Muskegon Bike Time is a three-day motorcycle event started by Hot Rod H-D in 2007.
The event was established to promote motorcycling and tourism in downtown Muskegon. Vendors, entertainment tents, concerts, stunt shows and a motorcycle-only main street drew crowds from all over the country. The event is spread out over eight blocks in downtown, with Hot Rod anchoring one end. The event is promoted across a multi-state region, contributing to the growth of the event and the exposure of the community to tourism dollars.
During the event, Hot Rod turns five of our 10-acre property into a beer garden and concert venue (bike parking and vendors on the rest). Hot Rod sponsors and manages the free and $5 cover concerts (which have included Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bad Company, Mitch Ryder, The Marshall Tucker Band and Molly Hatchet). Partial proceeds from beverage sales and cover charges at the concerts are donated to the American Red Cross. To date, this event has raised over $115,000 for the Red Cross. Various other charitable organizations such as the Veterans, Christian Riders Association, Every Women’s Place, Webster House Youth Services and The James Fund have also received contributions from the event.
Hot Rod H-D solely planned, funded and promoted the Muskegon Bike Time event for the first two years with an initial investment of $500,000. Hot Rod has since established the event as a nonprofit, elected a board of directors and hired a management company to help with sponsors, promotion and operations. The event has made a small profit the last four years and is working on paying back the initial investment to Hot Rod H-D. Hot Rod remains on the Bike Time Board and invests an additional $30,000 into the event annually, sponsoring the concert venue.
The additional sales over the three-day weekend balances out the annual sponsorship for a flat net gain, and it will be many years before the initial investment of 500,000 is repaid by the event. However, Hot Rod feels that the ROI is measured in more than just monetary value for their business. The goal to promote motorcycling and bring more tourism to downtown Muskegon has been achieved. Today, the entire city is onboard, as an estimated 100,000+ people and 65,000 bikes attend the three-day event. New survey data taken at the 2012 event indicates that attendants spend an average of $100 to $200 per person, per day, resulting in a $20 million+ economic impact for the area. This is a huge ROI for the entire city and surrounding areas and Hot Rod couldn’t be prouder to have been the catalyst for this achievement.