V.C. bike event approved
By Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Dan Norby will get to put on his motorcycle event in Virginia City, expected to attract more than 1,000 bikers, as long as he makes a few changes.
The Storey County Commission voted 2-1, with John Flanagan opposed, to allow the 30th Anniversary of the Dapper Memorial Day Run motorcycle event planned for May 23-25, despite complaints from some residents.
Norby sought to have a large party tent near the Ramada Inn, a co-sponsor, that could hold 650 people that would include a bar, a vendor’s area with RV camping for the vendors, a variety of games and contests, and music by the Frye Brothers band, who performed in Virginia City more than 15 years ago.
There also would be a beer-only bar near the camel race arena where the games and contests would take place.
Norby estimated 1,000 bikers would come to the event, but said he was preparing for 2,000. He had planned to have camping, including tent camping, on the Savage mine site off of F Street, which is what brought the most objections from residents.
The event was approved with the conditions that Norby stop the music at 10 p.m. instead of midnight as originally planned, that there be no tent camping, that the event end Sunday night, that he provide reimbursement to the sheriff’s office for overtime costs, and that he discourage the motorcyclists from cruising through residential areas.
Commission Chairman Greg “Bum” Hess said the county received about 10 letters opposed to the event and one in favor, while all three commissioners, County Manager Pat Whitten and County Sheriff Jim Miller said they received phone calls and e-mails, most in opposition.
Hess said most of the concerns had to do with camping in residential areas and the solemnity of the Memorial Day weekend, when the nation traditionally remembers its war dead.
Cathylee James, a manager of the Comstock Wild Horse and Mining Museum and Air Force veteran, initially opposed the event on the basis that Memorial Day was meant to honor the nation’s fallen soldiers, and a motorcycle event was not appropriately solemn. However, she changed her position when Norby agreed to end the event on Sunday.
Flanagan made it clear he would not support the event under any circumstances.
“The biggest thing is that the businesses wouldn’t get any business that week and they would be off of the main street,” he said. “It would not benefit the town at all.”
Business owners Jett Aguilar, Linda Del Carlo and Angelo Petrini all spoke in favor of the event.
“I understand about Memorial Day,” Aguilar said. “But at the same time, as a business owner, whether it’s a motorcycle or cowboy event, I’m for it if it’s going to bring some money for us.”
She said she had to take a job off the hill because of business being slow at the Union Brewery, the saloon she owns.
“Look at our closed stores, the storefronts that are empty,” she said.
Petrini, who owns the Delta Saloon and Casino, said residents have to accept the visitors as part of living in Virginia City.
“Special events are very important to this community,” he said. “Some events help the bar, but some don’t help the bars, but help the economy by putting people in hotel rooms.”
But Joe Curtis, who owns the Mark Twain Bookstore, said many motorcyclists don’t respect the historic fabric of the town or its residents, by running loud bikes and intimidating other visitors.
“We’re spending lots of money marketing our community as an historic destination,” he said. “Do we want to be the Sturgis of the West? Or do we want to be an historic and family destination.”
Resident Barbara Smith agreed that the town needed business, “but the right business.”
She said she has seen families notice all the motorcycles in town and keep on going.
She said residents have to either leave town or shut themselves in their homes during motorcycle events.
But Petrini said that was part of life in Virginia City. He noted that he lived behind a motel, and on event weekends he had to put up with noise and traffic around his home to improve business in town.
Miller said he would have extra patrols and told the commissioners he would not tolerate any drugs, drunk driving, racing or loud noise at night, and if there were problems, he would shut the event down.
Secret Witness turns 40 this year – and it’s helped solve many of Northern Nevada’s most violent crimes
Secret Witness tips have played a pivotal role in solving some of the most violent crimes the greater Northern Nevada region has seen. To date, Secret Witness has paid out more than $300,000 in rewards to anonymous tipsters. Rewards range from $50 (graffiti/tagging) to $1,500 (armed robbery) to $2,500 (murder).