Hog Wild in Ocean Shores, held last weekend at the Ocean Shores Convention Center and Quinault Beach Resort & Casino, appears to have been a success. Increases were noted in motorcycle riders, overall attendance and vendors, which generated a very busy weekend on the North Coast.
Jon Martin, director of operations for the franchise group that owns the local McDonalds restaurant, said Hog Wild was that store’s second busiest period of the year, with only the Fourth of July holiday exceeding it. Martin, who also owns Martin Bruni Liquor and is seeking re-election to his seat on the Ocean Shores City Council, added, “every business’s reaction was extremely positive.”
Don Kajans has been on hand for motorcycle weekend promotions each year at the Casino, where he is CEO, and was pleased with the turnout this time around. “Everybody did a great job and we had a lot of very happy bike riders,” he said. We had more motorcycles than before, and it will continue to grow, but only if everybody gets involved.
“My wish is that Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Westport, even Elma, would all do things. That’s what makes it fun for riders — they can go here and there. That’s what they want. They don’t come here to stay in their hotel rooms. Bikers want to ride.”
Kajans repeated his belief that “in three to five years, we can have 20,000 bikes out here.”
Volunteers working at a couple of non-profit booths also said event attendance was up. Tammy Fairley, CERT Team Leader for Ocean Shores, said this year’s event was “more like it used to be – more vendors, just a bigger show.” Dennis Hogan, with local VFW Post 8956 said raffle ticket sales, something they’ve done every year, were “up at least 30%, way beyond last year.” He added, “I think the city’s done a phenomenal job.”
Harbor Faith Riders was on hand as they’ve been in previous years to bless bikes and their riders. Lance Whitseck, the group’s president, was especially appreciative of the help his volunteer group received from the Convention Center staff and operations manager George Lee.
“George bent over backwards to help everybody and make this event work,” he said. The venue “has a good staff that was always ready to help.”
Diane Solem, the Convention Center’s new general manager, said the venue’s staff were “very pleased with how the event turned out. While there were some bumps in the road, given that it was the first year, all are easily addressed.”
She said it was very encouraging that “every single vendor expressed interest in coming back next year, and we’ve already had early inquiries on sponsorship.”
A report on the financial outcome for the Convention Center’s event was not available by press time for this week’s North Coast News.
Mayor Crystal Dingler said, “I thought it was a wonderful event … it went very well, and our folks did a stellar job.” She added, “Diane did a wonderful job of managing it; George managed all the vendors and was there as our go-to guy. He did an amazing job. For our folks to be able to put this thing on in 90 days is incredible.”
Dingler was referring to the fact that the previous promoter, who produced “Bikers on the Beach” the past three years, cancelled at the end of April, exactly 90 days before this year’s event, and announced the cancellation on Facebook.
The city, QBRC and several local businesses immediately started putting together a new version of the biker weekend event that has been in Ocean Shores for decades. More than two dozen sponsors got on board and there was roughly double the number of vendors as last year.
Martin commented, “This shows that when our businesses come together, we work with QBRC, we can accomplish anything and everyone benefits. To put this together, the time in period we had to do everything, I think it was outstanding.”
Dingler concluded, “Altogether, this was a real opportunity for Ocean Shores to shine.”