The event from HE Double Hockey sticks just keeps coming back to haunt the motorcycle community - Sturgis North has just announced that they are going to be holding the  2013 version of the event at the site of the old Merritt Music Mountain Fest in August.

No word on why they are moving out of Chase or what state their relationship with the Neskonlith Band is in.

Can you imagine what this event is going to be like this year? 

The relationship between the founder of Sturgis North and the RCMP & Liquor Board brought down the wrath and disdain that those organizations feel for the founder  - on the heads of every rider last year with restrictions that were unbearable, especially when you take in the costs of attending the event.

I can not imagine how badly every rider will be harassed by the RCMP in Merritt and region.  
The top cop there does not appear to appreciate the motorcycle community at all.
The Great Canadian Bike Rally was hosted by two locals - both from Merritt, both community involved and minded people  and look how it ended up - having the legs taken right out from under it last year with the heavy handed and oppressive presence of the police.  

And if we thought what happened in Vernon was bad...

Add the Sturgis North's owner and his president into the mix and Merritt should be a full blown police state if last year was ANY indication at all.

And even though they had benefit of a really great property to use last year, Sturgis North organizers could not get away from from appearing greedy and or desperate and ended up screwing up the layout of the event so bad that vendors in the infield of the Vernon Motoplex were seeing zero traffic. 
($20 was the fee one had to pay to get into vendor ally - who pays to go to the mall? Over $100 to see the bands and get to the vendors in both vendor alley and in the infield for 1 day.)

And then of course the Liquor Board put some heavy restrictions on the camping areas and where they could be located...and don't get me started on the beer gardens.

With the trail of debt (between six hundred  & 800 thousand dollars worth if the public figures are even remotely close to accurate) and the destruction of good feelings and goodwill that has been wreaked in the Okanagan by this event, I simply can not wrap my head around HOW they managed to land the Mountain Fest site.

Not only do I find it hard to believe that they have landed the spot they have, but I simply can not fathom how or why anyone in the motorcycle community would want to give these organizers another chance. 

The sad thing is that no matter how connected we riders are becoming - not everyone will get the word about what Sturgis North has been like for the past two years. There will be those who will lay their money down to attend the event and, if the last two years are any indication...

In their press release and on their new web site, they are making a claim that I would have to question/challenge.  3rd Annual Sturgis North Burnouts?  Seriously?  Sturgis North never organized the burnouts that were held in Sicamous in conjunction with the Sturgis North event - ever and they had nothing whatsoever to do with their success. 

It was the Chamber of Commerce in Sicamous and the CMDRA who made the burnouts happen.  Sturgis North simply did some cross promotion from everything I have been told.

And it is the CMDRA and the Chamber hosting the event again this year in Sicamous in conjunction with Summer Stomp that has moved to Sicamous.

It saddens me. It frustrates me.

Who knows - I suppose they could turn it around and make it enjoyable and affordable...
I guess we wait and see...

I know I won't be sending any reporters to the event - what you see here is as much energy as I want to give it.

What say you?

In other news there has been another rider fatality, this time in Brampton ON and a motorcyclist was caught up in a crash on the 404 near Stouffeville.  No word on his/her injuries.

For Medric Cousineau - our writer from Eastern Passage NS who is undertaking the Long Walk to Sanity from his home in NS to Ottawa with a goal of raising the money for 50 dogs for 50 vets in 50 days should be ecstatic today. His mission was to help other vets and hopefully have someone in Ottawa hear how a service dog can change lives.

Today there is word out of Texas that PTSD Dogs are one step away from being funded for vets who suffer from PTSD in that state with the passing of a new bill in the Texas House of Representatives.  The bill has gone to the state Senate for approval.

Since Medric's mission is to have Ottawa fund service dogs for our vets, this has to be good news.

Our government can not ignore the benefit that PTSD dogs offer to their patients/handlers.

I pray that someone in Ottawa reads the article and decides that Medric and a whole host of veterans who are benefiting from the use of service dogs are right and that prescription drugs are not the only answer to PTSD and the ravages of war.

Please people, please...

Ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you.
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month - Do your Part - Ride Smart

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

UPDATED: 2:26 PM May 8th, 2013

In the Sturgis North Press Release there was something that caught my eye and bothered me:

New this year we are adding some country artists on Sunday in conjunction with the City of Merritt, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Walk of Stars. 

So I decided to make some phone calls and low and behold - what do I discover ...

I spoke with the president and the vice president of the Country Music Hall of Honour and the Walk of Stars in Merritt today.

There is no agreement between the Hall of Honour and the Walk of Stars (which is all one organization, not two separate entities as the press release would have one believe) and Sturgis North. One phone call is all that has taken place between - are you ready for this - Mr. Sanders and Mr. Sasseville and while ideas were swapped, there is NO agreement. So much for the claims made by President of Sturgis North, Joan Hansen, that Mr. Sasseville is hands off...
it's funny how you learn things.

I spoke with the CAO of Merritt, Matt Noble, who also confirms that there are no agreements in place
that would see the city of Merritt working with Sturgis North to provide country entertainers, or to sponsor the event or in any way work with the event beyond the fact that people will be coming through Merritt.  I asked pointedly if tax payers money would be spent on sponsorship or providing any acts and was told NO. The CAO was adamant that the event is out of their jurisdiction and while they will be good neighbours to the event, the city of Merritt is offering no special support for the event.

I have been unsuccessful in getting ahold of the property owner, Claude Lelievre. He is the man who co founded and ran the now defunct Merritt Music Mountain Fest and his company Active Mountain Entertainment Corp. owns the property that reportedly Sturgis North is going to be held on.

I wonder, and will continue to do so, at the validity of the statement that they are moving to the Mountain Fest property -  until I get confirmation that there is a lease in place.

I will continue to dig and will let you know what else I find out...

For anyone wanting to know more about Sturgis North and th people who own and run it, visit my previous blog post:


Well - for now at least nothing is confirmed and I have shared the information I have found in the public domain and asked everyone to do their due diligence. If after people read the information and talk to others who have had involvement they still decide to work with them - so be it. At least they made an informed decision. There is nothing more to be done by me. 

The rest is now up to this community. You guys have voices, perhaps if you feel inclined you will get involved in helping people make informed decisions. The small businesses and charities, non profits, they just need to know what happened - they can then look at the over all picture - weigh the pros and cons and decide what feels right to their community, but they can't make and informed decision without input and information.

If the riding community won't support it and they prepare for all of you and you don't show up, what's that going to do to things?

Merritt is a community that has had their Mountain Music Fest shut down, the Great Canadian Bike Rally is no more, help this community make an informed decision. Who knows, your input might actually help the thing to succeed...yah just never know what can come out of dialogue...

The City of Merritt:

Merritt's Country Music Hall of Honour & The Walk of Stars

The Merritt Chamber of Commerce

Post a Comment

  1. Darrell de la Ronde - MysteryWolf Creations9:07 AM

    I heard that Sturgis North was nothing but a money grab, Bulls--t event!! Our company was in serious thought about attending this year,,, we then started to hear rumours and things much like you stated in this article. Hope they get their SH-T together and REALLY, TRULY make it "Sturgis North",,,,,,,, in the true spirit of the REAL STURGIS!!!!!!!! Thank you for this article.

  2. Anonymous7:34 PM

    The RCMP will never allow the motorcycle community to hold any event without total harrasment. They are bound and determined to wreak havoc!

  3. Anonymous8:13 PM

    I believe that Claude is just the property manager now, the bank now owns the old festival grounds. I for one will not be helping the organizers line their pockets with my hard earned money.

  4. Gone are the good old days of a weekend gathering of like minded folk on scoots to enjoy bike events, bands, campout and have fun. Now most events are nothing but a cash grab, event run by a bunch of Shiney's Newbies trying to make a buck. You have all taken the fun out of it all, time we got back to the good old ways, enough already!!!!
    Old scooter Trash Rules!!!!!!! Ride on Brotherhood!

  5. Anonymous11:31 PM

    Your diligence in trying to get to the truth regarding Sturgis North is greatly appreciated. Anyone thinking of becoming involved with this group needs to think long and hard about what happened at the two previous events. I was a volunteer at the event in Salmon Arm and saw first hand the lack of organization and suspect accounting.

  6. Anonymous3:04 PM

    My son was recruited to do clean-up after the Music Fest under Claude's management and was never paid for his efforts,...what does that tell you !???

  7. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Spent the last 2 years at Great Canadian Bike rally in Merrit and never did find the police an issue. They stopped us quite often, but were polite and courteous. They are looking for unlicensed and impaired riders-same as any bike rally. Not sure what the whining is all about. No one has complained about Sturgis, S.D where there are 6-8 cops on every corner. Been at Salmon Arm Stomp and watched them haul away 9 impaired bikers that tried to go thru the check stop-wonder why a police present at bike rallies???

  8. Seriously - the policing aspect and their conduct is the only thing you took from this - wow...

    I was in Merritt last year and there were some horrid cops with about as much common courtesy/civility as a door knob.

    I have no issue with the police being at rallies - I take issue with how some of them treat non offenders though.