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International Motorcycle show bypasses Pacific Northwest during 2016-2017 tour

It’s sad, but true, the International Motorcycle Show will not be stopping in the Pacific Northwest this coming fall or winter. In a statement issued by the events promoter it was noted that the collective of OEMs and sponsors opted to stay out of the Pacific Northwest this year. The show will only go to 7 markets with Long Beach, CA, being the only west coast market on the tour. Yes, PNW, you are not alone as the Bay Area will also be MIA.

In 2015, the show was moved to Portland, OR. Turnout was about half of what is typically seen in Seattle, but when you run the numbers that’s on par with a Seattle show taking into account population density for the market.

Regardless, it’s time to re-tool and that may just be what’s about to happen.

Seattle logistics have become increasingly tough over the last decade. Weather has always been a factor, the recession was certainly a factor, but rental fees and union rates have possibly hit the point where it does not make sense fiscally to bring the show into the Emerald City, or even Stump Town/Rip City for that matter. Traffic logistics and parking costs have reached an all-time pain in the butt with attendees as well.

Over the years, the show has taken on a classier feel with lots of one-time only use props, fresh carpet and drapes for each stop and a real pro touch added by the OEMs and sponsors. It’s hard to imagine going backwards, but that may just be what’s about to happen next.

In a recent communication between an Advanstar staffer and a Sound RIDER! staff member, it was noted that there was a possible summer event in the works that would hit Chehalis in July 2017.

Chehalis? Hard to imagine, right?

But it actually seems like a sensible strategy.

The OEMs would really like to be able to offer demo rides during such a show, but that’s next to impossible during the fall and winter months in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of attendees would prefer to ride their motorcycles to the event, but the same inclement weather keeps them from doing that.

Chehalis is central between the Puget Sound and Portland-Vancouver metro markets. Sounds like a great excuse to ride. In fact, on a nice day there are a number of alternatives to I-5 that would put the icing on the cake for going to a show.

But Chehalis comes with its own challenges. The largest facility is at the Lewis County Fairgrounds. The Blue pavilion is 12,000 square feet with a capacity of 600. Hardly big enough to support 10-20,000 attendees. Additional buildings and possibly other properties would have to be rolled in to make enough room for OEMs and vendors.

And although attendees would adore a date in July, a summer date comes with its own challenges too. Summer is when most dealers are in full gear and would find it hard to parse out staff to man the OEM booths at the same time. Given the volume of riders who may go to the event, it’s not hard to imagine several dealers simply closing their doors and putting signs in the windows ‘Come see us in Chehalis this weekend’.

When we get more information from the event promoter, we’ll follow up with an update article. Until then, support your local dealers and the other vendors that have participated in past years and let’s keep the love of motorcycling alive and well in the Pacific Northwest.

SR!/July 2016


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