The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

June 19, 2013

READY TO ROLL: Vendors prepped for rally

JOHNSTOWN — Food vendors, merchandise sellers and bar operators alike spent Wednesday afternoon turning downtown Johnstown into a vibrant hub for the thousands of motorcycle riders expected to roll into the city for Thunder in the Valley.

Tents and trailers popped up at Central Park, the Train Station, Peoples Natural Gas Park and Biker Mall in preparation for the event that gets underway today.

Those vendors are an important part of the annual motorcycle rally. Some are small, locally owned businesses. Others are nationally recognized.

One of the biggest operations is the Broken Spoke Saloon, which first came to Thunder in the Valley last year.

“We’re thrilled to be back here,” said Robert Cappadona, Broken Spoke Saloon’s general manager. “The setup here is so much more exciting for us because we’ve done one year here. We’re coming in here with a really strong map and strong sense of what we need to do for this rally and what the guest experience is all about.”

This year, the pub will sell alcohol at three different locations. Broken Spoke Saloon also played an important role in getting southern rockers Molly Hatchet to come to town for a free concert on Saturday night.

“We’re starting to bring a little bit more of our signature stuff in here,” Cappadona said.

Broken Spoke Saloon is a familiar presence at biker events across the country, including the well-known Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Cappadona said Johnstown’s family atmosphere separates it from most of the other gatherings. “That’s something that’s really kind of unique and exciting for us,” Cappadona said.

Nicole Charbonneau, a worker with apparel seller Motorcycle Rally USA, concurred: “It’s beautiful here. ... Johnstown is more family-orientated. It’s not like real hard-core bikers, like Sturgis and others like that. It’s easygoing.”

Part of the family feeling is created by many local businessmen, such as Rob Crist, being involved. Crist is the franchiser of the recently founded Rob’s Rib Shots. One of his franchise operators, Charlie Cox, has a BBQ trailer located on Locust Street by Central Park.

“For me, it’s a lot of passion and being able to provide a good product, a good service for the Johnstown area,” Crist said. “It’s important to me.”

This is the first year Rob’s Rib Shots has been part of Thunder in the Valley.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths July 31, 2014

    July 30, 2014

  • Smaller payout to seniors urged

    State Lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 29, 2014

  • Portage ambulance aid will add portable CPR device, other tools

    Federal funding awarded to Portage Area Ambulance Association will soon put “a third man” alongside their two-person crews when emergencies occur, ambulance operations manager Edward Nelson said.

    July 29, 2014

  • paint_twp building Paint Township considers offering part of building for rent

    Four years after Paint Township built an addition at the Basin Drive building to house its growing police department, much of the new space likely will be offered for rent this fall because the township supervisors say it's no longer needed.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old Rockwood hotel will soon be history

    The historic – but dilapidated – Merchants Hotel in Rockwood is expected to be razed soon.
    On Tuesday, Somerset County’s three commissioners unanimously agreed to a demolition plan for the building, which was constructed in the 1880s. The arrangement calls for a private citizen, William Nair, to tear down the structure at 703 Main St. in exchange for being allowed to keep any salvageable materials.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 30, 2014

  • ATV blast ready to roll at Rock Run

    Organizers are keeping the spirit of the Fisher’s ATV Reunion at Rock Run Recreation Area alive despite losing the support of the award-winning Outdoor Channel TV show “Fisher’s ATV World.” Now called the Rock Run ATV Summer Blast, the event will continue to offer demonstration rides, motor competitions, product vendors, live music, camping and trail riding.

    July 29, 2014

  • Culvert 1 Preservationists use age-old method at historic site

    Preservation work on two historic culverts associated with the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site has been completed. The culverts were reconstructed using a variety of techniques, including dry stone masonry, which was used to build the culverts more than 180 years ago.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 7/30/2014

    July 29, 2014

  • Officer, civilian motorist injured in crash

    A Johnstown police officer who was responding to an emergency and one other driver were taken to the hospital after they were injured in a three-vehicle accident around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday on Railroad Street at the intersection with Clinton Street and Church Avenue.
    The Johnstown Fire Department said that the three occupants of the third vehicle were not injured.

    July 29, 2014


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads