Editorial: Thunder Valley Rally debate has gone on long enough; it’s time for city council to make a decision

The back-door politics of Thunder Valley Rally played like an Olympic-caliber table tennis match last week.

That little ball was bouncing all over the place.

Tuesday, Cottonwood’s Parks and Recreation Commission stalemated with a 3-3 vote on a motion to recommend the motorcycle rally continue on for another year in Old Town Cottonwood. That prompted commission members to wash their hands of TVR and kick it upstairs to the Cottonwood City Council to take up at the council’s next meeting Feb. 7.

But then, Mayor Tim Elinski told the Verde Independent a day later that he already had set the agenda for the Feb. 7 meeting and TVR would not be up for consideration.

He would later clarify that he had called for a closed-door working meeting between himself, the city manager and select Thunder Valley Rally committee members in hopes of building consensus between the planning committee and the merchants who adamantly oppose having the event in Old Town.

Another day goes by and Elinski reports that Council Members Kyla Allen and Deb Althouse have sponsored the TVR discussion item on the agenda for Feb. 7. So, as of now, the final showdown on TVR will be Feb. 7.

All of the discussions on TVR really boil down to three choices for the city council if indeed this issue is discussed Feb. 7.

• The council elects to continue the event in Old Town, which likely means we will again have heated, contentious, divided debates on TVR a year from now.

• The council chooses to continue TVR, but in a new location such as Riverfront Park. This option, according to several city staff members, would likely kill the event.

• The council decides to discontinue Thunder Valley Rally altogether, which would be applauded by many and make the council majority voting block on such a decision the subject of scorn by just as many others.

Thunder Valley Rally represents the kind of decision that politicians agonize over. No matter which way the ball bounces on this one, council members will make enemies. There is no win-win when it comes to Thunder Valley Rally.

But this is the job the mayor and city council signed up for. The TVR debate – which often has resulted in embarrassingly ugly exchanges by people who should know better – has gone on long enough.

It’s time to make a decision and move on.


Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

geof 2 years ago

A bandstand, event tent with concessions and Porta Potties can be placed almost anywhere. Move TVR far away from Cottonwood residential homes/apartments to open land area. A decision such as this will please the most people.


papadave93257 2 years ago

As a "Christian Biker" and motorcycle minister, I was very pleased when the City of Cottonwood took over the TVR and placed it on Main street. Prior to moving here in '04, the town where I lived in California had 4 seasonal events on their Main Street. It gave my ministry an opportunity to "serve the public" in a spiritual way without people having to confront an actual church or pastor. When the "Smokeout Rally" was at the fairgrounds for a few years, we were able to minister there and give attendees a place to escape and rest. So when the City took over TVR we were again given the opportunity to serve the spiritual needs of the community. We were "comped" a vendor space for a couple of years, then "non-profits" were allowed to set up at no-charge just off site and then, the next year, we were charged $150.00, rather pricey considering we do NOT sell anything but we paid so we could serve the community. Last year the fee went to $300.00 and that was out of the question. Seems as though it's "ALL ABOUT MONEY" so unless something changes, I will boycott again this year.


tgomez 2 years ago

As a biker I think it would be great to have TVR at Riverfront or Dead Horse. Both places offer plenty of room for vendors, motorcycle parking and camping. Yes, it is cool to have Sturgis style parking of bikes, but Cottonwood is not Sturgis and we do not depend on this event for our city's livelihood like Sturgis does. If the merchants and residents of Old Town do not want it there, then lets move it to where we are all welcome. I am saddened to hear that the non-profits were charged $300 to set up. There should have been some kind of discount. Also, I hope this year the area hotels and bars do not hike their prices up just to make a fast buck. We see that happening at the Laughlin river run and the Fire & Ice run in Grants NM. It is not right.


CW_Rider 2 years ago

Would like to see council make a decision and end this annual discussion. There are a few upset merchants and residents in Old Town but if the event is moved to Fairgrounds or to River Front Park there will be new residents not happy with that decision. The committee and council will never make everyone happy. We have to think about what is best for all of Cottonwood and not just Old Town Merchants. Personally, I like the event in Old Town and hope it continues. I believe the event attracts return visitors. I am a rider and I know people from all over come to Cottonwood for this event. I always have guests from Phoenix and last year from California. I have friends who are all planning and some have booked hotel rooms for 2017.