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Dealers host concerts, rides at Arizona Bike Week

Liz Hochstedler, Associate Editor
April 2, 2012
Filed under Features

Scottsdale H-D draws 10,000 to store for concert

With about 70,000 riders expected at Arizona Bike Week, area dealers had a captive audience to serve before and during the March 23-April 1 event. That audience was especially important for Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, which is seeking to share its new vision since taking new ownership under GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons in January.

Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale started the event out right, too, with a Bret Michaels concert on Sunday, the third night of the five-day pre-rally celebration.

“It went beyond all of our expectations,” dealership GM Justin Johnson said. “It was record-setting attendance for any event this business has had beyond Bike Week.”

Johnson estimates more than 10,000 people showed up at the free concert in the dealership’s parking lot. The goal of bringing in an act, such as the Poison lead singer, was “exposing people to what our attitude will be, what our business will be.”

In addition to seeing the crowd swell to an unheard of number, the dealership also attracted coverage from a number of local news outlets. People were even buying bikes after the concert — as late as 9:30 p.m. — thanks to the extended 10 p.m. closing time.

“In essence, the sales generated from it was beyond our wildest dreams, so that was a fringe benefit,” Johnson said.

The dealership also gave away a bike at the concert event, and it did so again on March 31 during the dealership-sponsored Tesla concert at Cyclefest.

To win the second bike, riders had to visit the dealership’s tent at Cyclefest’s WestWorld, pick up an entry form and deliver it to the dealership. The dealership also sold T-shirts at its tent, and with exposure at both the dealership and WestWorld, Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale hoped to get in front of 300,000-500,000 people. Staff members planned to let those potential customers know about the new ownership and the dealership’s plans for a training and test drive facility situated between it and its sister dealership, Go AZ Motorcycles.

“We think [Arizona Bike Week is] critical because it’s really our first opportunity to show everyone our dealership, our approach at taking the utmost care of everyone in this marketplace,” Johnson said.

Though Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale had big plans for Arizona Bike Week, it wasn’t the only dealership getting into the mix. Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson, Chester’s Harley-Davidson and RideNow’s Chandler Harley-Davidson and Arrowhead Harley-Davidson were also involved.

The RideNow dealerships hosted four rides between them. On March 30 the Heroes Ride presented by Chandler Harley-Davidson benefited the Muscular Dystrophy Association. March 31 included two rides: the Hogs for Heroes run sponsored by Arrowhead H-D, which benefited families of law enforcement officers who have been seriously injured or killed in the line of duty; and the 4th annual Puttin’ for Pooches run, which raised money for the animals of the Arizona Humane Society. All three of those rides were expected to draw about 300 riders, said Matt Petrovich, marketing director of RideNow Powersports.

RideNow’s first annual Crusaders for the Children or “Child Empowerment” ride expected to draw a crowd of about 600, as “Sons of Anarchy” actors Ryan Hurst (who plays Harry “Opie” Winston) and Winter Ave Zoli (Lyla Dvorak Winston) led the ride from Arrowhead Harley-Davidson that benefited local children’s shelters, group and foster programs and events.

“H-D stores typically do better during Bike Week because of the culture,” Petrovich said. “In addition to supporting the H-D demo truck with staff, we also support all of the other manufacturers like Victory, Can-Am, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki.” All six OEMs had demo ride trucks at the event.

Cyclefest’s WestWorld featured vendors with the latest in equipment, parts, accessories and apparel. In addition to the Tesla concert, other acts at Cyclefest included Quiet Riot, Puddle of Mudd presented by Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation and REO Speedwagon presented by Bubby Stubbs Harley-Davidson.

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