By STEVEN NALLEY
Representatives from the city of Sturgis and the Sturgis South Bike Rally Board confirmed Thursday that plans for a 2013 Sturgis motorcycle rally are canceled, ending negotiations between the city and motorcycle rally boards for the year.
The Sturgis Board of Aldermen had planned a workshop Tuesday to develop a counterproposal to the bike rally board’s proposed financial agreement with the city for the 2013 rally. Sturgis Mayor Walter Turner said only two aldermen — James Eric Jackson and Mike Collins — came to the workshop, preventing them from drafting the counterproposal until the city board’s next meeting in March.
Rally board president Donny Hanson said the rally board needed the counterproposal by the end of February to adequately prepare for a rally in August.
“The rally has been canceled due to the lack of a proposal from the town,” Hanson said. “We are sitting back and waiting to see what the election holds and see if there is any future for the rally.”
The workshop would have immediately followed a specially called meeting to approve a low bid on a generator to keep Sturgis’s water supply running during a power outage, Turner said, but the lack of a quorum prevented that vote as well. Before Hanson announced the rally’s cancellation, Turner said the city was planning to put the counterproposal on the agenda for its March 5 meeting.
“It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t have the full board there, or at least the majority,” Turner said. “Two (aldermen) don’t need to be making suggestions.”
Hanson said the rally board has historically tried to finish negotiations with the city by the end of February in order to hold an August rally.
“We’ve always found that we need that much time to get everything together,” Hanson said.
Other towns have been in touch with the rally board about hosting rallies similar to past Sturgis rallies, Hanson said, making the deadline even more imperative for Sturgis. Hanson did not disclose which other towns the rally board has spoken with.
The aldermen who were absent from the Tuesday workshop were Keith Parker, Amanda Page and Wayne McCool. Page and McCool voted against the rally board’s contract in 2012, but Parker voted for it, as did Collins, who is the aldermen’s liaison to the rally board.
Jackson has not yet voted on a rally contract; he entered office through a special election to finish the unexpired term of Quinnia Yates, who voted down the contract in 2012. Hanson said he saw the absence of three aldermen as an indicator of those aldermen’s attitudes toward the rally.
“That was evidence to us that they did not want to fool with the rally,” Hanson said. “We decided to cancel this year, sit back and wait and see how the election goes in June and see if (citizens) elect aldermen that might support the rally.”
Turner said Page was the only alderman who did not appear at the workshop who could not be reached by phone beforehand. Both of the others gave reasons for their absence, he said.
“Keith Parker called me personally and said he was sick,” Turner said. “The (city) clerk called Wayne McCool; he said he couldn’t make it because of business reasons.”
None of the five Sturgis aldermen commented for this story by deadline Thursday evening. Turner said he was sad to see the rally canceled for the third consecutive year.
“I’m very disappointed, and I understand the frustration of the rally board,” Turner said. “I hope that, some time in the future, we can bring the rally back to Sturgis.”