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Sturgis North moving out of Salmon Arm?

Sturgis North CEO Ray Sasseville made a presentation to Armstrong council Monday suggesting the 2012 event will be moved to Spallumcheen. - Observer file photo
Sturgis North CEO Ray Sasseville made a presentation to Armstrong council Monday suggesting the 2012 event will be moved to Spallumcheen.
— image credit: Observer file photo

Motorcycles and music may be circling into Spallumcheen’s Motoplex Speedway instead of Salmon Arm this summer.

Organizers of the Sturgis North Music Festival and Motorcycle Rally, which made its debut in 2011 in Salmon Arm, are looking at moving the event to the speedway.

Sturgis North president Ray Sasseville made a presentation to Armstrong council Monday afternoon.

“He mentioned that it was ‘99.9 per cent sure’ they were moving to the speedway, they were just waiting for confirmation,” said Armstrong Coun. Paul Britton.

Sasseville declined to comment further when reached by Black Press on Tuesday afternoon.

Britton told council Monday that Sasseville presented a package that contained a lot of information from last year’s inaugural rally in Salmon Arm, and said he was quite candid about admitting there were financial problems with the event.

“He said he was going to make amends with this year’s program to try and pay those people off,” said Britton. “He said the event owed around $40,000.”

Sasseville told council that the dates planned for the 2012 festival are July 18-22, but the Sturgis North website is still promoting the event as a week-long festival, July 15-22, on Neskonlith Indian Band lands outside of Salmon Arm, the same site as the 2011 event.

In September, the Sturgis North organization announced that after a favourable response from the Neskonlith band, Sturgis North would be holding their entire event at the Gleneden location.

Last year, the event was split between the Gleneden site and the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, with little success.

Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson told the Observer Tuesday that she has spoken recently to Sasseville, but said she would not be able to provide a statement from the band before press time.

Sturgis North officials estimated a total of 35,000 people overall attended the 2011 five-day festival.

Local RCMP reported to city council that 14 daily shifts were allocated during the festival with officers moved from other duties, as well as working overtime. In addition to the Salmon Arm detachment, members of the RCMP’s Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Unit were in attendance.

Members from Four Hells Angels chapters were reported to be at the Sturgis site, including the White Rock chapter, which was operating a vending booth. But there was no trouble from any of these groups.

The Salmon Arm RCMP said 43 people were arrested during the event and held in cells overnight, the majority for causing disturbances, public intoxication and assault. There were 16 drug seizures and four  motorbikes impounded.

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