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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Soldiers for Jesus to move motorcycle rally to KCK

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Regional Soldiers for Jesus Motocycle Club president Frank "Pancho" Nicholson shakes the hand of Council Member Kim Herring after he announced that the club would not sponsor a motorcycle rally in 2024. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PLEASANTON – The Soldiers for Jesus Motorcycle Club will not be sponsoring the Thunder on the Street motorcycle rally in 2024 in Pleasanton. The club has sponsored a rally for the last three summers in the city.

Frank “Pancho” Nicholson, president of the Kansas chapter of the club, delivered that news in person to the Pleasanton City Council on Monday, Nov. 13.

Nicholson said that after reading accounts of concerns about what the rally was costing the city and having a new opportunity open up to have the rally elsewhere, the club in a split decision had decided to change venues for next year.

“It breaks my heart,” Nicholson said. “We never wanted to cause division anywhere.”

The council has debated the city’s involvement in the rally over the past month, with Council Members Kim Herring and Rochelle Schreckhise questioning the cost of the event. The council made a $6,000 contribution to the event out of the council’s own budget last year,.

However, the council members said that didn’t cover actual costs picked up by the city, which included overtime pay for city workers including public works and police departments. Both council members said they were not opposed to the rally as long as the correct amount of city funds were budgeted for it.

They also pointed out that most of the businesses in town don’t benefit from the spending that occurs at the vendor booths during the event.

Council Members Jake Mattingley and Aaron Portmann, on the other hand, said that the rally was worth the cost because it drew people to the city.

A report issued late last month by City Clerk Becky Hegwald showed that the rally did not contribute much to sales tax revenue.

However, Nicholson provided benefit to his organization because it was able to “bring the glory of God” to motorcyclists.

“Peoples’ lives have been changed,” Nicholson said. “This town has been instrumental in that.”

“God has opened another door for us,” Nicholson said.

The event will be moved to the Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., which will allow the event to hold motorcycle races, he said.

Nicholson said his organization would set up a booth to continue its ministry at a Pleasanton motorcycle rally if one was held.

Mattingley thanked the Soldiers for Jesus club for providing the opportunity for new people to visit the city. “There’s been a lot of positivity,” he said.

He thanked Nicholson for coming to the meeting to inform the council of the club’s decision in person.

As he ended his presentation to the council, Nicholson walked around the council tables, shaking the hand of each city official and thanking them personally.

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