The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

July 1, 2014

'It was a successful rally' | Kudos to all involved with Thunder in the Valley

JOHNSTOWN — A calm has descended upon the region now that legions of motorcycle enthusiasts have headed home.

The 17th edition of Thunder in the Valley is in the books. And by early estimates, it has been another favorable event.

“It was a successful rally,” Lisa Rager, executive director of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “All went well.”

Final attendance figures will not be available until Rager and her staff are able to powwow with those responsible for sales, trash hauling and porta-johns servicing.

Rager remarked that attendance at other large-scale rallies was off a bit, but Johnstown’s rally seemed to be holding steady.

One way to possibly gauge how noteworthy, or rowdy, the party was could be with the number of calls handled by the Johnstown Police Department.

Police Capt. Andy Frear told our Dave Sutor that no Thunder-related arrests were made during the course of the four-day event. That’s remarkable, given the number of visitors who were in town.

Also noteworthy, Rager said, was how relatively clean the town was after the rallygoers left, especially given the size of the crowd and the number of venues.

“It’s a tribute to people who care and respect the community,” she said, referring to the number of arrests and tons of trash at a recent Luke Bryan concert at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.

The only blemish on this year’s rally was the death Saturday of an Erie woman who was a passenger on her husband’s motorcycle.

The accident happened in Blair County, and police said the couple were heading home after attending Thunder in the Valley.

“It was unfortunate,” Rager said. “We stress safety. We want people to arrive safely, and we especially want them to get back home safely.”

Rager and her crew will not have any time to savor their laurels, however.

They soon will have follow-up meetings with the Thunder task force, Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education and the city to discuss what worked, what didn’t, and how the CVB can improve the soiree going forward.

Comments relayed to us were that there should be interactive games for the bikers and a return of the burn-out pit.

“We get feedback, such as letters and emails, complimenting us,” Rager said.

“And we also get constructive criticism, which is always helpful.”

We congratulate Rager and her staff of tireless workers for another wonderful party. We also commend the army of volunteers who helped to set up, operate and clean up.

And we’re eagerly awaiting word of the 18th in-stallment of Thunder in the Valley, especially who the CVB can land as the headline entertainment.

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