ABATE Spring Opener 2011
ABATE of Washington Strikes Silver!
The ABATE of Washington Spring Opener held June 16-19 struck silver! Why silver and not gold? Because this year the Spring Opener, ABATE of Washington’s single largest event of the year, was hosted by the Silver Ridge Ranch in Easton, located a stone’s throw off I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass. If you didn’t or couldn’t make it, you may have just missed the start of something great.
Silver Ridge Ranch is a mountain horse ranch and campground filled with towering pines and lush pastures. It featured a range of available campsites from cozy, wooded settings to riverside grassy fields. A “natural” amphitheater served as hub for the weekend’s activities such as live music on Friday and Saturday nights and the ever favorite bike games and bike show. Campers brought theirs bikes, their folding chairs, and their blankets to encircle the amphitheater’s entertainment and there wasn’t a bad seat or view to be found. Near the amphitheater was the vendor row consisting of a decent assortment of tattoo artists, food, t-shirts, painters, motorcycle accessories and gear, jewelry and leather. The event was BYOB and there was a small store conveniently located just outside the gates to the ranch.
The buzz around the campsites was filled with enthusiasm and excitement over the choice of location for 2011. Riders walked and rode their bikes leisurely around the ranch visiting old friends and making many new ones. This had the true sense of a campout, complete with circles of friends huddled around campfires centered in their campsite. Locations were available for RV’s as well with power and water hookups. There was also a central shower facility available for campers.
Although this location was a last minute decision by the Spring Opener committee, they pulled it off as it appeared to have been a hit by just about every rider I encountered and can very well be considered a success! So many attendees I spoke with were already looking forward to the idea of returning next year.
Now to be fair, even as excited I was with the Silver Ridge Ranch, I did hear some criticism as well. The majority of complaints I heard were about the location and layout of the food and vendor area. Tucked off to the side of the grounds, with their backs to the amphitheater, the vendor “aisle” was difficult to spot, difficult to navigate as it was recently cleared and graded, and once there, you lost contact with the happenings elsewhere. Many vendors I spoke with were disappointed and said sales were down because of the location and had expressed ideas to ABATE for a better setup next year.
The “natural” bowl served ideally as the central hub for all Spring Opener activities. A favorite of many attendees, Mooseknuckle rocked the house Friday night for hours. An impressive bike show was the event of Saturday morning and in the afternoon everyone gathered to witness the fun of the bike games, with the likes of slow drags and weenie bites to name only a couple. Throughout the day several smalls groups of bikes chose to take in the local scenery by taking short rides to Roslyn and other nearby towns. And just as the sun was beginning to set over the mountain tops surrounding the campground, a spontaneous bike parade broke out and “cruised” the campgrounds. Later Saturday night, partiers were entertained with music from Cylas.
The ABATE of Washington Spring Opener committee and volunteers worked tirelessly and should be commended for all their efforts this year. Having said that, they have their work cut out for them next year, to make it bigger and better.
I do have to admit though, this was very reminiscent of the Spring Openers many of us remember from back in the day. Lots of fun, lots of friends and lots of parties. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Give it a shot next June, and you’ll be talking about it all summer!