Mon, Feb. 17

Editorial: Thunder Valley Rally survives rough roads thanks to perseverance and compromise

The Verde Valley’s relationship with Thunder Valley Rally is much like a troubled marriage that perseveres and has something good to show for it in the end.

Sometimes, such marriages need a fresh start and the same was true when TVR changed its home base from Cliff Castle Casino to Old Town Cottonwood.

Sometimes, counseling is the answer and this was a similar course taken by TVR when the City of Cottonwood chose to have a private promoter administer the motorcycle rally.

And, sometimes, there just needs to be an honest face-to-face airing of grievances and some compromise from both sides to help a marriage survive. We’ve surely seen that with TVR as some Old Town merchants have voiced adamant opposition to the event the past two years.

As a result, the TVR committee agreed to a split venue event last year with daytime events centered in Old Town and the popular evening concerts being held at Riverfront Park. The new plan was deemed a success and the past consternation so vocally expressed by Old Town merchants was greatly diminished.

Tuesday night, the TVR Committee and city staff presented a thorough overview of the 2016 event and no doubt some of the best news from that report is the cost-gap between expenses and revenue has closed dramatically. Two years ago, there was a $108,000 cost deficit to stage Thunder Valley Rally. This year it’s less than $10,000, not counting the local sales tax bounty the city collects during TVR weekend.

As the event moves forward, there is sentiment in the community that Old Town should not be closed off as a biker-only venue during the daytime hours. Public safety professionals certainly need to weigh in on that issue as the prospect of cars and motorcycles combined into such a confined space could be the proverbial accident waiting to happen. Again, there needs to be an honest airing from both sides on this debate, and the community needs to work together to find the best solution.

The best news, though, about Thunder Valley Rally is that the community found a way to make this event work when many thought the best option was to fold the tent. Cottonwood persevered. The community exercised the art of compromise.

And just like a marriage that finds its way through the rough roads of life, Thunder Valley Rally today is a story of success.

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