Motorcycles’ rumble could return to Snohomish this spring

SNOHOMISH — After almost of three years away, the Sky Valley Antique and Classic Motorcycle Show aims to return to this city.

Organizers have submitted an event permit application to hold the motorcycle show in historic downtown Snohomish on May 20. The decision to return was sparked by the city’s decision to contract for law enforcement with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Staffing costs for police services for the event a few years ago led to it being canceled.

“We are hoping to save at least $10,000,” said Brad Watson, bike show committee chairman.

Watson is part of the nonprofit Sky Valley chapter of the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, which had hosted the event in Snohomish beginning in 1997.

The group has budgeted $8,000 for police costs, less than a third of what the Snohomish Police Department charged three years ago.

It is not uncommon for deputies to handle security on these kinds of events. Actual police costs would depend on the number of deputies needed, Snohomish County sheriff’s bureau chief Kevin Prentiss said. This number is determined by the type of event and number of people attending. The application has yet to reach the Sheriff’s Department.

ABATE also has a sentimental reason for bringing the show back to Snohomish. It would be a way to honor Thomas “Buck” Kelley, the event’s founder, who died July 31.

“This is where it all started,” Watson said.

The free event would feature live music, display different kinds of motorcycles and involve all city businesses, Watson said. The group aims to draw between 5,000 and 7,000 people to the city’s historic downtown. In the past, it has drawn as many as 20,000 people.

The event was held in Snohomish until 2009 when a disagreement over police costs prompted the group to look elsewhere. The annual event was then held in Sultan one year and in Everett the next.

This year, ABATE cancelled the Everett event because it could not get enough sponsors to cover the costs.

Watson said he plans to talk with the city of Snohomish and the Sheriff’s Office after Jan. 1.

Police services is one of the details the city and the group need to discuss, Snohomish City Manager Larry Bauman said.

“A number of businesses feel it’s an important event,” Bauman said. “We are facilitating its return.”

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;

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