CASPER, Wyo. -- Motorcycles are ubiquitous on the roads and highways of Wyoming.
If it’s the first few days of August, you’ll be seeing more and more Harleys and Hondas, Indians and Victories, roaring down Interstate 25 and Highway 220 from the west.
They’re heading to Sturgis, S.D., for the 72nd Sturgis motorcycle rally, the official dates for which are Aug. 6-12. But folks go early and stay late at the event that features live music, food, shopping and great people-watching.
Those folks need to eat and buy fuel and sleep.
Thus the premise for the first Ghost Town Rally, set for Friday and Saturday in downtown Casper.
It’s the brainchild of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce and a group of volunteers, who have been planning the event since May.
The rally will take place from
5 to 10 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in two large parking lots between South David and Ash streets and Midwest Avenue and Collins Drive, behind Slumberland.
Street closures during rally hours include Center, Ash, and South David streets between West Collins Drive and south of the Plains Furniture front door.
There will be live music from
6 to 10 p.m. on Friday and 10:30 a.m. to noon, 12:30 to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The food vendors will be Arrowhead Catering, the Sunset Grill, the Prime Time Restaurant and Sweet Cakes. There are also other vendors as well, including Phat Daddy Enterprises LLC, Sherry’s Creations, Enlightened Essentials, Mill Creek Design and Leather Plus.
There will be T-shirts, pins, bandanas and Ghost Town Rally patches for sale; a dunk tank and face painting for kids.
There will be a Show ’n Shine motorcycle contest and a Ms. Ghost Town Rally Contest.
At 7 a.m. Saturday, the Casper Elks Lodge will serve a pancake breakfast at the lodge at the corner of Seventh and Center streets. The public is welcome.
Instead of the typical poker run that motorcyclists enjoy as fundraisers, there will be “poker walks” through downtown businesses on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., said Pam Jones, communications and special events manager for the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.
Robin Mundell, executive director of the chamber, said nearly 250,000 motorcyclists travel through Casper each August.
“The weekend before Sturgis opens, motorcyclists stop in Casper to refuel, maybe eat a quick meal and head north to Sturgis. Or, if they arrive in Casper later in the day, they may spend a night, but there are no activities that attract them to stay longer or even an extra night,” Mundell said.
Because planning started so late, Mundell said there was no budget for this year’s event. Local sponsors filled the void, and the group hopes the event becomes a tradition.
“Although the 2012 event has been put together in a very short time, the event will provide us with valuable data regarding attendance, vendor needs, types of activities, security needs and general operations,” Mundell said.