Ask anyone their impressions about last weekend’s motorcycle rally and chances are you’ll get varying opinions.
The inaugural Spring Mountains Run at Petrack Park came roaring into town on Friday.
The three-day event offered poker runs from around town all the way to scenic Death Valley.
Additional activities included live entertainment on the concert stage along with slow bike races, VIP parties, vendors and showgirls.
An estimated 200 bikers participated in the event.
Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said on Monday that all of the elements were present for a memorable and equitable town event except for one important factor – the bikers themselves.
“I hate to say this but I was a little disappointed,” she said. “It seemed like an extremely light turnout. I think the vendors were disappointed as well. From what I have heard, they didn’t do well at all.”
Holecheck admitted inaugural events are prone to less than expected results as she chalked it up to a learning experience.
“It was a first time event so I think we can all learn from it. If I recall, I think I counted maybe a hundred bikers at any one time at the park,” she said.
Local business owner Jan Jensen seemed to have a different opinion on the weekend rally.
Jensen, who owns the Maverick Saloon and Dance Hall on the north end of town, held a motorcycle-themed event that coincided with the Spring Mountains Run.
The business owner said a portion of the proceeds from the inaugural “Brothers of the Bikes” party will benefit Pahrump’s Oasis Outreach Center and Symphony Animal Foundation.
“These guys worked so hard and we had no problems. This was a wonderful event. Of course, we would have liked to have seen more visitors,” she said.
Jensen had a suggestion for event organizers and sponsors next year if the rally returns to town.
“In my opinion, if they could somehow do this in October when it wouldn’t be so hot, I think more people would attend. People love to ride and there’s die-hard bikers who will come and ride in the heat, but there’s a lot of them who won’t. I had professors coming in from California but it was just too hot for them. They watched the news and saw the weather was going to be 100-plus degrees, so they didn’t want to ride. If organizers could somehow schedule this during the cooler months, I think they would have a much better turnout,” Jensen said.
Local business owner Darryl Hill signed on to be a vendor at the rally.
Hill, an engineer and owner of DCI motors, developed a three-wheeled custom gas scooter designed for disabled veterans.
He said the rally was a great opportunity to show off his product, called the “V2.”
He also said he has high hopes that Pahrump’s first ever town sponsored motorcycle rally will become increasingly popular among motorcycle enthusiasts.
“I am hoping that one day in the future this will become another Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that South Dakota has every year. This was a really nice gathering and it’s something that this town needs. I’ve met people from all over and we really need the business from those who visit Pahrump for special events,” he said.
Last year, town officials entered into an agreement with Roadshows Inc. for the motorcycle rally.
The entertainment company is best known for Street Vibrations motorcycle rally regularly held in Reno, Sparks and Virginia City.
Promoter Randy Burke agreed that the weather and other factors played a role in the less than expected turnout.
“It was extremely warm, but we expected that. I was disappointed that before we started the weekend, we had some extremely bad press and I think it hurt the attendance. We did have about 84 people who walked up to participate in the VIP program. On Friday and Saturday, we had over 200 bikes at the venue at all times,” he said.
Burke said the bike run mostly attracted visitors from Las Vegas and California.
“About half of them were from the Pahrump area and we had about two dozen from Las Vegas. All the rest of them were from Southern California, where we have a big fan base and that was very pleasant for me to discover. I do think we need to do a better job of advertising in Las Vegas,” he said.
Pahrump Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said this week that all things being equal, the rally went quite well in his opinion.
He did not hesitate to mention that some people in town carried a very negative opinion about the event long before it came to town.
“There were a lot of individuals in town that thought bringing in a bike rally would cause a lot of fights and shootings and stabbings. I’m sorry but it just didn’t happen. It was very well done and like any town sponsored event, we have to sit down and look behind the scenes and determine how can we make it better for next year? I have heard no complaints about problems with any of the riders,” he said.
Dolan also said because the event was a community-wide motorcycle rally, people should not pass judgment merely on the attendance at Petrack Park.
“During the day, the bikers were all out on poker runs and participating in other scheduled activities. They were not all at the park because they were all riding around to the numerous other events taking place in town. It’s also important that people know the riders were very well behaved and from what I heard, everybody had a good time,” he said.
Burke noted if the rally were to return next year, he plans to make a few changes to make the event run more smoothly.
“Our initial thoughts were maybe staying a little bit later at night to about 10 p.m. when it’s cooler. We also thought about starting a little later in the daytime and creating more shade for the motorcyclists by using tents. I think this was a good learning process for the future,” Burke said.
Late last year, town board members approved funding the event at a sum not to exceed $38,700 for the exclusive rights to sponsor the 2014 Spring Mountains Run.
Holecheck said she agrees with Burke about possibly tweaking some parts of the event if it were to return to town in 2015.
“This was a huge investment. I think I’d want to have a lot more guarantees if we do this again. I also think that we would be better off doing it in April or May or even early fall,” she said.