By Clay Falls
SOMERVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) – A long time bike rally at Lake Somerville is now canceled.
Some of those bikers tell KBTX they don’t feel like they were being welcomed by some members of the community.
The Somerville community is now expected to take an economic hit. The annual Carts, Bikers and Babes Rally was scheduled to happen Apr. 16 through 19 at Welch Park. For decades thousands of bikers have descended on Lake Somerville in the spring, but not this year.
“One of the comments that were made in all of this was they didn’t want our kind of element in their community. Well our element is here and our element has been accepted everywhere,” said Tammy Cotten, who is a small business owner in Burleson County and also rides at the event.
“I believe it’s going to be very detrimental to our economy,” Cotten said.
She and other riders packed Somerville’s City Council Meeting Tuesday night. Riders say some of the council didn’t want the event.
Mayor Micheal Bradford told KBTX he welcomes the rally to their community but said organizers canceled the event after registration had dropped. Bradford said there are differing opinions about the rally among the city council.
He said the city doesn’t have the ability to cancel the event and it was done so by rally organizers.
Over at the Lake Somerville Marina, business is booming for spring break. But things will be quieter next month without the rally.”It hurts the businesses. It really does. It hurts the business of Somerville. You know they depend on the food, and the hotels, the store and it will hurt. It’s going to take another hit that we don’t need for this area,” said Sherri Carver, Lake Somerville Marina Owner.
Former Mayor Tommy Thompson said the event could bring in more than $40,000 to $45,000 in sales tax revenue.”Which is a lot of money for Somerville,” said Thompson. “That’s a pretty good little hot ticket item that’s to have events here that generate the sales tax revenue.”Then there were some ugly rumors in town about that’s not the image that Somerville wanted to project and it got to them and they said,
‘You know what it’s not worth the gamble.’ We’re not going to do it,” said Thompson.”Our biggest thing is to spread the word of Jesus and get everybody together and enjoy this time and bless bikes,” said Joe Gravenmier, a Christian Motorcycle Association Member.”I really hope that we can get events back going again,” said Cotten.Organizers are hoping to come back to Lake Somerville next year.
Some area bikers are still planning to rent the pavilion at Welch Park on the weekend of Apr. 18th when the rally was to happen.