The Four Corners Motorcycle Rally had a much better year than did its predecessor, Ignacio Bike Week, last year, according to its manager – but even with approximately $20,000 in profit, organizers must look to next year to fully cover the losses from the 2012 event.
This year’s rally, which took place Aug. 29-Sept. 2, cost upwards of $140,000 to produce, according to financials provided by Ignacio Chamber Events LLC. It brought between 5,500 and 6,000 attendees into the Sky Ute Fairgrounds, said Manager Johnny Valdez. Rally profits come primarily from gate fees, drink sales, vendor fees and sponsorships.
“We definitely had a good year. We turned a profit,” Valdez said. “We saw a really huge turnaround.”
Last year, Ignacio Bike Week feel deep into the red, losing about $80,000 in total. Valdez has attributed that to the fatal mistake of internal competition – there were essentially two venues, a free one in downtown Ignacio and a paid one in the fairgrounds – which was corrected this year by moving everything inside the fairgrounds.
That, combined with improved events and preparation that began earlier in the year, made the difference this time around, Valdez said.
“We lost $80,000 last year; this year, we made $20,000,” he said. “It’s a $100,000 swing at a minimum.”
Final numbers will be available in time for a report to the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Sept. 11, he said.
But because of obligations to repay some of last year’s debt this year, the bottom line for the 2013 rally will still be negative, Valdez said. Nevertheless, he said he will recommend to the chamber that preparations begin on next year’s rally.
“It’s proven itself to be a positive, a thing that can be done every year,” he said. “We’ll just simply have to work together to come up with a viable plan.”
Valdez said several events, including biker bull-riding, field games, and various adult-themed evening activities, were a hit this year. Other events need work, he said, “not in a drastic way but in a way that I thought really could have improved the enjoyment.” He said he will seek more event sponsorships next year to improve the awards given.
Valdez said feedback was mostly positive, though he did hear from some attendees and vendors who wanted the $15-a-day gate fee lowered or eliminated.
“People want a free event,” he said, adding that such a move is impractical in the rally’s current state. It’s possible that free events could return if future rallies continue to recover and attendance improves, he said.
Feedback on the rally’s Facebook page was mixed. Several people left comments like “Had a blast! What a great job by everyone,” and “The best year yet!” while another said “After paying $60, bought a $3 Coke and left.”
“The one thing that’s the most important, really, is to thank all the community, the volunteers and the sponsors,” Valdez said. “We really appreciate everything that they did and all of the hard work of everybody.”