OCEAN SHORES — The motorcycles will start roaring into town today for the 25th annual Sun and Surf Run and biker festival centered in Ocean Shores, but the participation may be declining somewhat compared to past years.
Organizers of the traditional charity fundraising event say they now have a hard time competing with other more profit-oriented motorcycle events in the summer and hope to draw on local support from the North Beach and surrounding Grays Harbor communities.
“I hope they realize, hey, it’s not for us,” said Rich Wiggers, director of the Sun and Surf organization. “This is a charity, folks. We’re distributing everything we make.”
This year, Sun and Surf spans four days, July 25-28, but it may not seem as large from a vendor and sponsor ship viewpoint even if many of the regular performers and features are returning.
“I’m looking at the economics involved,” Wiggers said in a recent interview. “We are having some problems getting the vendors there.”
The festivities will include several bands, including return appearances by the Sons of Palmer on Friday and Too Slim and the Taildraggers on Saturday, and he’s hoping to get more sponsorships for future years.
The event benefits Boyer Children’s Clinic, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Ocean Shores Food Bank, North Beach PAWS, Guard Dogs of America, and several other smaller groups or organizations, such KOSW local community radio.
“We try to distribute the proceeds over Western Washington, more or less,” Wiggers said.
It’s been harder to keep the event going each year because there are a “lot of competitors with us,” he said. One of those is the Hog Wild Weekend put on the same weekend at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. The Sun and Surf website (www.sunandsurfevent.com) makes a point of noting: “Hog Wild is not affiliated with Sun and Surf Run and does not benefit our charities.”
“There’s a lot of negativity in some areas,” he said of the competition to attract vendors. “We do have a good group coming in, but it’s not going to be as big as it used to be.”
In the 17 years he’s been personally coming to Sun and Surf, he notes the management of it has evolved over time.
“For many of the vendors, it’s like a vacation that falls between some of the major events that they may be involved with,” he said.
While the event used to be mostly Harley-Davidson oriented, that, too has evolved. Some of the regular features include the Cossacks stunt-riding team, the Hollywood B stunt team and the Tenino Drill Team. With space at the Convention Center limited in past years, this year the vendor area will be more concentrated to feature a new area for the bike show.
“Parking is a bit of a problem in the area,” Wiggers acknowledged. “There are limited places to just park your bike, like along the street,” he said. “Some people reported quite a few (parking) tickets last year.”
There’s a tattoo show and a biker babe contest, a bike parade and a poker run.
There’s room for the new three-wheelers, some home-built contraptions, just about everything short of Mopeds.
The event is what provides the funds for the charity, and Wiggers suggests that similar events on the coast should get together to help each other with sponsorships, vendors and volunteers.
Sun and Surf not only attracts the 4,000 or so bikers, riders and participants who may come into town for any of the weekend festivities, it also includes the sightseers, too, and the Born-to-be-Wild in all of us … although maintaining a motorcycle is a lot like maintaining and spending money on a boat, Wiggers explained.
Now in its 25th year, local support has been key to building Sun and Surf over the years. Galway Bay, for example, is the bar and beer garden sponsor, giving some of the proceeds back to the Sun and Surf charities. And the Ramada is a “diamond sponsor” of the event.
“A lot of the hotels are full, but the main thing is that we organized to help those who are underprivileged. Everyone needs some help,” Wiggers said, inviting everyone to come out to the event locally whether they have a motorcycle or not or even if they never intend to ever ride one.
Those still interested in being part of the sponsorship or vendor list, contact the website: sunandsurfevents.com or sunandsurfcharity.org. Cost for those attending Sun and Surf is $20 for advance online registration or $25 during the event, and includes all four days.
HOG WILD EVENT
The Hog Wild Rally runs July 26-28 and is free except for VIP motorcycle participants ($60).
This year, Hog Wild is produced by Roadshows, Inc. which produces motorcycle events around the country, such as Street Vibrations in Reno, Nev.
“We are biker-focused,” said Randy Burke, Roadshows, Inc. president, in a news release. “We’ve been producing biker events for 25 years and we believe we know what bikers want. When we have an opportunity to team up with a sponsor like the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, offering cash giveaways and a motorcycle, we know bikers are going to have a good time.”
VIP registered participants can participate in a ride-in show and a bike competition to showcase their motorcycles.
“Bikers love to talk about their bikes,” Burke explained, “and they’re usually eager to answer questions about them.”
The event also includes music throughout, with a Friday night show featuring “Skynnyn Lynnyrd” (a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, and a Saturday night appearance by Hell’s Belles, the all-female AC/DC tribute band.
The VIP registration fee includes an official event T-shirt and ride pin, a Hog tag and badge, Friday seafood buffet, Saturday ribs buffet, and they can participate in a parade, poker run, poker walk, ride-in show and bike games.
For more information on Hog Wild or other motorcycle events produced by Roadshows, Inc., visit www.roadshowsreno.com.