The group that has quickly mounted a community-wide effort to rescue a three-day motorcycle event at the Ocean Shores Convention Center this summer met last week with area business owners for a detailed planning session and found an outpouring of local sponsorship and support.
Quinault Beach Resort and Casino CEO Don Kajans hopes “Hog Wild Ocean Shores,” a joint effort by the City of Ocean Shores and casino, will someday lead to a week-long, county-wide event that becomes the Northwest’s premier motorcycle gathering, drawing upwards of 30,000 bikes annually.
When a previous promoter pulled out of what was planned as a convention center event exactly 90 days out from the July 26-28 date, the city/convention center leadership got together with the casino, which was already planning a biker event and now they’re both planning a multi-location event.
There are early signs that it is working.
Within days an ad hoc group met for a lengthy planning session. Present were Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler, City Council member and local business owner Jon Martin and City Marketing Manager Diane Solem; Convention Center Manager Cheryl Turner and Food & Beverage Director George Lee; QBRC’s CEO, Don Kajans, and managers Mark Palmer, Nicolette Shanklin and Alicia Dineen; and Playtime Family Fun Center owner Mike Doolittle. On vacation but consulting by phone and internet was Dianne Hansen, who has produced more than 20 major Convention Center events since 2006 and helped QBRC with vendors at their Hog Wild weekend last year.
Dingler said 50 or so local businesses attended a meeting the previous day.
Solem said nine local sponsors have jumped on board in the past week, including QBRC, Oyhut Bay, Bennett’s Fish Shack, McDonald’s Martin Bruni Liquor, the Canterbury Inn, Best Western, Galway Bay Irish Pub, Playtime Family Fun Center and the Eagles.
Doolittle got the motors runnin’ at the business gathering by giving away about six dozen “Hog Wild Ocean Shores 2019” T-shirts, printed with a design created by Shanklin. He expressed the hope that local retailers would have their employees all wear Hog Wild shirts during the event.
Toward that end, Solem said T-shirts to be worn by area business owners and employees will be available at or near cost, and that retailers wishing to sell the shirts will be able to buy them at a wholesale price. Order forms will be sent to all area businesses in the next few days. Banners, posters and possibly yard signs are also in the works.
The promotion team has scheduled an open meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, at the Convention Center to make a presentation to the general public. “We want all the residents to be very much attached to the success of this effort,” Solem said. A baked potato bar and beverages will be served at the presentation.
Asked about the handling of up-front event expenses, Dingler noted that the city-owned venue has ample experience with cash flow requirements that are common in the event business, and that some of the sponsorship funds for this event will be received in advance. Proceeds from three revenue streams — vendor booth rental, sponsorships and souvenir merchandise sales – will be used to pay back up-front costs and event expenses.
Individual booth rentals will not bring in as much as they have in the past, because organizers for the reborn event have decided to keep the rental fee extremely low, at $50 per booth for the weekend. Vendor spaces at QBRC will be the same price, and event planners expect some vendors to operate at the convention center during the day and at the casino in the evening, when live music will be played.
Work is proceeding on multiple fronts. Most of the motorcycle stunt and entertainment acts have been booked, poker runs and a motorcycle parade with multiple starting points between Aberdeen and Ocean Shores are being planned, over 800 vendor invitations have been sent out, a new website, www.hogwildoceanshores.com, and multiple Facebook pages have gone up, and souvenir merchandise is being created and sourced.
Martin, who owns the Martin Bruni liquor stores in Ocean Shores and Montesano and is director of operations for a group of six area McDonald’s restaurants, in addition to serving on the City Council, said the resurrected motorcycle weekend represents “an opportunity for businesses to ride this event to a different level. When we were out talking to people, there was great excitement.”