Displaced motorcycle show moves to Sultan

SNOHOMISH — It appears there will be a classic motorcycle show this year, just not in Snohomish.

The organizers of The Old Snohomish Antique and Classic Motorcycle Show plan a pared-down version for July 12 in nearby Sultan.

For 12 years, the motorcycle show has been a popular fixture in downtown Snohomish. This year, the show’s organizers wrangled with police and the city over how much to pay for police services.

The organizers decided to cancel this year’s show in Snohomish.

Only the judged portion of the show will be held on the third day of Shindig, Sultan’s annual street fair, said Debbie Copple, director of the Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“This gives us a chance to test drive how the motorcycle culture fits in with Sultan,” she said. “It’s a win-win situation as far as we are concerned.”

At the heart of the Shindig is a logging contest. It also features live music, vendors and a car show in Sultan’s downtown. The car show lasts two days. The motorcycle show can fill that spot on the third day, Copple said.

There might be a pothole further down the road.

The issue that caused show organizers to leave Snohomish still remains in Sultan: How much security does the event need and who should pay for it?

The Sky Valley Chapter of the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education paid $5,000 for police services in Snohomish in the past. This year, Snohomish police said they needed to charge up to $30,000.

Many of the police agencies who used to donate their services can’t any longer because of the poor economy and budget cuts. The city was forced to pass the cost on to show organizers. When ABATE suggested fewer officers, Snohomish Police Chief John Turner said he didn’t want to skimp on security for an event that draws members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The Sky Valley Chamber expects the show to draw fewer than the 22,000 people who attended in Snohomish last year, Copple said. No additional police should be needed, she said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Brand, Sultan’s police chief, said it’s too early to discuss the number of police needed for the show.

“We do expect to make sure we have the proper staffing,” he said.

Brand’s boss, Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick, in March publicly supported Turner’s decision to require at least two officers for every 1,000 people expected at the show.

The reason the show has gone off without violence in the past is because of police presence, Lovick told the Snohomish City Council.

ABATE decided to cancel the show in Snohomish, which had been scheduled for May 17.

In 2010 the group wants to put on a bigger show, including numerous vendors, said Rod Hobelman, an organizer.

The group still is negotiating ideas with city leaders in Snohomish, Everett and Sultan, he said.

The city of Snohomish is preparing for the show’s possible return. Turner said he plans to meet with Seattle police to discuss how they work with private security firms at large special events.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197, dsmith@heraldnet.com.

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