"Biker Crowd" Brings In Big Bucks

By: Daniel Chanin Email
By: Daniel Chanin Email

The stereotypical biker might be described as a troublemaker, but in the wake of Thursday's announcement that hotel room bookings were down 20 percent this summer, the red carpet is being rolled out for the biker festival Street Vibrations.

While there have been concerns about gang activity this year, others are welcoming the crowd; saying they've gotten a reputation they don't deserve.

Many have complained about the loud engine noises and traffic, but the event is expected to pump more than $70 million into the local economy in just five days.

"They take a trip up to Virginia City and drive around the lake," says Glenn Carano with Silver Legacy Resort & Casino. "So I think all of Northern Nevada feels Street Vibrations in a positive way.

"They use our rooms, they use the the cabs, they use the bars, they see entertainment. It's a great opportunity for the city to showcase itself and also make a buck," says Rick Murdock with El Dorado Hotel & Casino.

They don't exactly look like economic saviors, but the numbers don't lie: a visitor profile study shows each biker participating in this year's Street Vibrations will pour almost four hundred dollars a day into Reno's economy.

"It's very affluent people that own bikes and sometimes I think we stereotype Street Vibrations as strictly bikers," says Tim Tretton with Harrah's. "Not true, not true."

So if it's not the stereotypical biker crowd, then who are these people lining the streets of downtown Reno?

"You have bikers in town. you have lawyers, doctors riding their Harleys in here," says Carano. "You have professors. You have every walks of life driving their bikes in here."

And it's a crowd hotels wish they could see more of, especially if this year's Street Vibrations puts up numbers consistent with what's expected.

"I would say we would probably run this event every weekend except for maybe a few others," says Murdock. "This event could be in Reno any time."


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