Dust Bowl organizer and Light of Chance executive director Eric Logan said a “personal vendetta” against him by Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton had forced him to cancel the annual hoops tournament.
Logan confirmed the cancellation of the event this week following disputes with the city over tournament dates, which he says were attributed to another basketball tournament, although he has to first asked for dates.
Logan said the event has been going on for over 38 years and has been scheduled for August 6-8 at Festus Claybon Park in Madisonville for two years.
Logan says the Dust Bowl has grown from several hundred attendees to thousands, with spectators coming from surrounding communities like Owensboro, Hopkinsville, Henderson and Evansville, and as far away as Chicago and Houston, and everywhere in between.
He says the dates were taken from the Dust Bowl and given to the Summer Sizzler tournament.
âWe’ve been planning this date for two years, and this event is so big it’s not easy to get around,â Logan said.
Logan said he finally decided to hold the popular tournament at the renovated basketball courts at the Rosenwald-Smith Multicultural Center on August 6 and 8, which he approved by the center pending the presence of the service. Madisonville Police at the event.
In a Facebook post, Logan said the request for a police presence was denied due to lack of manpower.
Logan said these factors combined to force the cancellation.
âIt’s disappointing that we have to cancel this year, but we look forward to next year,â he said.
Over the years, the Dust Bowl has hosted a basketball tournament with all proceeds going to the Light of Chance Youth Arts Program which offers free after-school art sessions to Madisonville students from of the fifth year.
“Not being able to host the Dust Bowl on the scheduled date jeopardizes the success of the event, compromises its long tradition and affects the financial support for the children we serve in the Madisonville community,” he said.
The conflict with Cotton and the city began in 2019, according to Logan.
In May 2019, Logan said he submitted an application to host the Dust Bowl 2020 from July 31 to August 2, but was rejected in August 2019. He said the dates were given to the Summer Sizzler and that he was given said to choose another date for the Dust Bowl.
Logan chose to host the event August 7-9, 2020 and then submitted nominations for the desired date for the next five years.
When COVID-19 started to spread, all events for 2020 were canceled by the city.
Logan said in April that the city again gave requested dates for 2021 for the Dust Bowl at the Summer Sizzler and was told his application was received in March of this year and the Summer Sizzler application had was received in December 2020, which he denies.
âThe organizers of Summer Sizzler submitted their application in December 2020. I submitted mine in August 2019 and resubmitted in June 2020,â he said. âI followed up in March 2021 with a copy of the request. “
Logan provided emails confirming the dates and his request to the city.
On June 7, Logan addressed Madisonville City Council, Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton, and Madisonville City Attorney Joe Evans, about the matter.
Evans said the city had two competing applications, one received on December 15, 2020 and the other received on March 16.
At that reunion, Cotton donated the second weekend in August (August 13-15) at Festus Claybon Park for the Dust Bowl. Logan declined the offer, sticking to his original request for the weekend of August 6-8, which he maintains he applied for first.
Cotton has said he hates seeing the event canceled.
âI hate that he feels like it’s not going to work out well,â he said. âI know the Summer Sizzler tried to work with him and together as organizations, and Mr. Logan turned down this opportunity, so I think everyone – including the city – worked with him and her. is his choice to cancel this event. I want everyone to know that we didn’t do anything to get him to cancel this event. “
Logan says this claim is simply not true.
“No one in town or Summer Sizzler has ever attempted to partner with me or Light of Chance, Inc., including major organizers Bobby Johnson, Jr., Chris Price, Idris White or Silas Matchem,” said Logan said. âAdditionally, in March 2019, the city used the Dust Bowl to promote its Friday Night Live featuring Sister Sledge and The Gap Band X without consulting me or anyone from Light of Chance.
âThe Summer Sizzler is trying to replicate the Dust Bowl with the support of the city,â Logan said. âI have always been open to a partnership with the city, and Mayor Cotton is trying to distract from the truth. There has been a constant pattern of dishonesty on the part of the city regarding their relationship with Light of Chance and the Dust Bowl. “
Cotton explained the city’s position on the application process so organizations can use spaces and supported the claim that the Summer Sizzler organization applied first.
“This is a paper request that must be submitted to the pro shop (at the town’s golf course) in order to use any of the town’s facilities, and his request came after Summer Sizzler’s “, did he declare. “There were email conversations between him and our park superintendent (Jeff Duvall), but our paper application which he said should be submitted was not submitted until after Summer’s submission was submitted. Sizzler. “
Logan said that in previous years, the application process had always been submitted electronically. He said he had requested a policy from the city stating that a paper application had to be submitted to be considered and that no such policy had been provided.
âSince 2009, when Light of Chance started hosting the Dust Bowl, the nomination process has always been submitted electronically,â said Logan. âI find it almost funny that the mayor continues to change the story to fit his agenda. Every time I thought I was about to jump through the city hoops, the rules of the game changed. As a local organization, we should be able to trust city processes when they are being followed, as all community members should. “