ELKO – In between concerts Saturday night at the Elko Motorcycle Jamboree event President Brandie Notestine made an announcement to the crowd.
“The rumors are true,” she said. “We will not be returning next year.”
This year’s Elko Motorcycle Jamboree was the last for the foreseeable future after a steady decline in attendance and sponsorship over the past few years.
Notestine, who has volunteered on the board for 10 years to bring bikes and concerts to the downtown corridor, said the city was helpful in making the event possible but she would have liked to see more support from businesses in the downtown area.
“The businesses don’t want it there. That really is the bottom line,” she said. “They’ve voiced their opinion about the event and we got their message loud and clear. It doesn’t make sense to fight for something that they don’t want.”
Notestine also mentioned that the board that organizes the event is made up entirely of volunteers, and that it was frustrating for them to work on the jamboree with community support lacking.
Notestine pointed out that one of the common misconceptions about the event was that the City was not interested in supporting it. She said she was grateful for the support of the City and its police department, and noted that a lack of community support is the sole reason the board decided not to continue the event next year.
“I see a lot of people saying the city and the police department don’t want the event and that’s not true,” she said. “They have supported us. It’s purely the resistance of the downtown corridor businesses.”
Though Notestine was frustrated at times by the complaints of local businesses, Downtown Business Association President Jon Karr said he is personally a fan of what the Jamboree brings to downtown Elko.
“As part of the DBA, it doesn’t bother me and I support the Jamboree,” he said. “You really have a mixed bag of some businesses that are complaining, not just because they’re closing but because the event itself is not as big as it used to be.”
Karr said opinions of business owners are mixed. He said some businesses wanted more of an opportunity to join the vendors at the event, while others would like more of a voice about the way the event is put into action.
Even though the jamboree lacked support from some of the downtown businesses, Karr said a lot of them have come to accept the event for what it is whether they like it or not.
“Four or five years ago there were a lot of downtown businesses complaining and truly throwing a fit,” he said. “I don’t hear as much of that now. Now they don’t really support it but they don’t really complain about it either.”
Karr said the Jamboree falls in line with the goals of the DBA.
“It’s on par for what we hope to do,” he said. “We want people to get downtown. We don’t want downtown to die so working together so that businesses can be bigger beneficiaries, I’m totally 100 percent for it.”
Notestine wouldn’t rule out the possibility of her and the board organizing another event for Elko but she said the energy they’ve put forth for the 16th annual Motorcycle Jamboree had left the board tired and they decided to take a year off from event planning.
Notestine said it was an emotional experience having to announce the end of the event in front of the crowds, and mentioned she was overwhelmed with the show of support from the people who had enjoyed the jamboree.
“There were people in tears that came up and shook my hand,” she said. “They thanked me and the board. There was an outpouring of support.”