“It has become one of the top five motorcycle events in the United States” says Scottsdale Tourism and Events Director Paul Katsenes.
Arizona Bike Week is an outdoor motorcycle rally event with over “30,000 attendees and growing, 15,000 motorcycles and growing over five days of event” according to Katsenes.
The events range from live performances, tattoo contests and even a Miss Bike Week pageant.
“It’s a unique show supported by motorcycle manufacturers and Scottsdale motorcycle dealers,” says Katsenes. He describes that people from all over the nation come to this event bringing their motorcycles and staying in hotels or renting RV spots for a week.
According to Katsenes, Westworld finished construction of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center, a new addition to the Westworld facility in 2014, which required the need for a “full service, full time food and beverage provider on site.”
In the proposed item agenda it states the city expanded the National Western Capital Corp. contract to include alcohol, food, and beverage service to all new/existing WestWorld events throughout WestWorld describing that this triggered the need for a different contract for Arizona Bike Week.
“We knew this day was coming,” says Katsenes in regards to the change in the event’s contract.
The new contract according to Katsenes, with M Culinary now provides Westworld consistent catering, improved quality that they hope will produce better shows and better revenue for future events and shows.
“I don’t think I sitting up here on the dais can negotiate a contract from this position and certainly trust the staff for everything that you possibly could for the good of the city.” said Scottsdale Councilwoman Virginia Korte.
Vice Mayor Linda Milhaven made the motion to adopt the contract, with Councilwoman Korte seconding. The council voted with the end result of five to two, accepting the three-year contract.
Despite the approval of the contract, council members Kathleen Littlefield and David Smith were the two “no” votes.
“We’re on a slippery slope here,” says Smith. He expressed concerns for the upkeep of the program pointing out that Westworld’s expected revenue for Bike Week this year is 7.5 percent less compared to last year’s and it is almost a third less from two years ago.
“It’s perplexing to me,” says Smith, “how we hope to ever increase the revenue and reduce the burden on the taxpayers of that facility.”
In response Katsenes says, “We became convinced we’d have to do something like this or completely lose (Bike Week) from Westworld.”
For Councilwoman Littlefield, she describes how “last year and the year before we received a lot of complaints from people in the surrounding areas about the noise and light pollution.” According to Katsenes, the instillation of the new buildings, Westworld will have a lesser need for those lights outside and that they expect less complaints.
As for the noise complaints, Katsenes responds, “Noise is in the ear of the beholder.”
“This is an event venue of over 300 acres and this is a show that has a 15-year history,” says Katsenes. “It should come as no surprise that sometimes we have events there that have noise but the (Arizona Bike Week team) is sensitive to concerns.”
Bike Week 2015 will happen from Wednesday March 25 to Sunday March 29 later this year.
Editor’s note: Ms. Robiso is a journalism student at Arizona State University