Fred Nabkey: Please understand I am speaking on my own behalf and not for any other board member or charity benefiting from ABN efforts. I was more than alarmed while reading your column in Thunder Press’s latest issue. Implying Awesome Biker Nights was somehow forced by someone to downsize to a “parking lot” is just plain wrong!

After 16 years in the Historic 4th Street District of Sioux City, Iowa, Awesome Biker Nights decided to move the Historic Pearl Street District of Sioux City, not the Hard Rock Casino parking lot. We moved because it was in the best interest of the rally due in part to development of a new hotel adjacent to the Convention Center in the Historic 4th Street District. The management at the Convention Center refused to give us a contract for 2016 when we were in critical planning stages in 2015. We were faced with not having an outdoor venue for our Main Stage.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino graciously loaned us the use of their outdoor venue for our main stage. As you can see from the attached map our footprint is larger than ever before. To imply otherwise is damaging misinformation.

You couldn’t have been more wrong in your assessment of the reasons for the move or the location. It is unfortunate that you didn’t reach out to anyone “in the know” for an accurate statement. All of our contact information is readily accessible at
Please print a retraction to your comments as this type of publicity damages our image as well as the many charities that have come to rely on the revenue generated. If we have one less attendee as a result of your irresponsible comments, it is on you. It may be too late to undo the damage done but at least I have said my piece.

—Andy Phillips, Sioux City, NE

Thank you for writing, Mr. Phillips, with your concerns about my column. First off I just want you to know that I gleaned my information from an article written in the Sioux City Journal on December 4, 2015, “Awesome Biker Nights Moves to Hard Rock,” by Mike Bell. As of this writing, the original article can be viewed here. If it’s no longer available online, I have a hard copy of the article for anyone who requests it. And there’s another related article, “More Downtown Sioux City Businesses Irked by Biker Nights,” also by Mike Bell, published Jun 23, 2015: click here.

These articles state that businesses were fenced off and entrances blocked because they did not pay the required $1,500 fee to be part of the event, such as the SoHo Kitchen and Bar, as well as Luciano’s and a few others. “They closed my place down,” Ray Hoffmann, owner of Luciano’s, was quoted as saying. “Usually Luciano’s pulls in around $5,000 on the weekend, but the business only made about $400 Friday and Saturday nights.” According to news sources, Buffalo Alice co-owner Bob Nettleton added, “I feel they are making a bad decision on behalf of the community. I feel they made the move to the Hard Rock because the casino’s deep pockets can give them incentives that were never discussed with us.”

Mr. Phillips, I am going to stand by what I wrote, but I do wish you and your event success this year and in your future endeavors.

—Fred Nabkey



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