Bikes, bikes and more bikes. That is a fact stated by those riders that attended the 2011 inaugural Sturgis North event and this year, event organizer Ray Sasseville expects numbers to grow and the event to be even better.
Ticket sales can now begin now that the biggest secret about the 2012 event is out of the bag. The event is moving to the North Okanagan to the MotoPlex Speedway three kilometers east of Vernon.
“We learned from the first event,” says Ray Sasseville in a telephone interview. “The property we had was beautiful but it was basically 40 acres of raw dirt with no infrastructure.”
It is true that the event took a loss its first year and that there are some unpaid bills in Salmon Arm but Sasseville acknowledges the issues and plans to make good with anticipated profits from 2012.
“We were left with two choices,” says Sasseville, “do nothing or do something. The difference between profit and loss was based on infrastructure. The only way we can pay back our debts from 2011 is to have another show.”
The Speedway in Vernon will cut costs of hosting the event dramatically. It doesn’t take a financial wizard to realize the benefits of the move. By moving to a facility already equipped for crowds, expenses like fencing, portable toilets, water etc are virtually eliminated. The change will also amalgamate weekend festival events to one property thereby reducing the costs of security as well.
“This new location actually gives us as much space as the initial two locations combined,” says Sasseville. “We can now have everybody there stay and enjoy themselves without travelling.”
Another planned change is the trade show portion that opens its doors to the general public as well as weekend pass ticket holders. Wristband purchasers will have access to all events at all times but the general public can purchase entrance to the trade show portion for the day. At approximately 5 p.m. the trade show will close to the public and only allow weekend wristband access.
“This is better for the vendors,” says Sasseville. “It also allows riders from all over the Province to take in a part of the event if they can’t come for the whole weekend.”
The weekend consists of non-stop motorcycle activities that include daily rides, Show ‘n Shines, the trade show, and live music throughout the day continuing through the evening. Day rides are planned along the same lines as last year and will have highways in the interior of British Columbia full of motorcycles.
The Friday Veterans ride to the annual burn out competition in Sicamous is still on the agenda. Last year’s Friday ride saw between 5 and 8,000 bikes on the highway at any given time.
“I really enjoyed the burnout competition in Sicamous,” said attendee Bob Smith. “There were bikes lined up everywhere and gave it that real Sturgis (N.D.) feel. By Friday night, there must have been about 12 – 15,000 people at the event,” said Smith. “Saturday, in Salmon Arm, I would say there were about 15 – 20,000 bikes travelling about town. Every gas station had at least 30 bikes in line.”
The Saturday ride to Ashcroft will also return with riders taking in the CMRDA Nitro Circuis drag racing event.
The biggest question Sasseville has been asked about the event surrounds security.
“The security will be pretty well the same as last year. Security and safety is at the top of our list,” says Sasseville. “We actually had some complaints last year about too much security.”
During a radio interview recently, Sasseville was asked about the presence of the Hells Angels booths at the trade show.
“People can say what they want. They are a vendor that comes in to the event. At these events, they are probably the last people to cause problems,” says Sasseville. “They are part of the motorcycle community and we are not going to be segregating anyone.”
There is something for everyone at the event. The entertainment lineup is building and the list of musicians grows each day. Confirmed so far are The Guess Who, Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd, The Stampeders and the Edgar Winter Band.
Stunt riders are currently jockeying for a spot on the entertainment roster and while Sasseville has yet to decide on which specific stunt athletes will fill the bill, he is certain that there will stunt performances.
Local artisans will be on hand as well as the popular airbrush artists who use the human body as their canvas and were the talk of the 2011 event by painting clothing on the bodies of both men and women so realistic that it is difficult to tell from a distance who was actually wearing cloth and who is painted.
The event kicks off Wednesday, July 18 and continues through to Sunday, July 22, 2012. For further information, visit www.sturgisnorth.com.