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Preparing for Biketoberfest

By | General Posts

by Jarleene Almenas from https://www.ormondbeachobserver.com

Preparing for Biketoberfest: Destination Daytona is confident in its itinerant vending plans

The 150-acre property is one of the largest venues in Volusia County.

Come Biketoberfest, Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach believes it can host itinerant vendors and outdoor events in a way that adheres to COVID-19 safety measures.

In its permit application to the city, Dean Pepe, general counsel for Destination Daytona, stated that motorcycle rally events “are critical to the survival of our businesses here at Destination Daytona, our hundreds of employees and also to our entire community.” Some of the measures Destination Daytona will implement include one-way lanes inside stores, spacing outdoor tables apart to promote social distancing and requiring all vendors to wear masks. Bikers frequenting businesses inside the 150-acre event venue will also be asked to wear masks indoors.

“We’ve developed our own message, which is ‘Protect and respect our city, mask up and distance,'” Pepe said. “That’s going to be our message to everybody that comes here.”

When the City Commission in mid-August decided to hold off until September on making a decision to allow event permits for the motorcycle rally, Pepe said they were disappointed, but that they understood the reasoning.

“There was an understanding there that these people were trying to make a good decision,” Pepe said. “The thought of not having it with our normal setup would’ve been disappointing, but we would’ve had to roll with it and come up with an alternate plan.”

They also knew that if the commission reached a decision on Sept. 9, they had time to gather vendors and make preparations for Biketoberfest, even if they had to scramble a bit, Pepe said.

“We were very, very excited and pleased to hear that the city staff and representatives helped this decision,” said Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe, general manager at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson in Destination Daytona.

‘We want to do right by the community’

Itinerant vendor revenue is one of the largest components for the year at Destination Daytona, said Pepe, which is why it’s important to hold these events twice a year for Bike Week and Biketoberfest, respectively.

While Pepe acknowledged that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, he also expressed that “livelihoods are important too.” In addition to their own staff, another 30 people or so will be hired to help with the event. In previous years, that number has been higher, but due to the pandemic, Destination Daytona is not expecting the typical large crowds.

What they are anticipating is an increase of vendors, as the city of Daytona Beach has opted against issuing permits. Destination Daytona is also not planning any large concerts to keep crowds manageable, Pepe said.

Rossmeyer Pepe said they’ve traditionally been a daytime venue anyways, as most vendors wrap up in the early evening. Daytime traffic may go up a bit because of the lack of outdoor events in Daytona Beach, but she expects their nighttime traffic will not. She said it’s important for them to “do right” by both the community and the visitors.

“We’re going to do everything to try to maintain a very positive reputation, so they’ll come back,” she said. “We feel good and confident that our customers and our visitors are going to respect the situation we’re all in.”

If the situation was like it was in March, Pepe said perhaps Destination Daytona may not have had enough information to be able to hold events safely, as he is confident they are able to do now.

As a business, they need to be open, he said.

“You have to at some point,” Pepe said. “We can’t not operate our businesses forever hoping that this goes away completely.”

Sturgis Hall of Fame Breakfast 2020

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Well when I found out that my sister by another mother Vicki Sanfelipo was getting inducted that changed everything
Photos and text by ROGUE, Senior Editor, Bikernet.com

Like many people, I gave some serious thought to not attending Sturgis this year. The pandemic was a serious concern, with all the noise about it being spread when large groups get together.

Well, when I found out that my sister by another mother Vicki Sanfelipo was getting inducted, that changed everything.

The 20th Annual Induction Breakfast was held on August 12, 2020 at The Lodge At Deadwood. Seating was limited to about 500 and sold out. You needed to be wearing face covering to enter and safety precautions were in place as best it could be for a function of this type.

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Ride to Sturgis 2020

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Things Do Not Always Go As Planned
by Rogue

As in past years getting ready for the ride to Sturgis included fully servicing my 2009 FLHTC motorcycle, cleaning cameras, making sure all paperwork for events was handled like insurance, bike registrations, location registrations, bills paid and just all the myriad of stuff involved with the ritual. This year was no different.

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Race of Gentlemen Gallery

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The Greatest Show on Earth
By Jack McIntyre

The inaugural Race of Gentlemen was held in 2012 on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ, just days before Hurricane Sandy made landfall. New Jersey has a storied tradition of beach racing, including an epic 1-mile beach race in Cape May during the summer of 1905.

The exhibition featured the likes of Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet and speed record holder Walter Christie. At the time, the Cape May beach was deemed the “finest racing beach” in the world.

The Race of Gentlemen has since moved from Asbury Park to Wildwood—a stone’s throw from Cape May—for its flatter, wider beaches and legendary boardwalk. Enthusiasts now attend from all over the country to run their machines down a 1/8-mile straightaway in front of thousands of spectators.

The event continues to grow and garner international recognition, while laying the groundwork for additional exhibitions and races around the country.

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NH officials remind Laconia Motorcycle Week attendees of COVID-19 safety rules

By | General Posts

by Jean Mackin from https://www.wmur.com

In 2020 style, Laconia Motorcycle Week is taking a major detour this year — scaled down with no vendor tents or big scheduled events .

The state will post signs and even do flyovers featuring the rules of the road in New Hampshire.

“We want to remind folks that might be coming from out state to review our travel provisions, our quarantine protocols, and recommendations that we have within the state,” Gov. Chris Sununu said Friday. “Remind them that we do encourage folks to wear masks whenever they cannot social distance. If they are going to be at any large scheduled gathering, there actually is a mask requirement for those over 100.”

State health officials say they’re working with businesses to try to cut down on potential spread.

“In a large event like that, especially if it’s outdoor … and there’s hundreds of people, regardless of whether you’re wearing a mask or not there’s that risk of transmission is there,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

If someone tests positive, contact tracing could be difficult.

“It would be hard to do full contact tracing if they attended a large events at Bike Week, so I would say that a public notification is likely unless it was a very isolated incident,” Shibinette said.

And if a someone tests positive after leaving the state, New Hampshire officials would be notified.

Attendance down, but spending up at 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

By | General Posts

by Siandhara Bonnet from https://rapidcityjournal.com

Leading up to the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the city and attendees expected changes in cleaning, events and sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they didn’t expect to see historically high numbers in first-time attendees, vendors and spending.

City Manager Daniel Ainslie said it was also a surprise to see the number of people that came to the city a week or two before the rally began.

“Everyone kind of thought the rally was going to be incredibly small because people are coming the week and two weeks before,” he said Friday. “We heard from vendors, too. Vendors haven’t been able to work since March … and were looking for an opportunity to do something.”

According to the Department of Transportation, the seven-day total for the rally from Aug. 7 was 365,979 people, which is down just by 7.5% compared to last year at the same time.

Ainslie said based on surveys the city has done, the demographic is slightly shifting for the rally, although the data isn’t finalized and won’t be until after the rally is completely over.

He said the city is seeing a drop off in the attendance of those in the 60-70 age range, which is understandable especially during the pandemic. He said there’s been an increase in those in their late 20s to early 30s.

“They say they’re coming because they’re looking for something to do,” he said. “The rally continues to grow and attracts a wider and wider audience that over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a larger and larger international presence.”

With the exception of this year, due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ainslie said, though, that it shows the rally is becoming a “slice of Americana” that’s appealing to an international audience.

Robin Baldwin, owner of Black Hills Rally & Gold, said she’s missing some of that international presence since many, particularly from Canada, are returning customers and friends.

Baldwin said she’s seen more tourists and customers before the rally than what’s typical. She also said her kiosks are receiving more business than locations inside a building.

“I don’t know what that means, but otherwise, we’re pleased with where things are because I could’ve not been doing anything,” she said.

There has, though, been an increase in online purchases, and Friday morning was the first day they weren’t “slammed” with orders.

Baldwin said she has sold out of a few items, like glassware, hats and flags, and may have to reorder some things.

Ainslie said final revenue numbers won’t be in until September, which is the deadline for year-round businesses to file their numbers, and won’t have final spending numbers until October.

However, he said the city tracks about 10 different long-time vendors and established businesses and is confident the total spending will be higher despite fewer guests.

Ainslie said the city’s liquor store sales increased by 26.5% compared to last year, selling a total of $429,125. He said he couldn’t release the kinds of liquor, beer or spirits sold at the store.

Both Ainslie and Rally and Events Director Jerry Cole said they think the city saw more turnover downtown than previous years.

“People would come downtown, walk though, buy their shirts, go and someone would pull in right behind them,” Cole said. “I think a lot of people didn’t go to bars or do the things they would’ve before. … Most of the people that came downtown really looked at that social distancing and stayed out in the open air.”

That social distancing and open air mentality is one the city hoped people would adapt this year due to the pandemic when it canceled some of the classic events like the opening ceremony, B-1 Bomber flyover, photo towers and more.

The city also made hand sanitizer dispensers available throughout downtown, which Ainslie said were filled up every night. He said the city had more on hand than used but is glad it was available for people.

Vendors also had hand sanitizer in many of their tents or buildings.

The city also spent more time on washing sidewalks than in the past, as well as cleaning the porta-potties.

Ainslie said the city hauled off 339.25 tons of garbage from downtown as of Thursday, which is down 3.5% from last year in addition to the 124 tons of residential garbage it has collected during rally week.

“That’s almost three times as much,” he said. “We’re not done yet. We’ll still be hauling for the next seven days.”

The garbage is taken to the landfill in Belle Fourche, which is about 30 miles away.

Ainslie said the city measures the success of the rally based on the health, safety and security of the community.

This year, there have only been three fatalities during the rally compared to four last year as of Friday, according to the Department of Public Safety.

William Cooper, 22, of College Station, Texas, and Ronald Ratzel, 55, of Ceres, New York, both died in a collision on U.S. Highway 14A Monday east of Sturgis. Steven Peterson, 60, of Cuba, New York was injured.

A 55-year-old woman, whose name has not been released as of Friday afternoon, died of her injuries from a one-vehicle crash Wednesday seven miles east of Hill City.

Tony Mangan, public information officer for DPS, said the reporting period ends at 6 a.m. Sunday.

“The fewer the better,” he said. “The fewer we have, the better for everybody.”

Mangan said the state Highway Patrol’s operations have been pretty consistent with previous years, although officers were given some personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks, due to the pandemic.

According to data, DPS has seen higher misdemeanor and felony drug arrests compared to the same time last year, as of 6 a.m. Friday.

It also saw more vehicle seizures for drug possession, which is typically done for felonies, and more cash seizures, although they’re still under investigation.

Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater and Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said they’ve also seen a rise in misdemeanor and felony drug arrests.

The city police department had 90 misdemeanor arrests this year compared to 33 last year and 34 felony arrests compared to 19 last year.

“It’s becoming more prevalent of the violations,” VanDewater said. “We end up stopping people for crimes and we’re finding misdemeanor drugs as well as felony drugs. I don’t want to say it’s a common occurrence, but you’re seeing more and more violations.”

Merwin said his department stayed busy with calls from the campgrounds and many were alcohol-related.

“The campgrounds aren’t bad themselves,” he said Friday. “It’s like a city out there, too.”

Ainslie said it’s great to see so few incidents, especially when many were concerned about a number of people coming into the community.

Cole said the real success, though, will be determined in the following months as revenue numbers come in along with COVID-19 cases.

No masks required as 250,000 expected at 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Here’s what to know.

By | General Posts

by Joel Shannon from https://news.yahoo.com

One of the largest events since the beginning of the pandemic has begun in South Dakota: More than 250,000 people are expected at the iconic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

That’s scaled down from previous years, where about half-a-million people have descended on the city of about 7,000 for an event that has developed a reputation as an anything-goes festival.

While the 80-year tradition isn’t as raucous as it once was, festivalgoers will be largely free of social distancing restrictions common elsewhere in the country during this year’s 10-day festival.

Bikers flocking to the small town from around the country won’t face quarantining requirements if they are from a coronavirus hot spot.

And masks? They’re encouraged – not required.

So far, few people are heeding that encouragement, according to an Associated Press reporter at the event.

Many who rode their bikes into Sturgis on Friday expressed defiance at the rules and restrictions that have marked life in much of the world during the pandemic.

“Screw COVID,” read the design on one T-shirt being hawked. “I went to Sturgis.”

Local officials have made efforts to scale down the event, but some expect restriction-weary bikers to flock to Sturgis in large numbers.

“It’s the biggest single event that’s going on in the United States that didn’t get canceled,” said Rod Woodruff, who operates the largest campground and concert venue that lies outside the bounds of the city.

“A lot of people think it’s going to be bigger than ever.”

In addition to normal concerns about crime, many locals are worried the huge crowds and lack of social distancing rules will lead to an unmanageable outbreak of COVID-19.

What is Sturgis?

The rally may be known for rowdy, drunken and naked shenanigans, but in recent years longtime attendees complain it has lost its edge.

First-time visitors might be excused for thinking the rally isn’t much more than an excuse to create one of the world’s largest open-air shopping malls. There’s usually corporate sponsorships, licensed T-shirt vendors, insurance companies and lawyers.

Most attendees in recent years are professionals with too much to lose if they get arrested. The top three professions at Sturgis are doctors, lawyers and accountants, city officials have said in previous years.

That’s translated to big money for the local economy. Last year, the rally brought in about $1.3 million in tax revenue for South Dakota, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Is the event risky during a pandemic?

While outdoor events are widely believed to be lower risk than indoor ones, the unprecedented size of the gathering is prompting serious concerns.

“You’re just adding fuel to a fire,” epidemiologist Dr. John Brownstein, told ABC News. “South Dakota is already experiencing increases in transmission. COVID is not under control in South Dakota; it’s just not.”

Among Brownstein’s worries: That attendees could become infected at the event and spread it across the nation as they return home – and that the rural health care system doesn’t have the ability to handle a possible local surge in cases.

Many locals seem to share in the concern. When asked earlier this year whether the iconic motorcycle rally should be held, their answer was an overwhelming “no.”

More than half of the community expressed their feelings in a survey. A sizable majority of 62% asked city officials to postpone the rally.

Several steps have been taken to reduce risk, local media reports: The Community Center will not be hosting vendors inside as in the past, according to NewsCenter 1. And Sturgis High School will not offer shower services nor host the annual pancake breakfast as in the past.

Mayor Mark Carstensen on Thursday told CNN the city is setting up sanitation stations and giving out masks, although they aren’t mandated.

Why are local leaders allowing the event to go on?

Businesses pressured the City Council to proceed and Sturgis officials say the rally would happen whether they wanted it or not. So they opted to try to scale it back, canceling city-hosted events and slashing advertising for the rally.

Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis’ city manager, said the city received a letter sent by attorneys for an outside business containing threats of litigation unless the rally moved forward. It suggested the city did not have the right to cancel the rally because previous court rulings found that the rally is not produced by a single organizer.

For his part, Woodruff said he felt he had little choice but to proceed with the rally. He employs hundreds of people in August and a smaller full-time staff.

“We spend money for 355 days of the year without any return on it, hoping people show up for nine days,” he said. “We’re a nine-day business.”

What are the rules in South Dakota about masks, social distancing?

Gov. Kristi Noem has taken a relaxed approach to the pandemic. Even as Republican governors in states like Texas have moved to require people to wear masks, Noem didn’t require physical distancing or masks at the July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Donald Trump attended.

She supported holding the Sturgis rally, tweeting Thursday: “I trusted my people, they trusted me, and South Dakota is in a good spot in our fight against COVID-19. The #Sturgis motorcycle rally starts this weekend, and we’re excited for visitors to see what our great state has to offer!”

The Big Question Bikernet Weekly News for August 6, 2020

By | General Posts

Hey,

You’ll see in the news wild announcements. The Authorities shut down Las Vegas Bike Fest and Daytona Biketoberfest, but we’re still rocking in Sturgis.

It’s going to be a helluva test. I hope like hell no one gets sick. I don’t see a lot of mask wearing in these parts. This might be the only run this year. I’ve got LA brothers who still want to make it out. The opinions are all over the map. Some folks think it’s cool. Some folks need to make the money. Some folks think we’ll have an outbreak after the rally and are pissed off. I know of stores that will be completely closed during the rally.

One thing is for certain. Whatever happens, we’ll experience it, deal with it and move on.

But wait, Laconia is still happening. I’m sure they will look long and hard at the Black Hills Rally.

Let’s hit the news.

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South Dakota’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally expecting to draw 250K, amid coronavirus concerns

By | General Posts

by David Aaro, Stephen Groves from https://www.foxnews.com

Some residents worry that the event could result in an uncontrolled spread of the virus

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is expecting to see some quarter-million people descend upon a scarcely populated South Dakota city in August, making it likely the biggest event so far during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

At least 250,000 people are anticipated to pass through Sturgis and cruise through the western portions of the state during this year’s Aug. 7 to Aug. 16 rally, which is roughly half the number of people who normally attend. While South Dakota has seen just 165 deaths from the virus so far, some residents worry that the event could result in an uncontrolled spread of the virus amid a recent surge in cases.

“This is a huge, foolish mistake to make to host the rally this year,” Sturgis resident Lynelle Chapman told city counselors at a June meeting. “The government of Sturgis needs to care most for its citizens.”

A debate has continued in recent months, with many residents wishing for the rally to be postponed and businesses arguing they need the race to make a living. A recent survey of residents conducted by the city found that more than 60 percent believe the rally should be postponed amid concerns over the virus.

Those attending the event have spent roughly $800 million in recent years, and businesses that depend on the rally see it as a chance to make up for losses during the pandemic.

Pressure from the tourism business and a realization from officials that people would still come to Sturgis forced the city to implement a scaled-back version of the event.

“After considering many options, the City Council voted in favor of moving forward with preparations for the large influx of tourists and participants coming to enjoy the Black Hills, with a focus on preserving the safety of our residents,” said a release by the city on June 16.

Officials canceled city-hosted events and slashed advertising for the 80th edition of the rally. Other preventive measures will include public hand sanitizing stations throughout the downtown area and nightly sanitization of sidewalk areas.

Mass coronavirus testing will also be conducted to see if all those people brought the pandemic to Sturgis.

“Attendees will be asked to be respectful of the community concerns by practicing social distancing and taking personal responsibility for their health by following CDC guidelines,” the city release said. “PPE will be available for all city staff, and any businesses that have issues with finding available personal protective equipment for their employees.”

Jerry Cole, who directs the rally for the city, said organizers are expecting at least 250,000 to show up. Others believe it could be even bigger.

“It’s the biggest single event that’s going on in the United States that didn’t get canceled,” said Rod Woodruff, who operates the Buffalo Chip, a local campground and concert venue. “A lot of people think it’s going to be bigger than ever.”

RV Spots Filling Up Fast Ahead of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

By | General Posts

from https://rvbusiness.com

The COVID-19 pandemic apparently is not discouraging as many visitors as previously expected, but home rentals, campground spaces and hotel rooms remain available for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that starts Aug. 7, according to a report by Tanya Manus in the Rapid City, S.D., Journal.

“It’s the 80th rally, so people are coming,” said Kimberly Roberts, owner of Kickstands Campground and Venue outside Sturgis. Roberts said some primitive tent camping and self-contained RV spaces are still open because of cancellations, but full-service RV spots are full.

“This is our fourth rally. What’s different I’m noticing is people are trickling in. People are showing up,” she said.

Gina Huiet, manager of Sturgis RV Park in Sturgis, said that park is usually fully booked by October for the following summer’s rally. The park rents sites for five or 10 days at a time. As of Friday, the park had some openings because Canadian travelers were forced to cancel due to COVID-19 border closures. “Yes, I have had some people cancel because of COVID-19, but all those spots, we’ve booked them,” Huiet said. “People are coming anyway.”

“We do have an overflow camping lot. We do allow one- and two-night stays for motorcycles and tents. We’ve never filled it up before but it could happen this year,” she said. “All those people that waited until the last minute, the only good thing about COVID-19 is it opened a rally spot for you.”

As of Friday, sturgis.com still listed a variety of rentals open throughout the Black Hills. Options ranged from high-end luxury homes to rustic cabins and campsites. Meanwhile this week, Airbnb.com shows its rentals throughout the Black Hills are 81% booked during the rally. Several entire houses for rent during the rally have not yet been reserved.

Julie Schmitz Jensen, executive director of Visit Rapid City, said she’s optimistic about visitor numbers this summer. “Nothing about this year is normal, but I think there are some that had already made reservations, and some are still contemplating reservations,” Jensen said. “We all know things could change overnight; we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

By mid-July, she said Rapid City area hotels, motels and campgrounds were reporting between 65% and 85% reservation rates during the rally, with the two weekends being more booked than midweek.

“There have been some cancellations recently because some states are implementing stay-at-home rules. … I’m not seeing that as a huge trend yet,” Jensen said. “Canadians have always been a really big part of the rally market so (with the border closure) Canadian numbers are either nonexistent or way down.

“We’re all dipping our toes into regional marketing. We’re not telling the world to come visit this summer. We are telling (those who are within driving distance) we are open, we are safe, we are following all the Centers for Disease Control regulations,” Jensen said. “We are coming back up. We’re aren’t out of the hole yet, but we are getting back. … We’re getting a lot of interest.”

Meanwhile, at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, last-minute guests are always invited.

“We always have room at the Chip for more people and this year is no different,” said Buffalo Chip founder and President Rod Woodruff. “We’d welcome anybody that makes up their mind at the last minute. We always have a lot of people who make up their minds at the last minute.”

The Buffalo Chip has RV sites and primitive camping sites available. Cabins there are fully booked. The Buffalo Chip also rents campers and if it runs out will work with a camper company to bring in more from out of state. The Buffalo Chip also has added a new garage and will have mechanics on site to help visitors whose motorcycles break down.

“We always have room for another million,” Woodruff said. “We’re conscious of COVID-19 so we’re changing the amphitheaters (for the concerts) to accommodate for COVID, but we still have room for people.”

Reservations have been increasing for the past couple of months, he said.

“South Dakota has fresh air, lots of space, beautiful roads, nice little mountains and wide open prairies” that visitors love, Woodruff said. “People are wanting to get back to living a normal life and we’re sitting pretty well out here. … It’s good to see people getting out and goofing off.”

Woodruff said he’ll encourage people to “goof off responsibly” and take precautions, but at the Buffalo Chip everyone’s going to focus on fun.

“We call it partying like it’s 1982. The folks that are worried about COVID-19 aren’t going to come. The people that are coming are coming to have a good time, see other people and socialize,” he said.