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The Sands Hotel (Orange) From Silver Legacy

Previously I blogged about how Street Vibrations 2010 turned into Street Frustrations 2010 HERE.

Sure, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that can go wrong with any major event the size of Street Vibrations and after months and months of hard work the folks running this event know if they just pulled off another stunning performance or if it’s all over in minutes after it starts.  Unfortunately it was over before it started…

I wrote a letter to both Reno’s Mayor Bob Cashell and to Randy Burke of Road Shows Inc., who is the event producer.  I want to thank them both for a quick response and am sharing the information I received:

Reno Mayor – Bob Cashell via Marcia Morse

Mayor Cashell asked me to thank you for your comments and let you know it was not the City of Reno that changed the format for Street Vibrations.

It was the promoter, Randy Burke with Roadshows.  His contact information is: http://www.road-shows.com/contact.php . The City of Reno will be meeting with him soon to discuss this situation and get back to the regular format for next year.

We are sorry that this has happened to a wonderful event and promise to make next year a better year.

Marcia

Marcia Morse
Administrative Secretary to
Mayor Robert Cashell
P.O. Box 1900
Reno, NV  89505
775-334-2001
775-334-2097 Fax
morsem@reno.gov

Randy Burke – Road Shows Inc.

Thank you for your input about Street Vibrations Fall Rally 2010.

The City of Reno provided us with our downtown Reno layout in January 2010. After five revisions, we agreed to their plan. We had heard from our bikers that they wanted bikes, not vendors, on Virginia Street. We were wrong, shame on us.

We will meet with the mayor of Reno next week to discuss bringing vendors back Virginia Street for 2011.

Best Regards,

Randy Burke
Roadshows, Inc.
admin@roadshowsreno.com
775-329-7469

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Street Vibrations 2010 - Thin crowds at the split event!

Formally known as Street Vibrations…

As thousands of motorcycles descended into Reno, NV for the annual Street Vibrations motorcycle rally they were met with what will be surely known as the motorcycle rally debacle of 2010!

Our posse arrived on Thursday (23rd) afternoon.  Checked in to the hotel and walked out on to the street to take in some of the action.

WAIT.  Where are the vendor booths?  Why are cars traveling on so many of the side streets?  Where is every one?  Why are people standing around doing NOTHING on Virginia Street?  We walked three blocks and someone remarked how we’ve yet to see any law enforcement patrols?  WTF?

Sparks Victorian Square - Thin crowds at the split event.

Street Vibrations is the fourth largest motorcycle rally in the country, but you wouldn’t have known that by observing the thin crowds on Virginia Street.  Crowds that mostly wandered around wondering what to do.  It turns out that the information released earlier about vendors being expanded into Sparks really meant — ALL of the vendors were moved to the Sparks Victorian Square this year.  Only the convention center contained vendor booths.  With the exception of a handful of food vendors and a couple official t-shirt booths ALL OTHERS where moved to Sparks.

On Friday we headed to Sparks to check out the vendor booths in Victorian Square.  The traffic control folks were sending everyone into a dead-end parking area.  There were 25-30 bikes at a time getting jammed up with little room to maneuver or turn around creating a blockage that overflowed onto the street.  Dumb.  We finally got parked and walked around.  The feel of the area was nice, clean and open, but the crowds were thin.  Sure you could drink, but are you going to when you’ve got to get back on the motorcycle and ride to your hotel?  Not likely.  Whose idea was it to promote drinking and driving?  Where were the shuttle buses?  Dumb.  And while it’s true they expanded a number of vendors, I don’t know about you… I didn’t go to a motorcycle event to look at scented candles!   The Simms, Kuryakyn, Performance Machines, Mustang Seats and Metzler booths were well attended, but most others were fairly spotty.

Street Vibrations 2010 Event Map -- Split event booths at Sparks/Reno

I met/talked with several vendors in both locations as well as some attendees to get their reactions.  NONE liked the set up.  Not one!  I ask casino employees/pit bosses and they all balked at the setup.  The local Reno H-D dealer attendance was much lower than previous years.  People had front row parking available in the dealer parking lot.  Unheard of in previous years.  H-D employees had NOTHING good to say about the new arrangement.

I received a mixed bag of finger pointing.  The first reason was about how the Reno Police were greedy in what they wanted to charge for crowd control.  The cost couldn’t be passed on to the vendors so, the events producer decided to move it to a lower cost area (i.e. Sparks).  Then we heard that the event had become too big.  We heard that the city council was trying to “Get Back The Streets”… meaning that the days of blocking off streets from residents and creating traffic jams for locals were over.  We also heard that there wasn’t enough parking for motorcycles and then I heard that it was the bikers fault because they wanted to park/drive on Virginia Street… blah, blah, blah.  It seemed like reason de jour.

I’m somewhat convinced it was about $$.  At the end of the day it always seems to be about $$.  Whether it’s law enforcement costs, city liability, promoter margins or [make your excuse here]… it typically comes down to someone not getting enough $$ or someone paying too much $$.

MEMO TO: Randy Burke (Events Producer (Road Shows)) and Bob Cashell (Reno Mayor) – WORK it out.  The split event sucks!  Street Vibrations started on the street and should stay on the street.  It’s just that simple.  Don’t correct this debacle and I predict a fast decline and the end of Street Vibrations.

If you attended and have an opinion (good or bad) then please send an email or contact Mr. Burke HERE or Mr. Cashell HERE and let them know what you thought of this years rally.

Photo’s taken at the event.

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You could define a good day when everything goes your way, when nothing can take you out of your motorcycle riding rhythm.  No work and stress or minor irritations are brushed aside because of the euphoric emotions flowing with the wind in your face.

That was the vibe heading into the 2010 Good Vibrations in Salem/Keizer this past weekend.  It had the perfect concoction for a motorcycle rally – deep blue clear skies, mid-70 degree weather, and a solid line up of vendor booths along with some good music mixes.  Arguably the chamber-of-commerce would view it as a successful inaugural motorcycle rally – independent of key indicators – as the city rolled out the red-carpet with the goal of helping the mid-valley economy with tourism dollars.  Our group did a 4-hour drive-by on Saturday as we rolled down and explored the asphalt ribbons of Hwy 219 through the farming valley.  The dust has now settled and the rumble of bikes is all but a memory of the rally so it’s time for some feedback.

1.    Marketing:  Do more advertising, and do it earlier.   Leverage low-cost word of mouth motorcycle clubs disti lists, social media etc., to get the word out.  Even with a blog post, and all the talk about an Oregon motorcycle rally with friends, relatives and business associates the attendance wasn’t contagious.  We arrived at the registration hotel (Keizer Renaissance Inn) along with about 4 other motorcycles to have the receptionist tell us that the event was “SPREAD OUT” all across town and we were not at the ‘hub’ of the event.

2.    Maps: Provide one!  Provide an event map on the web site.  Provide an event map on the pocket flyer.  Make .PDF maps available for e-distribution.  Train the hotel employees on how to answer ‘visitors’ question about what is going on.  Admittedly I’m unfamiliar with the inner Salem/Keizer streets and finding some parts of the rally venue was like an exercise in trying to escape the legislature tax hikes.  It was near impossible.  We looped the bridges on Hwy 22/99E/221 so many times it felt like movie Ground Hog day!

3.    Balanced Police Presence: local police were everywhere (biking, walking, Segways) and the ever visible patrol cars on side roads made the event lose some of the ‘festival’ vibe. If they would have been enforcing the anti-littering laws against all smokers throwing their butts everywhere they’d rake in thousands vs. needing comprehensive street patrols and zero-based-tolerance of straight pipes modified exhausts.

4.    Wine Tour: Do more to dispel the negative perception that motorcyclists are wildly racing through farm country on winery tours – “just sipping”, of course – to the next watering hole.  I received a number of emails and comments that it’s no wonder people don’t take motorcyclists serious if they don’t operate sober and safe.  Need to change the overall messaging.

The impact of tourism in Oregon is powerful.  According to Travel Salem, in Marion and Polk counties tourism employs more than 5,600 people having an estimated economic impact in 2009 of $452M.  While I don’t agree with how everything was implemented at this year’s rally I do want to provide a major shout out to Randy Burke and Road Shows Inc., team for all their hard work in bringing what hopefully is an annual motorcycle event to the state.

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With the prospect of thousands of motorcyclists visiting Oregon roads this coming weekend could it be one of the deadliest?

I hope not, but on July 15 – 18th two major motorcycle rallies take place in Oregon.  The first is the BWM International Rally in Redmond, OR.  It’s been 9 years since the BMW National Rally has been held in the state and area businesses are rolling out the welcome mat.  There is the Redmond 1000 long distance ride (1000 miles in 24 hours) for motorcyclists along with more than 100 vendors who have set up shop on the rally grounds.  In addition, Redmond is the starting point of the 2010 Rally Coast-to-Coast.

BMW National Rally -- Redmond, OR

On the same dates is the Good Vibrations Rally in Salem/Keizer.   Rally activities are happening at Salem Harley-Davidson, Oregon State Fairgrounds, Spirit Mountain Casino, and the cities of Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, and McMinnville.  The Good Vibration event is produced by Randy Burke, President of Road Shows Inc., and is modeled after his very popular Street Vibrations Rally held every year in Reno, NV.  The Oregon rally has the added value of wine tastings at Willamette Valley Vineyards and Orchard Heights Winery.

Northwest Motorcycle Rides

Both rallies bring desperately needed tourist dollars into the state, while providing riders with some fantastic summer weather, Northwest scenery, winding roads and top tier entertainment.  But why has Oregon State Police (OSP) yet to acknowledge the existent of the rallies in their media press release process?  And is ODOT so heads down on pothole repair to plan a state-wide advisory to “WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLES ON THE ROAD” campaign using the variable message signs around the state?

In the last 4 weeks we’ve seen 4 motorcycle related deaths and 2 riders seriously injured on Oregon roads:

1.    On July 10, 2010, a Harley Davidson motorcycle operated by WILLIAM ROY ANDERSON, age 60, from Aloha, was northbound on Highway 97 near milepost 17 when it failed to negotiate a curve and struck a guardrail.  ANDERSON was ejected from the motorcycle onto the highway and then run over by two commercial trucks traveling in opposite directions whose drivers were unable to avoid him.  ANDERSON was pronounced deceased at the scene.

2.    On July 8, 2010, a Harley Davidson motorcycle operated by JAMES C. HEADRICK, age 56, from Dallas, Oregon was northbound on Interstate 205 near milepost 10 when it came upon slowing traffic.  The motorcycle crashed into the back of a stopped 1998 Honda Civic driven by WALID M. SALLOUT, age 28, from southeast Portland, in the left northbound lane.  The motorcycle’s passenger, MELVA HEADRICK, age 61, from Dallas, was ejected off the motorcycle, over the concrete center barrier and landed in the left southbound lane.  No reported deaths from this accident.

3.    On June 26, 2010, a 2003 Harley Davidson operated by RAYMOND SCOTT McMAHON, age 49, from Bandon, was westbound on Highway 42 near milepost 26 followed by his brother on another motorcycle.  McMAHON entered a curve too fast, traveled off the highway into a ditch and then was ejected from the motorcycle as it went airborne.  McMAHON came to rest on the highway and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

4.    On June 17, 2010, JEFFERY DEAN RANDALL, age 39, from Klamath Falls, was operating a 1990 Kawasaki motorcycle eastbound on Highway 140E near milepost 29.  As RANDALL was negotiating a left curve the motorcycle travelled on to the gravel shoulder where he lost control.  The motorcycle crashed into a rock, ejecting RANDALL.  RANDALL was pronounced deceased at the scene.

5.    On June 11, 2010, a 2007 Honda Goldwing three-wheel converted motorcycle operated by DYRL ARNOLD SPENCER, age 64, was southbound on a straight stretch of Highway 395 near milepost 129 when it traveled partially off onto the right gravel shoulder.  SPENCER tried to bring the motorcycle back onto the highway but lost control, crossing both lanes and going off the opposite shoulder where it crashed into a tree about 30 feet off the highway.  SPENCER was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The state generated these stats in one of the wettest early summer riding seasons in 10+ years.  It’s only 3 days until we see a major influx of riders…

Please be careful out there!

UPDATE: July 12, 2010 — I received a response from the Governor’s Advisory Committee on motorcycle safety (Michele O’Leary) which stated there are no plans for the State Traffic Engineer to change the “NO” response on variable message sign use.  Good grief!  I’m starting to wonder if a rally the size of Sturgis would even convince the Oregon State Traffic Engineer to use the signs?!  However, there is more being done about safety awareness:

  1. Billboards are out on Hwy 97 and I-5 at Keizer for motorist awareness.  Radio spots are currently running, bus transits have ads and print ads are running.
  2. They just printed a new motorcycle map that is being made available at both rallies. The map is full of safety messages along with some awesome riding routes,. They also have some other safety information from the advisory committee.
  3. The Chair of the Governor’s Committee (David Peterson) will be at the BMW rally evangelizing safety.
  4. There is work in process on a communication/press release for the motoring public to be aware of what’s going on.

Michele notes: “We’ve been losing a lot of motorcyclists involved in group rides this year so please spread the word and encourage everyone to ride sober. Our concern with the Good Vibrations Rally in Salem/Keizer is the wine-tasting activity they’re doing and what safeguards they will have in place.”

Update: July 19, 2010 — A early scan of the motor vehicle accident reports suggest that this past rally filled weekend was relatively safe for motorcyclists.  The exception being where OSP was dispatched to an accident involving two motorcycles on Highway 20 near milepost 14. The incident was the result of a bucket which blew out from the back of a pickup onto the roadway.  A 2001 BMW K1200LT motorcycle, operated by BENJAMIN JONSSON, and passenger CARA JONSSON, both age 54, from Spruce Grove, Alberta Canada was westbound on Highway 20 near milepost 14 when they came upon the bucket. BENJAMIN JONSSON was able to successfully swerve and miss the bucket.
However, a 2003 BMW R1150T motorcycle, operated by FREDERICK HERZOFF, age 61, and passenger  as ANNETTE HERZOFF both from Paradise City, California were also westbound traveling some distance behind JONSSON’S motorcycle.  FREDERICK HERZOFF attempted to swerve around the bucket and in doing so crashed into the back of JONSSON’S motorcycle. JONSSON and HERZOFF were not traveling together.
All four riders were transported by ambulance to Saint Charles Hospital in Bend. BENJAMIN and CARA JONSSON sustained minor injuries. FREDERICK HERZOFF sustained serious injuries and ANNETTE HERZOFF critical injuries. All four riders were wearing helmets.

Accident information/photo courtesy of OSP.

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According to news outlets, the animal rights activists group who earlier this year declared “War on Leather” will not be attending the first annual Good Vibrations Motorcycle Rally in Salem/Keizer.

That’s a good thing because the motorcycle rally which happens this coming weekend (July 16 – 18th) in the Salem/Keizer area is expecting hundreds of motorcyclists… some of which will be wearing leather in the form of… shoes, chaps, jackets, coats, gloves, hats and belts!

I blogged previously about this rally back in February HERE.  The rally activities are happening at Salem Harley-Davidson, Oregon State Fairgrounds, Spirit Mountain Casino, and the cities of Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, and McMinnville.  The Good Vibration event is produced by Randy Burke, President of Road Shows Inc., and is modeled after his most popular Street Vibrations Rally held in Reno, NV.  The Oregon rally has the added value of wine tastings at Willamette Valley Vineyards and Orchard Heights Winery along with the fantastic Northwest scenery and winding roads.

Hopefully you get the opportunity to participate in the first annual rally. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Christian Motorcycle Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Association.  Registered participants will receive an official event t-shirt, hog tags and ride pin.  They will also be able to participate in poker runs, get free admission to VIP parties, two ride-in shows, a parade, and live entertainment.  Check out the schedule of events here!

See you there!

Photo courtesy of Road Shows Inc.

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Keyser Söze is the fictional character in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects.

It’s a great movie and in pop culture slang Keyser Söze is a shorthand reference to being fooled by the actual villain into believing in a villain that doesn’t exit.  That’s how the “Does anyone else feel they’ve been Keyser Sözed?” or the “Keyser Sözed Syndrome” was born.

We’ve seen several motorcycle rallies get Keyser Sözed over the past year.  Typically the villain is the gloomy economy in cities which can’t support a motorcycle rally cost, but a contributing factor has been the perception issue of ‘biker clubs’ (villain that doesn’t exit) and concerns for additional peace officers to secure the event and their costs.  Peace officer expenses have been named as one of the top expense issues for motorcycle rallies across the U.S.

None of this is stopping Randy Burke, President of Road Shows Inc. (Street Vibrations fame) from working on a motorcycle rally in Salem/Keizer, OR at full throttle.  Keizer city council has yet to make any commitment to the July 16-18 event beyond voting to try and secure some funding.

Will Oregon get Good Vibrations or suffer the Keyser Sözed Syndrome?   Who knows.

But, Sherrie Gottfried, sales manager at the Keizer Renaissance Inn is hoping for good vibes.  She made a pitch to the city council last month vying to have Keizer be the “hub” of the event.  This is the first year for this event which was already scheduled in Salem (although little info exits about the event there) and it now looks like Keizer wants to draft behind the 3-day event.  The Good Vibrations rally will likely have bike competitions, bike shows, entertainment, concerts, poker runs, wine country tours and is expected to attract thousands to the area.

Who is Randy Burke (aka Roadshows Inc.)?  I’ve provided shouts out in the past HERE for his efforts to make Street Vibrations a success.  His company, Roadshows Inc. is a private company categorized under Entertainment Promotion and located in Reno, NV. Online records indicate it was established in the ‘90’s and incorporated in Nevada. Current estimates indicate the company has an annual revenue of $500,000 to $1 million and they employ a staff of approximately 5 to 9.  They are also a fully licensed entertainment booking agency, licensed private event security and event management company.  In addition to Street Vibrations, they produce events in Palm Springs, Lake Havasu, Mammoth Lakes, Myrtle Beach, SC and Milwaukee.  With more than 17 years in the event business they know how to make motorcycle rally magic!

I think this is a unique opportunity for a bike event in Oregon which can grow and is a perfect complement to the northwest activities already underway.  It’s time for a major motorcycle rally in the state!

Full Disclosure:  I’m not affiliated or do business with Roadshows Inc.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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US342Street Vibrations is a 4-day event that brings two-wheel enthusiasts from all parts of the country to show-off customs, parade the vendor booths and enjoy the entertainment.  Oh did I mention the local rides?  Yes, there are plenty from Virginia City to Lake Tahoe as well as the various poker runs.

The weather (mid-90’s) really made for a positive experience this year.  Our entourage spent time riding out the Virginia City loop, but mostly we stayed in downtown to mingle with the crowds, talk motorcycles with riders and vendors and take in all that the casinos had to offer up in terms of entertainment.  The vendor booths were busy with crowds most all day long.  Of course there was the monster jump at the Grand Sierra Resort by Ryan Capes who broke the (ramp-to-ramp) record on a motorcycle.

Left Of Center

Left Of Center

And there were lots of bands with some top tier talent, but I enjoyed the non-headliners more. There was Saddle Tramps on the Jagermeister Super Stage and most notable was Left of Center who played the Brew Brothers pub at Silver Legacy on back to back nights.  Our group also caught a comedy club act in the Catch A Rising Star lounge which made the $15 per ticket expense seem like a bargain after all the craps table losses!

The motorcycle festival didn’t pass without incidents, however.  There were several motorcycle accidents including one fatality which I posted previously HERE.  In fact, on our ride back from Virginia City we came upon a motorcyclist who lost control and struck a wall on Griner’s Bend, a sharp curve at the south side of Virginia City on State Route 342.  In addition, Police reported there were 72 arrests made at Street Vibrations even though it was considered one of the more peaceful events! Most of the arrests were alcohol related, including 23 for public intoxication.  The police also issued 77 traffic citations and responded to six reports of stolen motorcycles.  It was a busy weekend for LEO, but what I most appreciated was the lack of SWAT teams armed with semi-automatic rifles marching in Virginia City and other areas.

tat_SSBack to the rally.  I missed the roller derby battle between the Rose City Rollers and the Battle Born Derby Demons, but you have to make a call since you can’t take it all in!  The sponsors brought back the firework display which had disappointed many last year when it was cancelled.  And then there was the tattoo expo which put body art on display and inspired one of the posse to get inked.  A big shout out to Randy Burke, owner of Road Shows who puts on Street Vibrations because it was a great event and the rally was kept fresh with some new activities.

Posse Dinner

Posse Dinner

On Sunday morning we were up early because it was all about miles and putting on as many of the 546 miles we needed to do before the heat baked the day.  From Susanville we took CA-44 through Lassen National Forest.  We headed up toward Old Station and then took CA-89 toward the town of Mount Shasta.  I like riding this route. The road is good and traffic is moving fast for a two-lane road.   It has a varied and interesting scenery.  About 60 miles south of Mount Shasta there was a forest fire in early August that raged through the area.  I believe it was the Hat Creek Complex.  More photos HERE.   We didn’t know it at the time, but there was another forest fire filling the air with smoke.  A thin layer at first, but it increased through-out the day.  It was from the Boze fire, an 11,000-acre fire near Tiller, OR and with the southerly trade winds blowing it meant we rode in it nearly all day long!

I-5_SunsetWe entered the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, rolled onto I-5 and pressed on through beautiful scenery.  Arriving at the Oregon border we crossed the 4300 foot mark at the Siskiyou Summit which is the highest point on I-5.  We then dropped down in the Rogue River valley through Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.  Occasionally, I’d catch a whiff of toasted brake lingering in the air, proof that not everyone enjoyed the ride as much as we were!  We traversed the three passes of the Umpqua Valley and after Roseburg it was back to rolling hills.  We continued to deal with forest fire smoke.  There was a small mechanical delay which baling wire fixed in short order with a shift linkage, but otherwise we were all about miles and stops were limited to fast food and fuel.  It took just under 12 hours to make the trip home.

It was a good and safe Street Vibrations trip!

Road Trippn’ to Street Vibrations 2009 — Part 1 HERE; Part 2 HERE.

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