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Discussion often lively as Platte City plans festival

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

In what was rumored to be a potential clash of ideas and minds regarding the planning for this fall's End of the Trail Festival in Platte City, committee members kept the atmosphere fairly calm and low key for much of a meeting last week.

Last Wednesday, committee members met at Platte City City Hall to discuss this year’s two-day event, scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10.

During a similar planning meeting in November with no media present, Committee Chairman George McClintock and Platte City Mayor Dave Brooks, who serves as the entertainment representative, had a difference in opinions about the direction the festival should take.

According to the November minutes, Brooks was adamant that the name of the festival include a motorcycle name in the title.

With numerous examples discussed including: “Celebrate Platte City," “Platte City Alive," “Platte City at 165," “Platte City Fall Fling," and “End of the Trail Festival," the committee agreed on “Platte City End of the Trail Festival” by majority with Brooks voting against the recommendation.

At Wednesday’s meeting, McClintock said, “Platte City End of the Trail Festival is a good fit because it’s actually the end of the summer, the start of school and the start of fall.”

Discussion about the lack of Harley-Davidson’s support for the festival last year was also a source of disagreement at the November planning meeting and that discussion extended into last week’s session.

McClintock stated his disappointment with Harley Davidson for not having a representative at either of the two recent planning meetings.

“It bothers me that they (Harley-Davidson representatives) are not here,” said McClintock. “I feel if it benefits their corporation then they could pull themselves away or at least send their PR people to let us know where they stand.”

Brooks said Harley representatives' positions at the plant do not allow for them to take off for the meetings.

“They’re not private working people like we are, George. They just can’t walk away from their jobs,” stated Brooks.

Brooks said the plant helped during last year’s festivities by handing out flyers, as well as offering the city the chance to start the parade there.

“I don’t know how much more we can expect them to do for nothing,” said Brooks.

During the meeting, there were also several references to the Platte City event becoming a mini-Sturgis, but with a much cleaner atmosphere.

Committee member Jo Ann Lawson of Unite said, “I think this should be dedicated and focused like a mini-Sturgis.”

McClintock agreed: “That is what it started out as was being the Sturgis of Missouri.”

Platte City's first rally, held two years ago, was a huge success with the state Harley Owners Group already in the area for its state convention. Last year, with the HOG rally in Springfield, attendance at the Platte City event was down considerably.

In comparison to Sturgis, the committee discussed the idea of involving the surrounding communities of Parkville and Weston in the two-day event, like Sturgis is a 300-mile event involving Deadwood and other towns in that area.

While the discussion of an integrated car/bike show was also a main source of conflict during the November meeting, the committee elected not to combine the two shows for the September festival.

According to the November minutes, Brooks showed great opposition to the mixture of cars and motorcycles at the festival.

“A car show does nothing and I will not support it,” Brooks told the committee in November.

Instead of integrating the two shows in September, the committee announced its intent to continue the bike show at the festival and hold a car show at a later date.

During the meeting, Brooks also announced that he wanted to develop a motorcycle committee within the planning committee to be responsible for working with Harley-Davidson and the motorcycle community.

“The main job of the committee will be to bring motorcycles into Platte City,” said Brooks.

Brooks nominated committee member Billy Knighton to head the motorcycle committee, however McClintock vetoed Brook’s nomination by stating Knighton had enough projects on his plate as co-chairman of the event.

“Well, who’s going to do it then?” questioned Brooks.

McClintock fired right back with the nomination of Lawson as the chair of the motorcycle committee. Brooks said he would help Lawson with the coordination because of his relationship with the staff at Harley-Davidson.

“If we know some things are working well, then let’s don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” said Brooks. “I worked well with them and if we keep changing the committee and the people they are working with, and keep pushing them, they are going to tell us to leave them alone.”

McClintock identified his reason for the need of the committee.

“We’re forming a cycle committee and we need to know who we can coordinate with over there in management,” said McClintock.

Brooks emphasized he feels that a flyer needs to be developed immediately.

“We need a flyer. It doesn’t need to list the events but it does have to be well done and have some sex appeal and some zing to it,” said Brooks.

He also outlined the fact of the need to “start knocking on doors."

“I think we need to go after vendors and after people who are going to bring the motorcycle people to Platte City,” stated Brooks.

The committee stated the city has budgeted $10,000 for this year’s event, but is hopeful they can get some sponsors.

“The city has budgeted $10,000 for the event but hopefully we won’t have to jump through hoops to get the funding,” said Brooks.

Brooks reported that last year’s End of the Trail Rally cost $12,000.



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