CHAMPAIGN — Most folks don't want bears in their tents. Not Debbie and Brian Stumph.
The Stumphs, who operate Herriott's Rents Tents Events in Champaign, are more than happy to supply 75 tents for the Chicago Bears training camp in Bourbonnais.
It's the 11th year that Herriott's has furnished tents for the camp, which takes place on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University.
"We started in the 30- to 40-(tent) range, and it's grown over the years," said Debbie Stumph, partner and general manager of Herriott's.
This year's camp began July 26 and runs through this Thursday. The camp attracts from 4,000 to 12,000 spectators a day, with Saturdays and Sundays being the biggest days, according to Lee Sicinski, the Bears' manager of events and entertainment.
"People who come to camp don't realize the work done by companies like Herriott's," Sicinski said. "This couldn't be done without them."
The tents are used for first aid, security and the concessions area. Others are reserved for use by trainers, for players' families and for tubs that players soak in after they've been on the practice fields.
Chicago radio stations broadcast live from training camp, and Herriott's supplies tents for not only the broadcasters, but also their live audiences.
The company also supplies security tents at each of the residence halls where players are staying.
Not only does Herriott's provide tents, but it also furnishes about 100 tables as well as several hundred chairs. Brian Stumph, Herriott's operations manager, said about five trips to Bourbonnais are needed for the setup.
Debbie Stumph said the relationship with the Bears started with "a random call" from the team's marketing department. The Bears wanted high-peak frame tents and liked Herriott's quotes.
Under the Bears' arrangement with the campus, "the Bears provide some of the tents, and Olivet Nazarene provides the rest of them," she said.
Herriott's fills orders for both of them, and over the years, Olivet Nazarene has assumed responsibility for a greater percentage of tents.
During that time, Herriott's has expanded its relationship with the campus and now furnishes tents for other events there, Debbie Stumph said.
The three-week Bears training campus is one of the longest events that Herriott's equips, Brian Stumph said.
But the Mid America Motorworks' Corvette Funfest in Effingham also requires a large number of tents, he said.
That event, in its 19th year, has been served by Herriott's the past six years.
The four-day festival, slated for Sept. 13-16, is expected to attract 15,000 cars and 45,000 people, said Ben Olmstead, director of maintenance facilities for Mid America Motorworks.
The Funfest requires anywhere from 30 to 45 tents, Olmstead said.
"Tents are very crucial to a large outdoor Corvette party," he said, noting they provide shade and shelter in event of rain. Plus, they "give it that fun atmosphere," he said.
Olmstead said it's hard to find companies that can meet the festival's demand for tents because many smaller suppliers don't handle that volume.
"Brian never failed to meet our requirements," Olmstead said. "If he doesn't have them, he has the sources to get them."
Brian Stumph said Herriott's must handle other events, such as weddings and parties, while the big festivals go on.
During the weekend of the Corvette Funfest, for example, the business has a 20-tent event in Momence, as well as a home football game at the University of Illinois, he said.
Home football games don't require as many tents as they once did.
"The amount of tailgating on campus has really gone down from 15 years ago," Debbie Stumph said.