Big weekend ahead for Sundance

By Sarah Pridgeon

 

Sundance will be a hive of activity at the end of June, with the Gold Wing Road Riders Association rally joining forces with the annual Sundance Wheel Festival, the Quilt Show and the Saturday evening hoedown street dance.

The fourth annual quilt show and the car show will take place in the center of town from 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 29. The Wheel Festival is a celebration of America’s love affair with the automobile and motorcycle

There is a $20 entry fee for the car show that includes a dash plaque and collectible t-shirt courtesy of sponsors Deluxe Harley Davidson. Prizes will be awarded for five different classes at $100 each and registration opens at 8 a.m. on June 29.

The classes of car include classic, vintage and custom, while the motorcycle categories are general and Gold Wing. An overall prize of $500 will be awarded for Best in Show.

The Hoedown Street Dance will follow on Saturday night, running from 8 p.m. through to 11 p.m. Sponsored by the ARO Restaurant and the Turf Bar, it will feature country and oldies music and a live performance from Elastix.

The Gold Wing Road Riders Association annual rally and convention begins in Sundance on June 27 and will involve three full days of activities for an expected 100 bikers. Registration for the rally will be available across the weekend for locals, whether or not they own a motorbike, and several of the events are open to the public, including the Friday night light parade.

“We’d like to invite everyone to come watch the light parade,” says Rich Goetz, Chapter Director for GWRRA in Gillette. “We’re just short of 100 registrants right now with about 60 bikes between them and out of those probably 35 or so will take part.”

The light parade will travel through town on Friday June 28 as dusk falls, at around 9:30 p.m.

“These bikes have LED lights on their wheels and tucked into  nooks and crannies, so we have the parade at night to really display them,” says Dalene Goetz. “Half the bikes are really dolled out in lights and flags and so on.”

The bikes will also play music as they travel the route. Each will be tuned to KYDT-KBFS radio as it plays a selection of biker-themed songs and guests are encouraged to bring portable radios to tune in themselves.

The public is additionally invited to the opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 28. GWRRA officers from around the state will be dressed up in Western garb for the occasion, playing historical characters like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok; though Rich knows he will be dressed as the Sundance Kid and Dalene will play Etta, neither will glimpse their costume until just before the event.

Owning a bike is not a prerequisite for registration, says Rich, and participants are welcome to follow the daily area rides in a car or register to partake in the additional celebrations. Vendors will also be stationed on the courthouse lawn on Friday and Saturday, offering such diverse wares as purses, photography, cookware, pottery and jewelry, as well as food including BBQ, candy apples and cupcakes.

Throughout the Friday, rally attendees will be encouraged to take part in the Downtown Stroll, during which they will visit city stores to promote local business. Participants will be encouraged to visit each of the seven participating stores through a phrase-solving game with associated prizes.

“The Downtown Stroll is really for promoting Western hospitality and the small-town feel,” explains Rich.

Registration is also required for the Chuck Wagon BBQ Steak Dinner on the Saturday night, which will be hosted by the ARO Restaurant and will take place in the grounds of the County Courthouse, or in the basement if the weather is inclement. The GWRRA riders will also visit the Devils Tower Trading Post on the Friday afternoon at 7:15 p.m., as part of an area ride to and from the tower.

The departure breakfast on the Sunday morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. is also for registered participants and will be held at the city park. Non-members can register beforehand by visiting http://www.gwrra-wy.org for an application form; registration at the rally will be held in the courthouse basement.