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Harley dealers’ group drops Street Vibrations

Karl Horeis

For the first time in more than 10 years, the Northern California Harley-Davidson Dealership Association will not sponsor the Street Vibrations motorcycle rally, looking instead for a different event to back.

It shouldn’t make that big of a difference to Street Vibrations, however.

“When you go to Street Vibrations, you don’t see Northern California Harley-Davidson Dealership Association stuff everywhere, and that’s not going to change,” said Richard Tapia, president of Carson City Harley-Davidson.

He is a past president of the association, which includes the Carson City and Reno Harley-Davidson stores.

“We will not be the official sponsor but the dealers will be supporting it because it’s a major run for the entire sport,” Tapia said. “Anyway, it’s good for business.

“It generates income for our service and parts departments.”

The association started Street Vibrations about 12 years ago, according to group Vice President Joe Guidera, owner of Guidera Harley-Davidson in Yuba City, Calif. The event began as a fall run in Hawthorne and moved to Carson City when it got too large.

“Of course, we outgrew Carson so then we went up to Reno,” he said. At that point, the group hired Randy Burke of Roadshows Inc., an entertainment and event production company in Reno.

Now the event -scheduled for the end of September – has gotten so big they’ve decided to let Roadshows handle it alone.

Burke said he’s sorry to lose the sponsorship.

“You never want to lose anybody – we had some real, real strong ties with original Harley dealers, but they’re gone. They’ve sold their shops and moved on. This is a new breed of dealership owners that sort of inherited us, and it’s their right to do their own thing.”

Financially, he’s looking at the bright side.

“We paid them – they didn’t pay us,” he said. Roadshows paid the association royalties – a small percentage of the ticket sales – for the use of the Harley-Davidson name.

“We’re very expense-conscious and to see one big expense go off the budget – from a business person’s perspective, that’s a good thing,” Burke said.

He’s planning to go ahead with Street Vibrations without the association’s official backing.

In the meantime, the Northern California Harley-Davidson Dealership Association is looking at another event to support. One option is the Big Blue Run, a Lake Tahoe-centered run brought up by promoter Edwin T. Robinson.

“That’s one that has been brought to our attention but no final decision has been made on that,” said Carson’s Tapia. “Yes, we have been talking about it but no commitment has been given and no checks have been written.”

Guidera called the Tahoe run “purely conceptual.”

The Big Blue Run would not be easy to organize because of all the agencies involved, said Robinson, who organized the Thunder on the Mountain run in Virginia City.

“What we’re dealing with here is two states, five counties, two CHP’s, two departments of transportation, five sheriff departments, one police department and one federal regulatory agency. It’s a monumental task, but it looks like we should be able to still go forward.”

The Big Blue Run is tentatively scheduled for June 11-13.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.