Honestly, that’s not saying much in 2011. Low turnout at Daytona was the first indication of how tough things had become. Every show I’ve worked this year, even the International shows, were way, way, down both on vendor presence and attendance. Still, nearly 2000 motorcycle riders came from throughout the Smoky Mountains to enjoy the http://AshevilleBikefest.com.
Few traveled far for the event. With the weatherman all hysterical about severe storms, hail, high winds, and a box full of nothing but green crayons to color his TV maps, I’m sure many were put off by the rumored deluge that never came. At times we could see it on the horizon, but it never impacted the show. Mother nature kindly blessed the factory demo fleets from Yahama, Star, KTM, Can-Am Spyder, and Motor Trike with dry roads for the many riders who came to sample the latest offerings from the industry after she cursed Boss-Hoss by flooding the factory only days earlier forcing them to pull out of the event.
All the guided rides and the Poker Runs by the Grassroots Cafe went off well, though only a handful of people took advantage of the opportunities to ride free with professionals who usually charge some serious coin for the service. The 100 mile adventure ride sponsored by KTM had those riders totally satisfied and with tales to tell. Greg from Sportsbikes4hire.com took a small group out to the Dragon for some fun. BlindKenny.com got a few nice road shots of riders nearby.
Half the vendors pulled out before the show. Some others picked up and left before things peaked on Saturday. The remainder seemed to have what people were looking for and had a pretty good event. Personally, it was the best motorcycle event of the year for my business, http://AmericaRidesMaps.com. I was amazed at how many attendees already had my maps, knew of them, or came to see the latest offerings. I had 20 free maps of great motorcycle rides close to the event and gave away a couple thousand of them. On Thursday and Friday I gave away hundreds of my $5 maps at no charge, all you wanted, help yourself. I saw people walk off with stacks of them. It was fun.
The stunt show by the Anti-team was outstanding, as usual. The local music was good, at times great. I liked the food from the vendors.
It wasn’t a huge show. Only 1/3 as many people attended as last year. There were far fewer vendors. Those who came seemed to come with a purpose, to either get together and ride, or test ride a brand new motorcycle. I’m sure some left disappointed, others got exactly what they were looking for. Everyone got at least $5 worth of something (the low entrance fee) and usually a lot more.
Times are hard, but what the show did, it did well. Next year is already booked at the Agriculture Center south of Asheville. As Route Master I’ve got a few new ideas. I’ll be asking you for more. Thank you, Mark and Yvonne Cresswell from Worldwide Dynamics for putting on another well run show. They’re off to Laconia, then Sturgis, to wrap up the year for their events.
I remember when I first met Mark, he told me (I’m paraphrasing), “You can’t force an event. It has a natural growth. It takes time. Each has it’s own character, and I want this event to be all about RIDING in the mountains, respecting and reflecting the values and mountain heritage that are the heart of this region and sharing that with riders who already love this area and those yet to find it”.
Mark’s kept to his plan. He’s selective with the vendors to steer the show in a certain way, pruning some branches, nourishing others. This is his home turf, he lives here in Black Mountain.
We’ve made it through the “terrible two’s” Mark, and you know what they say, “Three times a charm”. We’re already setting things in motion for 2012 and the Third Annual Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run – 2012.
There. I’m first to say it. Get involved. I”ll see you at the Third Annual Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run – 2012. next May.