Sturgis North burnout a boon to downtown businesses

Looking forward to next year: Hotel rooms already being booked for 2012 motorcycle rally.

A professional with the Canadian Motorcycle Drag Racing Association burns rubber for the Sturgis North burnout competition Friday in downtown Sicamous. Sicamous’ Main Street was packed with motorcycles

A happy face drawn in burned rubber on Sicamous’ Main Street reflects the mark Sturgis North has left on the community.

There was an overwhelmingly positive vibe downtown on Friday afternoon when hundreds of bikes and riders from the Salmon Arm-based motorcycle rally packed Main Street for Sturgis’ burnout competition. Bikers, residents and other visitors walked up and down the block, admiring the bikes, taking in the motorcycle stunts, and spending money at vendors and local businesses.

“We did well, our staff worked really hard, I’d like to commend them,” said Brothers Pub owner Richard Chmilar, who said he only heard positive remarks during the event. Chmilar says he was particularly impressed with how well everything was cleaned up Saturday morning.

“It was as if nothing had happened,” says Chmilar, adding he expects the event will continue to pay dividends.

“I think a lot of people came to down, probably have never been here before, saw how friendly were are, had a good time, so I’m sure they’ll be back. I hope they will be,” says Chmilar.

Sicamous Best Western owner Tim Corless says that some of the riders who stayed at the hotel have already booked rooms for next year, anticipating Sturgis’ return.

Corless says the hotel was booked throughout the five-day event, and while he was a little nervous at first, there were no challenges whatsoever.

“I know all out staff was very appreciative of having the business in town and the people that came in were really impressed with the town itself, and I think it was a good benefit for the community,” says Corless.

The Sicamous legion president Cyril Gosse says the legion was very successful with its beer garden.

“This sort of thing  gives us a healthy bank account and allows us to plan a few things that can grow on itself,” says Gosse, adding he’s heard many reports of how pleased riders were with the way they were treated in Sicamous, with the help and service they received. Gosse says he can see the Sicamous-leg of the Sturgis event growing, even doubling in number, but notes its success was owed to the community effort behind it.

“We’d have to be careful… It succeeded here because we ran it,” says Gosse. “If it became a major part of the Sturgis bike rally in Salmon Arm, then in all likelihood, they would want ot run it, and that would put a different spin on it all together.”

Sicamous Dollar or More owner Leanne Komaryk said the event was fantastic, not only for her business, but for all of Sicamous. Komaryk notes that she heard a number of visitors complement Sicamous for hosting the event.

“I had a few people tell me that they thought our event was great and that we had done a great job and welcomed them and that they were quite happy to come to Sicamous and they hope it will happen again,” said Komaryk.

Sicamous chamber president Corrinne Cross and manager Jamie Sherlock say they’ve only heard positive things from businesses about the event, including vendors – some of which have already agreed to return for the chamber’s Sandfest in August.

“They’re encouraging us to do a two-day event next year,” laughs Sherlock.

Cross says she spoke with the RCMP late Friday and was told everybody behaved properly and that they had no incidents at all. Security, however, could have been better. The chamber wound up having to bring in the fire department and Eagle Valley Search and Rescue to help with security. However, an incident on the bridge requiring their services leaving Cross, Mayor Malcolm MacLeod and one other volunteer to control the barricades.

“We weren’t fully aware of exactly what all was going to happen after the burnout, like with the stunt bikes and the nitro and all that,” says Cross. “Now that we’re aware, we can make sure we’ve got barricades and everything. Thankfully, everything went well.”

Regarding concern over the proximity of attendees to the burnout and stunt display, MacLeod said things would be done a bit differently next year with security. Apart from this, however, he is thrilled with how well the event went down and is hopeful Sturgis North will return to Sicamous.


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