GR Council Expresses Concerns Over Too Broke For Sturgis Event

GR Council Expresses Concerns Over Too Broke For Sturgis Event

GREEN RIVER — The Green River City Council expressed concerns Tuesday regarding an event to take place in Green River on August 5 and 6 called Too Broke For Sturgis.

Requests for open container and catering permits were pulled from the consent agenda to discuss by Councilman Gary Killpack as he worried about how the event will impact Green River.

Badass Brews LLC submitted a request for two open container permits, the first being for the Show Off Your Ride Car Show event on July 29, 2023, from 10 am until 6 pm, within the barricaded area on N 1st E Street from Flaming Gorge Way to Railroad Avenue. This request was unanimously approved by the Council. However, Badass Brews’ request for the same permit in the same area for the Too Broke For Sturgis event on August 5 and 6 died from a lack of a motion.

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Buck N Bar also requested for a catering permit to cater alcoholic beverages for the event, which would allow them to sell alcohol outside of their establishment and sell them from a kiosk. That request also died from a lack of a motion. Both requests will appear on the next meeting’s agenda to discuss further.

Killpack said that in a letter from Badass Brews owner Russ Hemmert, the event will be a small motorcycle rally for the people of this county and surrounding areas that cannot make it to Sturgis this year.

“Well my concern is, I don’t want Green River to be a little Sturgis. We don’t need anything like that in our community,” he said.

Safety Concerns

Killpack said that he discussed the event with the Green River Police Department (GRPD) Chief Shaun Sturlaugson, who had some concerns with staffing the event for security. Chief Sturlaugson told the Council that with special events with alcohol such as this one, there are two concerns for the police department. The first is ensuring there is a plan in place to make sure minors don’t have access to the alcohol.

The other concern is that they have some type of security. He said the request for this event included an estimate of up to 2,000 people in attendance.

“That many people with alcohol just inherently has unruly behavior at some point. So there has to be some type of security,” Sturlaugson said.

He further stated that requests for special events with alcohol have increased to the point where the police department is seeing them every week or every couple of weeks. Additionally, he said that the Too Broke For Sturgis event would be taking place the same weekend as the Nitro Truck Tour, which is already being staffed by GRPD officers.

“We only have 25 sworn officers right now so it’s hard to get guys to work all of this over time, and then it’s hard to pay all of that over time,” Sturglaugson said. “It becomes a question of responsibility at some point, as far as who provides the security. I don’t know what their security plan is at this point, I don’t think they have one, but I can tell you that we don’t have the manpower to staff this event because it’s the same weekend as the Nitro Truck Tour at the rodeo grounds, and we’re already staffing that with four officers, I believe.”

Hemmert said that he believes the event will only have 40-50 people but Sturlaugson said that the email he received stated up to 2,000. Hemmert also noted that they didn’t draft up a security plan because they didn’t think they were doing anything that would require much security.

Mayor Pete Rust pointed out that if there are not enough officers to staff the event, then it’s a public safety issue.

“If we don’t have the people to cover that properly in terms of security, that’s public safety. So if we don’t have the ability to do that, we have to have, in this process, security plans provided to us that we’re comfortable with,” Rust said.

Connotations of the term “Sturgis”

Councilman Killpack said his other issue beyond the security is with the word Sturgis and the connotations that term carries. He said the word makes him believe the event could be “a little mischievous” and wouldn’t be good for the city. 

He added that the event may be small this year, but he can see it growing over time and become bigger and bigger each year until it becomes a problem. 

Hemmert said he was approached by a group of people who wanted to have an event like Sturgis because they couldn’t make it to the actual Sturgis event in South Dakota. He said August 5 would be Poker Run and August 6 would be outdoor games such as corn hole.

“With their lack of planning and lack of time to plan, I wouldn’t expect anything too big at all. Mostly a bunch of guys on motorcycles that want to come hang out for the day, drink some beer, associate with their fellow guys that ride bikes,” Hemmert said.

However, Killpack said he struggles with allowing an event “like Sturgis” take place in Green River.

“Mr. Hemmert said they want an event ‘like Sturgis’. I don’t want an event like Sturgis in Green River, Wyoming. So I’m not in favor of anything that would be like Sturigs in our small little community,” Killpack said. “I think that will destroy our town. Yes, this year it might be little, next year it’s going to be bigger and bigger.”

Hemmert said that Killpack may be surprised what Sturgis is like now.

“Sturgis nowadays is guys from California, New York, New Hampshire, South Carolina, that fly into Sturgis, rent a motorcycle in Rapid City and drive the motorcycle around in the Black Hills for three days,” he said.

However, Killpack said he cannot support it.

Mayor Rust said that if the event does have 2,000 people he will not vote to approve it.

“I would certainly say again, based on what the Chief is saying, if somebody is going to submit something for 2,000 people, I’m just going to tell you I’m not voting for it. We don’t have the ability to do it, we were just told that,” Rust said.