Bikes to bring bucks

Kingman businesses are getting ready to roll in the green as an estimated 50,000 Harley- Davidson riders prepare to descend upon Laughlin.

The 18th Annual Laughlin River Run Millennium 2000 taking place April 26-30 is expected to have a favorable economic impact for Kingman, said Kingman Chamber of Commerce President Beverly Liles.

Business from the riders is expected to spillover from Laughlin into Kingman.

"Every year the Harley riders come to Kingman is good for our bike shops, restaurants and bars.

I understand our hotels are booked.

I just hope the weather holds out.

The bikes are fun to look at, too," Liles said.

Kingman Cycle owners Rick Van Cleve and Joe Shelton couldn't agree more.

"This is like Christmas for us.

What we do (in sales and service) on that weekend usually takes us about six weeks," Van Cleve said.

Being the only Harley-Davidson dealer in Mohave County, and being only 30 minutes from Laughlin will translate into the largest sales event of the year providing the weather is good, Van Cleve said.

They will have 10 extra mechanics and cashiers on duty and will expand their hours for the event.

They are also bringing in two extra cash registers and two extra credit card machines.

But Van Cleve and Shelton don't expect the bulk of the shop's four days estimated $100,000 in sales to come from selling motorcycles.

Van Cleve said he prefers to sell the Harleys to locals anyway.

"The riders coming in will be buying mainly Harley accessories, maintenance items, batteries, tires, spark plugs and T-shirts.

A lot of the bikers are riding thousands of miles to come to the event, the third-largest bike rally in the country," Van Cleve said.

Van Cleve expects to sell out of the 2,000 Kingman Laughlin River Run T-shirts, priced at $18.95 and $20.95.

Shelton said the service department will be very busy.

"A lot of the riders would rather spend their money on something else, but when faced with a chance of breaking down they'll come to see us for maintenance.

That's good for business," Shelton said.

Area hotels and restaurants expect to do well, Liles said.

The Brunswick Hotel on historic Route 66 in downtown Kingman is completely sold out the four days of the event, owner Jessie Guedon said.

The hotel expects to increase its restaurant and bar business significantly from Harley riders staying at the hotel and from Harley riders driving by, Guedon said.

"Speaking on behalf of all Kingman restaurants and hotel owners, this Harley event is the largest event of the year.

Even if the weather is not good, our hotel guests will probably eat and drink quite a bit in the hotel's restaurant and bar," Guedon added.

Linda Holman, a manager at the Dambar Steak House also on Route 66, is already taking reservations from Harley groups.

"We already have reservations for 50 bikers from Oregon for lunch on Tuesday and another 100 for dinner on Thursday.

It's going to be a very busy weekend.

We'll be serving a lot of steak and beer to these guys," Holman said, adding the restaurant will have a special parking area for motorcycles.