Out of My Mind 41

A few of the tents set up at Oroville's Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial Park. Photo by Gary DeVon

A few of the tents set up at Oroville’s Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial Park. Photo by Gary DeVon

Kudos to owners and new managers of the Camaray Motel

One maxim that proves true for Chambers of Commerce and tourism groups everywhere is that the longer you can get a visitor to stay, the more they will end up spending in your community.

This certainly proved true a few weeks back when the Valley BMW Riders, a motorcycle club mostly from Southern BC, but with a few members in Washington and Idaho, held their annual Last Chance Campout at Oroville’s Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial Park. Although it was the Valley BMW Riders’ (soon to be Valley Beemer Riders) event, they were the hosts and all motorcycle groups, especially those who belong to the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, were invited to attend. The campout was listed in the MOA’s magazine which has a wide distribution across the U.S. and Canada and that certainly helps to get the word out.

So there were riders from Valley BMW Riders, BC Beemers, the Inland NW BMW Riders (from the Spokane area) and the Tri-Cities, as well as riders from the Washington State Club. Last year there were several Triumph owners who camped nearby too. Although the weather was a little cooler than last year’s three days of sunshine, at least it wasn’t as rainy as it was in 2009.

The point is that of those 25 plus people who attended, members of the group ate at every restaurant in town at least once, spending those much-needed tourist dollars ñ and in October no less. Between rides in this very motorcycle tour-friendly area they filled their bikes with gas, bought snacks and refreshments at the local grocery stores and created a small boost in the local economy.

But it’s not just motorcycle riders we should be working to attract. We should be going after car clubs, birdwatchers, canoeists and any other group that has disposable income that they’d like to spend in an area eager to host them.

The City of Oroville was a great host for the BMW group as they lowered their already reduced camping spot fee by allowing three tents, instead of the normal two, to share a camping spot. Parks Department Head Rod Noel gets the club’s gratitude for making the two-wheeled campers feel welcome and for lending the group the Fire Department’s coffee urn for the weekend.

The VBR is already talking about coming back next October. Now if we can only figure out a way to get those 300 or so Harley riders to spend the night during the Run for the Border Rally each May, that would really be a boost to the economy.