'Dew Tour' extreme sports event stirs up controversy over wage laws

October 19, 2012 6:06:37 PM PDT
Extreme athletes have converged on San Francisco for the Dew Tour. The huge sports event features "street-style" competitions and is taking place right across from City Hall all weekend long. This event is capturing a lot of attention and some controversy.

Some call it the Super Bowl of extreme sports. The Dew Tour features skateboarding, BMX biking and freestyle motocross competitions.

"This is the big event of the year for these athletes, it's the one time they are competing on a national and international stage," Dew Tour representative Chris Prybyl said.

The contest has taken over Civic Center Plaza, across the street from City Hall and on the Embarcadero as well. From set up to tear down, there's a 16 day impact.

"I just want to make sure when we give Civic Center Plaza an extreme makeover for an extreme sports event, that we do it right," San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos said.

Avalos is questioning the long term use of the plaza, and the fact that Mountain Dew, a soda company, is the sponsor. However, his primary concern is whether the workers behind the scenes are being paid San Francisco's minimum wage. The city's office of labor standards and enforcement is investigating.

"We'll find out what they find out, but were certainly looking to comply," Prybyl said.

The Dew Tour is paying San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department more than $300 thousand for the permit and is booking hundreds of hotel rooms and donating BMX bikes to the city.

The recreation director says there's an overall community benefit and he doesn't buy into the controversy of having Mountain Dew as the sponsor.

"Every special event has partners and we can't do it alone. The event promotes healthy activity, skateboarding, biking, and getting kids outside," San Francisco Recreation & Park Director Phil Ginsburg said.

The Dew Tour is free and runs through Sunday.


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