All indicators point to a safe, successful event
The yearly event attracted an estimated 45,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from locations near and far. Participants included groups from Australia, Argentina, France, Mexico and Canada as well as riders from Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. License plates from California, Arizona and Nevada were a common sight.
While a good number of the steel horses in town were of the Harley-Davidson variety, there were options available for those who aspire to something different.
American-manufactured Indian and Victory bikes and the Italian Aprilia and Moto Guzzi motorcycles were displayed in the Riverside vendor area in the A Team Motorcycles booths: Some models were even available for test rides.
For those who had never been on a motorcycle, or maybe had only sat on the back of one, the Harley-Davidson zone in the Tropicana parking lot, sponsored by the Southern California Harley-Davidson Dealers Association, had just the thing.
Known as JUMPSTART™, the stationary bike - a brand new, full-size Harley - gave individuals the chance to actually sit in the driver’s seat and take the machine through its gears. There was even a fan blowing to give novices that wind-in-your-face effect.
“I’ve never even been on a bike before, so that was awesome,” said Kathy Patterson of South Jordan, Utah. “I’ve been on the back but never up front. It was so much fun.”
JUMPSTART™ was originally designed for use at dealerships to teach new riders the fundamentals of clutch and throttle control and shifting in a safe environment, said Manon Durand, Event Strategy and Execution Manager for Harley-Davidson. Since then, the company has extended its use to special events, like youth outreach programs and NHRA drag races.
“It’s awesome to see the smile on a person’s face the first time they get on and think, ‘Holy cow, I can do this’,” she said. “It’s one of the tools that we utilize to give them that free-spirit experience.”
A sea of vendor tents occupied the parking lots along Casino Drive, and they offered everything from the de rigueur River Run 2014 T-shirts to toe rings, custom ear buds and plugs, and cigars. A number of custom lighting, painting and pin-striping artisans were on hand, as well.
From a law enforcement perspective, the weekend went pretty smoothly.
“Overall, it was a safe and enjoyable event,” said Lt. John Healy, commander of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Laughlin substation.
Based on reliable information received by LVMPD that one vendor booth on the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall property had connections to the Hells Angels motorcycle club and that an adjoining booth was associated with rival club Vagos, property management made the decision Friday to have the clubs shut down their respective booths, Healy added. Eight Metro police officers assigned to the Pioneer for the event - paid for by that property - stood by to ensure the safety of all parties involved while the booths were closed.
Statistics regarding the number of citations written and arrests made were still being compiled at press time.