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Motorcycle group says it can’t raise money to bring show to Everett

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EVERETT -- Downtown won't be filled with the rumble of thousands of motorcycles next month.
The organizers behind the popular Sky Valley Classic and Antique Motorcycle Show have canceled the event planned for May 15 in Everett.
That's a blow to downtown businesses, which won't see the dollars an expected 20,000 bikers would have brought to town.
The event is off because the group couldn't raise enough money and get enough sponsors to cover costs, Roger Hansen from the Sky Valley Chapter of ABATE told the Everett City Council on Wednesday night.
"We tried and tried," he said. "Last year at this time we had the full amount of funds. This year we aren't even a quarter of the way there. We can't do it."
ABATE is short for American Bikers Aimed Toward Education. The group does hope to have the show next year in Everett, Hansen said.
He told the council his group wanted to enlist sponsorship help from the downtown business community. He also asked the city to reconsider the bill police would charge.
This is the same popular show that drew as many as 22,000 riders from all over the region to Snohomish until 2009. Organizers canceled the show there after disagreeing with Snohomish police and city officials over how much they should pay for police services.
Last year the show's sponsors moved the event to Everett. By all accounts, it was a success. The city estimates about 18,000 people showed up.
"It's incredibly disappointing, that after having the tremendous support and record turn-out for the 2010 show in Everett, we were forced to either cancel this year's show, or chance not having the funds necessary to support the charitable work the chapter does throughout the entire year," the show's coordinator, Brad Watson, wrote on the group's website.
ABATE did receive "tremendous interest and inquiries" from riders who planned to enter their bikes, he said.
Hansen did mention the $12,500 cost of police services Everett charges as a factor. That's the same amount the group paid last year.
Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said the $12,500 would pay for 26 officers to staff the event -- about one officer per thousand people expected, plus supervisors.
The city uses a formula to determine how many officers are needed, but that amount can be adjusted based on the event's nature. That's what happened with the motorcycle show, said city spokeswoman Kate Reardon. The number of officers was adjusted up based on the experience of police in Snohomish and Anacortes, both of which have previously hosted large motorcycle shows.
Councilman Ron Gipson said the show's cancelation is a huge loss for local businesses. He wants to see the city work with the group to get the police bill lowered and get local businesses to help sponsor the event.
"That shows you what kind of economic times we're in," he said. "People are protecting their discretionary income."

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » EverettMotorcycle Riding

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