Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce: Western Wisconsin opens the road to motorcycling awareness in 2013

A Coalition of Communities brings the “rumble” of a new economic impact to the area.

Sparta, WI (September, 2013) – The idea to give motorcycle enthusiasts an alternative to the annual migration to Sturgis, SD started developing a little over one year ago. Tim Hyma, the Executive Director of Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce, started collaborating with Dave Clements of the La Crosse Visitor & Convention Bureau and the idea began to take shape. Next Black River Falls, Hillsboro, Onalaska, Tomah and Trempealeau all joined in and developed five routes that intertwined in four counties taking in 65 unique destinations.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism liked what was happening and granted funds to keep the program alive, with brochures, billboards, TV and Radio. Also, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is looking at the program as a possible expansion to other parts of Wisconsin. Recently, Hidden Valleys that represent nine counties in Wisconsin partnered with the group.

In the short few months since the program was announced, the results have been a tremendous success. Over 400,000 impressions per month, 15,000 brochures have been distributed, and thousands of motorcyclists passed by the billboards on their way to Sturgis this year.
The project is gaining traction, as motorcycle magazines are asking for the story- even from as far away as Germany. Now the plan is to air a TV show with Discover Wisconsin in 2014, with strategic ad placements and radio ads to promote the area. Greg Smith, Discover Wisconsin, stated; “Western Wisconsin is my favorite place to ride, and I’m excited to see this plan come together “.

There are several runs and festivals already in the area, but if the targeted market reacts positively, then the plan is to start building events in 2015 to create an economic impact over $800,000 for the region.

As the rumble of bikers increase in western Wisconsin, so will the sound of cash registers. On average, a motorcycle rider spends $240 a day- multiply that by the thousands that ride through the area equals a winning situation for tourism in the local area. Every small town, city and county will benefit from the increased dollars spent by the visitors.

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