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Ignacio Bike Week a success
9/7/2007 By: Melanie B Mazur
Ignacio Bike Week organizers at first were worried, not knowing if bikers would show up for the first rally planned entirely by the volunteer work.
But an estimated 33,000 did show up, and then Ignacio was ready for them.
“Ignacio Bike Week 2007 was a greater success than we could have ever hoped for,” said Emily Meisner, president of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce. “This is benefiting our entire county.”
Bike Week organizers, all members of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce, estimated that the town saw 7,000 visitors on Friday, Aug. 31, between 18,000 and 20,000 on Saturday, and another 8,500 to 10,000 on Sunday, Sept. 2.
“I couldn’t be more happy,” said Ignacio Mayor George Whitt, who buzzed around during the weekend in a golf cart he rented for the occasion. “I sat on my front porch and looked on this town like an old mother hen, and people were really happy.”
Ignacio Police Chief Kirk Phillips reported four DUI arrests over the weekend, a few calls for fights, and some traffic complaints. But considering the thousands of visitors in town, he said that was a rather low number of calls.
“The rally organizers did a very good job,” he said. While a few accidents were reported outside of town limits, Phillips said there wasn’t a traffic accident in town. The department worked with Southern Ute Police and the La Plata County Sheriff personnel to provide extra staffing, he said.
Among the 65 vendors who set up booths along Ignacio’s downtown were non-profit groups, including the Blue Star Mothers, which supports members of the armed forces serving in combat with care packages and other reminders of home.
Meisner said that Bike Week visitors contributed more than $1,200 to the Blue Star Mothers over the course of the weekend, through a coordinated ride to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Farmington and in donations to the Blue Star Mothers booth during the rally.
The chamber’s beer tent attracted crowds with arm-wrestling contests, a Ms. Ignacio Bike Week event, and concerts by Ralph Dinosaur and Julie Stewart and the Motor Kings.
At Sky Ute Casino, an estimated 3,000 people came to a concert by REO Speedwagon with special guest Smashmouth.
A motorcycle giveaway Sunday by Sky Ute Casino also drew a big crowd, said Matt Olin, general manager of the casino.
“Everybody enjoyed themselves,” Olin said.
Rally organizers have a few things to work out for any future event, but overall, the crowd was well-behaved and there were only small problems, said Balty Quintana, Ignacio town manager.
“I think it was really a great success,” he said. “It showed the ability for us to work together.”
Mayor cruised in his own golf cart.
Proceeds from the Chamber’s beer tent and sales of official Bike Week t-shirts will be returned to non-profits and not-for-profits in the community, according to organizers.
“This event was run by volunteers in the spirit of community service,” said Meisner. “I couldn’t have seen it go any better.”