If you can go to only one motorcycle event this year, and you have a hankering to be bad, really bad, why not go to Vegas for the annual Las Vegas BikeFest?
I’ve never been to Las Vegas. Probably because turning over even a nickel to someone because they have a better number on a card is just too galling. I suppose that’s the definition of a sore loser. Mind you, there’s more to do in Vegas than gamble, or so I’m told. Some of those things “to do” don’t necessarily involve taking off your clothes, but if you’re an adult and not going to extraordinary lengths to break any laws as defined by the state of Nevada then, well, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” This catchy and oft-quoted phrase is the city’s defacto, perhaps even official, motto. But, if you stay off Trouble Row, steer clear of the casinos, and politely decline the offer of “company” from fetching strangers, then whatever happens in Vegas should not be a problem. It can then stay, follow, or whatever.
I think if I were to look for a reason to visit the city famously said to be built by American gangster Benjamin Siegelbaum, AKA Bugsy Siegel, it would be to ride into the 11th annual Las Vegas BikeFest, Sept. 29-Oct. 2.
There just seems to be such an outrageous, bawdy, unapologetic decadence about the event, that even a basically conservative prairie boy like me can find the charm in it. Of course, there are many “biker” events out there with bikini contests, custom shows, live music, poker runs and so on, but Vegas is special. It’s a city built around the whole concept of having a good time. They’re not hobbyists playing with the sporting life, they’re full-time pros who really know their business.
The Las Vegas BikeFest headquarters is the legendary Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, so that should tell you something right there. Here’s what the organizers say, “In addition to offering great room rates, the Golden Nugget will host the event registration as well as many special activities throughout the weekend.” “Special activities” are on tap at one of Sin City’s most storied hot spots? The mind fairly reels with the possibilities evoked by that single phrase. The Golden Nugget suggests that when you make your reservations, you ask for the Las Vegas BikeFest room block. Other participating hotels include the Fitz, Four Queens, Golden Gate, Vegas Club and the newly renovated Plaza Hotel. Each hotel offers convenient access to the famous Fremont Street Experience.
What is the Fremont Street Experience? You Ask. I like what Chad from Honolulu had to say about it online:
“Say you go to Vegas and lose all your money but you still have a night to kill, why not make your way downtown and check out their fantastic show at the Fremont Street Experience, because it is well …Free? Just a thought …”
Located in downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is surrounded by a number of the downtown hotels including the Horseshoe, Mermaids, Golden Nugget, the Fremont, Fitzgerald’s, and other spots. Covering the street is a large canopy equipped with over 12 million lights and an amazing sound system. Starting at 8:00 pm and at the top of every hour, a different show pulsates across the large canopy. That could be fun.
Registration for the Vegas fall event is now open online: www.LasVegasBikeFest.com.
“Just $50 gets you everything with an Ultimate Pass,” say the organizers.
Everything? What does that mean? In this case, it’s Vendor Village entry, an event T-shirt, commemorative souvenir, rally pin, shuttle service, drinks and snacks at the welcome party, grand prize giveaway entries; discounts on food and beverages in the Vendor Village … that sort of thing. You can also participate in the poker runs and enter your motorsickle in the custom bike show.
And of course there will be the ever-popular Miss Las Vegas contest (Mr. Las Vegas too ladies), the Artistry in Iron show featuring North America’s top builders, drag racing down on The Strip, tours into the scenic outlying areas surrounding Vegas, live music coming out of your ears, tattoos, drinking contests, steaming platters of hot food, and loud explosions of colour, light and possibly even motorcycles with over-revved engines. Plus it’s in late fall when the weather here is beginning to suck and the kids are safely tucked away in school. What more could you possibly want? Go to Vegas! Then come back and don’t talk about it. Unless you really want to.