Rally organizer eases off throttle | PostIndependent.com

Rally organizer eases off throttle

Plans for a Harley-Davidson rally in Glenwood Springs have been downsized because of negative public attitudes toward bikers, partially stemming from recent violence at a rally in Laughlin, Nev., the event’s organizer said.

Most of the happenings included in the first-ever Harley-Davidson Roaring Fork Independence Rally, set for July 4-6, such as the poker run and rides touring several destinations across the Western Slope, are still on.

But new Aspen Valley Harley Davidson general manager Bob Snyder said the Glenwood Springs Community Center will not be used for any rally events.

Gatherings for the rally will instead be held in the parking lot of the motorcycle dealership on South Grand Avenue.

“It’s just public opinion,” Snyder said Friday. “Public opinion is that they’re out of control. They see on CNN that they had to shut down the whole town in Laughlin.”

Also, the Molly Hatchet concert planned for Two Rivers Park was cancelled.

“We only had 50 tickets sold,” Snyder said, explaining he was concerned about not selling enough tickets to break even.

Snyder said he still figures about 600 riders will show up. Earlier it was expected that the rally would attract 800 riders.

Snyder made the announcement at Thursday’s Glenwood Springs City Council meeting, immediately after Councilman Rick Davis called for the council to revisit the use of the Community Center and Two Rivers Park for the rally.

“I think we really need to look at that long, hard and strong,” Davis said.

Assistant city attorney Karl Hanlon suggested making it an agenda item at a future meeting, but that was unnecessary after Snyder shared the new plan.

“The plan has been to really scale back the project,” Snyder said at Thursday’s City Council meeting.

He also announced that as part of the rally, there will be a free concert at Aspen Highlands Village featuring Bobby Mason and Smokin’ Joe Kelly.

Councilman Dave Merritt said City Council did not prompt scaling back the biker rally.

“That was the first we heard of it,” Merritt said.

As far as growing concerns about gang violence related to such motorcycle rallies, Merritt, who rides a motorcycle himself, said some citizens have expressed apprehension.

“We had some concerns and phone calls,” he said. “We were concerned about that not from the context of the organizers, but if certain groups decided to take a ride up to Glenwood Springs.”

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