favorite part of the week is just running into guys I haven’t seen in years,” he says. “Getting to see the veterans, the World War II guys who are becoming less and less, the Vietnam veterans, the Korea veterans you know getting to talk to those guys and just hear the history of the unit and the amazing things the 75th Ranger Regiment has done.”
The Ranger Rendezvous started in 2003 and happens once every two years. It features the 75th Ranger Regiment and the event marks the beginning of a 15-month celebration of the 75 year anniversary of the modern American Ranger during World War II.