Site of Sturgis North to be confirmed in a week

'I think we've almost made all the mistakes that can be made'

Kamloops Daily News
November 13, 2012 01:00 AM

Sturgis North, the upstart B.C. version of the largest motorcycle rally in the U.S., expects to confirm a Shuswap festival location within a week.

Joan Hansen, festival president, said on Monday that creditors are pleased to know the event will continue, but would not specify how much the festival owes.

Co-hosted by the Neskonlith Indian Band, Sturgis North is expected to locate on band land, possibly in the Chase area. The inaugural event was held in Salmon Arm in 2011, but the festival was relocated last summer to the Motoplex Speedway near Vernon because that site offered the required infrastructure.

While the automotive connection made Motoplex appealing, organizers encountered new challenges. The temperature at the speedway soared, but with no way to cool off, people went off-site to nearby lakes.

"We just didn't have the numbers stick around because it was so hot on that track."

Upon returning, some were deterred by a heavy-handed police presence. RCMP had a "qualified concern" about festival-goers roving off-site during an event that involves drinking, Hansen said.

For that and other reasons, she hopes to see the event develop in the Shuswap as a self-contained, jamboree-style festival including music, where people remain close or on-site throughout the event.

In its first year, the event cost soared to $2.7 million. This year, costs were about one-third of that.

Hansen said Sturgis (N.D.) had humble origins, suggesting that organizers are in for the long haul to develop Sturgis North as an attraction.

"I think we've almost made all the mistakes that can be made," Hansen joked.

She described herself as a motorcycle enthusiast with a family background in music management. She's Vancouver-based, but her family roots extend to Chase and Vernon, she added.

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