There is a tribe of wandering peddlers who make a big piece of their annual income by following bikers around the country.
All the tee shirt vendors, tattoo artists, patch sellers, leather vest, novelty helmet, and biker jewelry impresarios do not just all look alike. They are all actually the same people wandering from Laconia, to Daytona to Sturgis to Hollister and a hundred rallies in between.
And, they are not immune. The same idiots who are trashing everybody’s American Dream are trashing their dreams, too.
The latest example was Biketoberfest, held this past weekend in Daytona.
Next Time Buy A Cone
Kerri Chesley of Caren’s Ice Cream, told Orlando television station WMBB, that the economy is hurting her business. “We see it all over the place,” Chesley told a television reporter. “We see it from the tip top of Maine, all the way down here to Florida, and it has gotten a lot harder this year, for sure.”
In South Daytona Beach, vendors must pay $200 for a permit. And, there were about half as many applications this year as last.
Accurate attendance, sales and revenue statistics are often impossible to obtain for these events. But, event boosters commonly say that Biketoberfest attracts 200,000 visitors and that they spend an average of about $1,000 each.
The Gecko’s Best Friend
One of Biketoberfest’s best known supporters is Bruce Rossmeyer. Everybody has seen Rossmeyer in a series of Geico Insurance commercials themed “My Best Friend and Me.” Rossmeyer is the portly gentleman who is not dressed up in a gecko suit.
Rossmeyer is also the largest Harley dealer in the country. He owns eight dealerships in the south including Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson located at Destination Daytona. Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona is designed to ensure that a biker never has to actually go outside to spend any of his money. It includes a 109,000 square foot dealership, two hotels, a condo complex, seven restaurants, specialty shops, a J&P Cycles superstore, a custom cycles shop and a truck stop.
Baby, What Did You Say Your Name Was
This weekend, Rossmeyer’s biker emporium also offered “Biker Weddings” for $450. The weddings include a photograph, a bouquet with leather streamers and a marriage certificate with a gold seal that Rossmeyer suggests some people might want to frame and hang up in their living rooms.
Anyway, business this weekend was good for Rossmeyer. “Part sales were the best since I’ve been in business,” Rossmeyer told the Orlando News-Journal.
Tom Guest, who runs Choppers World on Main Street, told the same paper that his sales were down. “We had a real good crowd, but people don’t have the money,” Guest said.
And Bruce Garrigan who runs the Boot Hill Saloon thought, “the crowds are a little thinner this Biketoberfest.”
Don’t Worry The Cops Are Alright
Even Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood thought this year’s event was unusually quiet. There were no fatalities, little violent crime, and Chitwood called the crowd, “very well-behaved crowd.”
Don’t worry about the cops, though. Even though the crowds were thinner and more sober than ever, Volusia County Sheriff’s and Daytona Beach Police still wrote more tickets than ever before.