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I have some major frustrations that I am going to share with you all regarding my time at the Wharf Rat Rally...

Why? Because as a the editor of a community news paper for riders I think it is important to tell you the truth of my personal experiences and the people I know and have talked to so that you can make informed decisions be you an attendee or a potential vendor, media person, entertainer or VIP.

Normally I let the little stuff go by, I might make a suggestion or two to the coordinator to help them improve their event and talk to them directly about challenges or issues - but when the discussion I tried to have with this rally's coordinator fell on deaf ears I decided that since it doesn't appear it will get better any time soon I had an obligation to you - the reader to not blow smoke up your arse...

Perhaps this editorial will serve to educate the biking community of the treatment some of the media and some of the VIP's were subjected to. And perhaps this community will help push the community of Digby into finding someone else to head up the rally that will balance the need to make money with the simple things in life like common sense, common courtesy and common decency.

Bean're and his crew had deluxe accommodations at this year's Wharf Rat Rally.
I personally think it is a good thing that the person who won the all expenses paid ride to the rally in the contest Bean're held had a family emergency and had to head back for home. I think this person might have been a tad disappointed in the accommodations in Digby...

Can you imagine coming from Florida, Boston, Tennessee or any of the other locales that this group came from, promoting the Wharf Rat Rally the whole way only to be put up in the Army Barracks at Annapolis? According to Melinda from Cycle Source Magazine that is where they were put up and the beds were cots with inch and a half mattresses and while some of Bean'res eclectic crew didn't seem to mind, Melinda asked to be housed somewhere else and some of them just went home.

She said she did not enjoy sharing the bathroom and shower with the men in the crew at all and that it was unnerving to hear them tinkling in the middle of the night not to mention other bodily functions that take place in your sleep like farting and snoring.

My own experiences with the organizer and the admin assistant were less than stellar and as long as this person and the admin assistant are at the helm of this event I won't be back to it.

I can not imagine hosting an event where the people in the media are treated so badly and where common sense, common courtesy and common decency do not exist within the upper echelons of the event management. When I hosted events my VIP's, entertainers and the media were treated like royalty because you can NOT BUY the kind of publicity these people give you freely - especially when they are treated well. Some of the sponsors were not too happy either - one in particular was rather upset to find that their ad was not in the rally guide book as it should have been and their vending spot was rather, distasteful as well...IMHO.

I personally went to have a chat with the organizer to say good bye and to tell him that he had a few really stellar volunteers and that if it hadn't been for one man in particular - Terry - who busted his hump to try and make things as right as he could - I would have left the very first day - his response? "Oh, OK" that was it...No - I am sorry you feel that way, no - what could we do to make it better, NOTHING - just "Oh, OK".

(Terry had rescued me while I was in tears in the parking lot over the treatment I had gotten from the admin assistant for the rally - he asked what was wrong, I told him and I told him I was turning around and heading back to PEI to be with my husband. This man went above and beyond and kept me at the rally - and because of the great time I had with friends and riders from across the country - I am glad he did.)

The people of Digby outside of the rally coordinator are such warm and loving people. The volunteers who assisted me were incredible - but most of them did not come from within the rally but courtesy of my friend Sweet T who had her daughter and cousins and friends come spell me in my booth or help me to hand out the goodie bags from Grande Prairie Tourism and the Busted Knuckle - or my friend Dave Balderson from the River Rat Rally in Ganonogue ON who came and brought me a sandwich and water and spelled me for a half hour so I could do an interview and have a bathroom break - these were caring, considerate and kind people.

These people and the riders who came to celebrate being a biker are what made the event great in spite of the rudeness and callous indifference that was my experience with the admin assistant and the coordinator.

The town of Digby - like many other communities relies on tourism to help keep the community going and this rally has over 6 years been very good to and for the community.

However, there are many upset vendors, media, entertainers and VIP's who will find it very hard to want to ever come back to this event unless the people at it's helm change and that is tragic. Guys like Bean're may come back because Bean're is a professional tourist and he makes his living from these kinds of events - doing trick riding and generally acting like a busker but most of the rest of us will not come back any time soon - at least that is how most of us are feeling right now.

The water front in Digby, the police services and the community itself are pretty fantastic - it is just too bad that the event has become - in my humble opinion from what I have seen, experienced and heard - such a cash grab. The event reportedly has lost money in the past and they are trying to make up for that all in one year by the looks of it. (There has been, according to the locals that I talked to, a huge amount of controversy with this event and its management in the past as well)

Reportedly vendors booths went from $250 to $400 for a 10 x 10 - the booths by the band stand almost doubled as well... (In this economy - that is a financial hardship and burden that most small business people can not handle - after all they had to pay fuel, meals, accommodations and close up their own locations/shops or pay someone to run them to be here). Hence why there were so few vendors in attendance.
 
I am saddened - because I had looked so forward to this event. The old coordinator that had originally booked me to come to the show as media and a VIP had made me a lot of promises but once he was replaced - reportedly over politics, all of the things that were supposed to be taken care of and happen did not. The blame game is all a person got from the new organizer.

If you are a vendor and you decide to give the Wharf Rat Rally a try - you might want to think on it long and hard. Shediac, Charlottetown and Cape Breton have just as much to offer and treat the people who make their event - the vendors, the media, the entertainers and the other VIP's a whole lot better...at least that has been either my experience and or knowledge as shared by others...

In my humble opinion - I will be back to visit Nova Scotia - the people here and the scenery and history have made me want to come back - but to be honest I don't give a Wharf Rat's Ass about the Wharf Rat Rally and will not be back unless things change - drastically.

I am officially on vacation until the 23rd of September - blog posts and updates will take place as I feel like it cause I am going riding - after the weekend that just transpired and the challenges I have faced while on this trip I need some wind therapy.... seriously!

As always, your feed back is important - please wade in on this topic - cause I need other perspectives on this subject - either that or I need a Valium...

For all of the latest news - visit www.beltdrivebetty.com

Until the 23rd of September...
I hope and pray that if you are riding today you will Ride defensively, ride your own ride - do NOT let peer pressure get the best of you...Ride like everyone around you is BLIND, has an UNSAFE load and IS out to get you and please - ride Proud not Loud - invest in a 140 DB Air horn instead!
AND CHECK YOUR TIRES AGE - AND YOUR TIRE PRESSURES DAILY!!!!


Belt Drive Betty
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Foundation for Injured Riders, Rights & Education
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  1. Sorry this event went the way it did.
    Dixie Olin, artforbikers.com was suppose to be there. Due to the change in promoters, she was uninvited so Dixie joined us at our Porcupine Press 21st Birthday Bash.
    Join us Aug 26-28, 2011 for Our Porcupine Bash 2011, Salute to Our Military
    Dan Lawson Band, bike rodeo, great food, more info soon.
    We survived our 1st Bash & we're going to do it again in 2011
    Porcupinebash.com

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  2. Sorry this event turned out so badly for you on so many levels, BDB. As part of the executive for the Old Bastards, a vintage bike group who are holding our 9th rally next weekend, I'll be thinking about how to make our event better by learning from your bad experiences. If you're near Delta, Ontario next Saturday or Sunday, feel free to stop by...we're not a huge event, but we do have an awful lot of fun!

    Not at all surprised that Dave Balderson would pitch in and help you out...I've known him for many, many years, and he's just that kind of guy. He does an amazing job at the River Rat Rally in Gananoque, and since he travels to other events he knows what it's like to be both an organizer and a visitor.

    Sounds like there were some positive points to your travels in the long run, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your holidays and wish you sunny skies and smooth roads for the ride back home.

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  3. Bernie7:06 AM

    One of the main issues of the WRR is the length of it. It started out as a long weekend Rally, now 6 days, too long for such a small area with limited accomodations and facilities. It was a good rally until they decided to turn it into something the area can't handle.
    You may have had some issues, but do you have to flog the problems as if there is nothing good happening.
    You like to dwell on the negative.

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  4. Hmn it seems to me after riding for 30 years that it all started by bikers for bikers and general public of course ,demonstrated in our kind nature then god bless iver ,greed set in by promoters raiseing the price for vendors to attend and chargeing general public we need to bring back the kindness of us all Wharf Rat being prime target for this kinda greed nice to see you rollin down the road Betty

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  5. I think Belt Drive Betty and I were at different places, I thought the Wharf Rat Rally went very well. Maybe if she tried walking in the shoes of some of the volunteers that tried to help her, she would see the pain that they endured. Try attending the Wharf Rat Rally next year as a biker and not a reporter, you might just see what the common folk enjoy. Sometimes being way up there in the thinner air, can impair one's thoughts.

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  6. Dear Newtoyou - you are a coward hiding behind a no visible profile setting but none the less I am publishing yoru comment to point out to you that you did not really read what was said. I thanked the volunteers who helped me - each one individually and for those who went out of their way I gave them tee shirts - a hug and a kiss. The volunteers is NOT what my editorial was about - it was the Chairman and the Admin Assistant - I am saddened that you would try to paint me in the light of someone who figures she is better than everyone else - that is not who I am.

    I am so disappointed that people who travelled 2-3 and 4 THOUSAND miles - who did promotion for this event were housed in a barracks and asked to sleep in quarters that had cots - not beds. If you won the contest Bean're held how would you feel about Digby's hospitality? It is wrong to treat people the way that the Administration assistant and the Rally chair did - the volunteers as I said in my editorial were amazing, kind and warm hearted people.

    It is too bad you chose not to read the entire article and it is equally too bad you choose to hide your identity to take a poke at me but such is the way of the world these days.

    I stand behind what I have to say about the rally and the way it was run - the volunteers didn't have anything to do with the decisions about where to house people or who to honour sponsors or treat VIP's.

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  7. Dear Bernie - I most certainly do not dwell on the negative - I had a lot of fun at the event but not because of anything the event coordinator did for me - because of the fabulous volunteers and the riders...that's why it was a good time for me

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