Mike and Paul Fairfield are two  of the most likeable people on the planet, but the father and son team are being sued not only by Community Futures but now by the City of Merritt.

For those of you attended the 2012 GCBR - you know just how bad the policing was there and you know that the organizers were sick about it.  They knew people were leaving town in droves and there was nothing they could do about it.

I have hosted motorcycle events and I am here to tell you that if a police officer - in particular the commanding officer of a regain decides they don't like motorcycles and or the event coordinator - LOOK OUT.

In 2007 I hosted a fatal bike show in Olds Alberta. The commanding officer of the Sylvan Lake region decided he didn't like my attitude of not banning "Illegal Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Colors" and the next thing I knew I had patrol cars parked at every event entrance, people were being jacked up left right and centre, people who didn't ride were terrified to come into the event and when the dust cleared I lost 100K dollars and it damned near killed my business. It really hurt my spirit for a long time too.

The pain and effort it took to get out from under 100K in loss I have no way to express.

My only saving grace is most of it was credit card debt, that was negotiated down, otherwise I could have been in the same boat as the Fairfield's.

No one helped me to over come that debt. I had to bear it and deal with it on my own and it took a huge toll on me. Although I had every right in the world to lay formal complaint against the conduct of the RCMP, I chose not to for fear of reprisal.

I am deeply disappointed in the City of Merritt and Community Futures in the Nicola Valley for the way this rally is being handled.  These two organizations should, in my humble opinion be working with Paul and Mike, towards a resolution where they support this event and it's financial benefit to the region.

Every rider that comes to a community to support an event spends an average of close to $300+ per day over and above rally registration fees. They may choose not to register for the rally itself but come to take in the free oration of the event to see what it's all about.

$100+ for rooms, $20-40 on fuel, $100+ on food, $100+ on souvenirs and sundry items.
If 2,000 riders come out to the event that's $600,000 that is brought into the region. 4,000 riders represent 1.2 million dollars and so on...

Even if all of those riders only came to town for a day ride, the economic benefit to the community would still be in excess of $300,000 for 2,000 visitors.

The math is pretty easy to do. So why is it that no one is fighting to keep the rally alive?
Why is the local Chamber not stepping up? Have they not been approached? I don't know.

Win, loose or draw - the lawyers fees alone will kill their dream. The anti rider sentiment the RCMP of the region appeared to exhibit will leave such a horrible taste in everyone's mouth that fewer riders will go out to support their event even if they should somehow find a way to pull it off again.

I am hard pressed to find the justice here - when you compare the two large events BC has attempted to host; Sturgis North and the GCBR - hands down the better of the two events was Merritt, and yet they are being black balled and an event like Sturgis North that has hurt so many people has found a way to continue - it does not seem right to me.

I want to help Mike and Paul - I know their heart is in the right place.
I believe Western Canada deserves a really good, BIG rally.
I highly doubt, given the circumstances and the seemingly anti biker sentiments that appear to exist in Merritt, that their rally will be able to live on.

These two riders are going to end up loosing everything they have worked their life for.

Anyone got any ideas on how we could help Mike and Paul? Does anyone care?

These are the questions on my mind this morning...

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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  1. Anonymous6:15 PM

    look i realy don't know you belt drive Betty but i mean no disresprect but if there are as angels as you think they should of payed the money to the kidds like they said the money was for. if they had done so i can fore give the lones and other things cuz it was all for the kidds but it seams really no one got there money not the kidds the loans and the town so please really explain where did all the money go if you can do that and no money went in there pocket i am behind you 100% but il wait till the truth comes out in court they have not explained why the kidds did not get there money so if no one got the money where did it go and yes i worked there and i did the math over 200,000 plus they broght in please tell me where all that cash went cuz right now it looks like it went in there pocket. i dont feel sorry for pepole who uses kidds to rais money and dont give it to the kidds. sure looks bad on them right if they would of gave the kidds the money people could fore give and as for the chambers ya well there no help in this town anyways all there good for is taking our money but dont stand behind us one bit

  2. I sure hope you are wrong. I know bands and production aren't cheap and neither are tent rentals etc. it doesn't take long to burn through $200k.

  3. Anonymous1:09 PM

    I read your blog and find it quite interesting everything that goes wrong the local police are to blame. I attended the first Sturgis North and had no issues with the police what so ever we were generally riding in groups of 3 to 5 and we never really even noticed an overage of police prescence. I personally have a checkered past from my younger days but have learned if I'm not doing anything wrong they don't bother me. As far as the way they treat you from what I've read the way you constantly bash them it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why your not their favorite person. My wife and I ride to various locations in BC every summer and we have yet to be treated badly by any law enforcement. Maybe the old saying holds true you get what you ask for.

  4. I find it rather interesting how people who will not identify themselves say so much that means so little. Am I hard on the police at times - for sure - they took a job where they are held to a higher standard than the general public. Do I praise them when things go well - I sure do. You only took out of the post what you wanted to and that's OK. Too bad your post is our of touch with the article and the entire circumstances behind it.

  5. I was one of the performers on the 2012 GCBR. Not so great. As far as I know, I'm the only performer that got stiffed by the promoters, I paid my band from my own pocket. I've performed many great concerts in Merritt over the last few years. I took 2011 to overcome throat cancer, and this was one of my first concerts after getting my voice back. Blaming the failure on RCMP is BS. I play festivals all over the world, and without a high profile headliner at a concert, there is not enough advance ticket sales to cover costs. I guess the other musicians beat me to the bank before I tried to cash the check. The promoters have made no attempts to compensate me for my loss, and I've sent the word out to my musician friends to boycott any future events from this organization.

    John Lee Sanders

  6. The GCBR suffered so much loss that they are no longer operating.