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Rally worth our support

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By Optic Editorial Board

Las Vegas will once again play host to the Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally this weekend, and that’s great news for our city and for the local economy.

If past years are any indication, our hotels and motels will be overflowing, our restaurants will be bustling and local gas stations will see a nice increase in business as well. The event draws thousands of visitors to Las Vegas, visitors who, besides spending money at hotels, restaurants and service stations, shop at many other local stores.

It’s a much-needed shot in the arm to the local economy, and, more than that, the rally has become a signature event for the Meadow City with motorcycle enthusiasts from throughout the state and beyond heading here like clockwork during the last weekend of July.

Given the tremendous success the event enjoys, it’s hard to believe that the rally is only in its eighth year. We’d venture to say that the success is due largely to the dedication and foresight of members of the relatively small committee that organizes the event each year. So far, they have been able to focus their attention on putting on a great rally each year, staying in the background and avoiding the squabbles that frequently end up sabotaging our community’s best efforts.
The rally kicks off late Thursday afternoon with a blood drive at the Plaza Hotel. The rally’s blood drive has become the biggest one in northern New Mexico. Last year alone, 161 units of blood were donated.

The actual festivities get under way at noon on Friday with vendor booths and DJ music at Plaza park. There will be competitions throughout the weekend and event organizers are raffling off a beautiful 48 Panhead Replica.

Mike Fields, a rally committee executive board member, estimates that the rally will draw between 10,000 and 12,000 motorcyclists to Las Vegas this weekend. Those visitors, he said, are expected to bring in between $2 million and $4 million to Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.

To be sure, not everyone looks forward to the rally. Perhaps the biggest complaint we hear has to do with the noise from all the motorcycles.

Yes, it can get a little loud, but, in our view, that’s a small price to pay for all that the rally brings to Las Vegas. So motorcyclists, we welcome you to our city. And to the committee members who put in countless hours planning this year’s Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally, we thank you for your hard work.