The streets of Marquette are usually full of excitement during Superior Bike Fest weekend with fans ringing their cowbells as hundreds of bikers race by. But this year, the downtown scene will be just like any other day, quiet and uneventful.
"Well I'm disappointed. I think any time you lose an event of this magnitude, that it's really, I don't know what to say, I'm speechless," says Mona Lang of the Downtown Development Authority.
The decision came down to numbers. As of Wednesday night, there were only 58 racers signed up; compare that to this time last year when there were over 200.
In 2010 over 500 bikers competed, and organizer Jim Grundstrom said he was concerned about closing that gap with the race only six weeks away.
"We had to make the decision to make silk screen shirts and buy awards and buy cowbells...and these expenses dramatically increase our exposure. To the problem at hand...called not enough money to make ends meet," says Grundstrom.
Organizers only had about $2500 invested in this year's event when they pulled the plug, which is a small price compared to the tourism dollars the city will be missing out on: an estimated two million dollars.
"When you take people coming in, we've got 1300 sleeping rooms, most of the time we have filled for this weekend. plus the spending that they do," says Pat Black of the Marquette Visitor's Bureau.
It's hard to say why bikers aren't signing up. One racer we spoke with says they're probably just procrastinating.
"I think what it is, people that race competitively, they go throughout a calendar year and they go, okay I'm going to go to this race, this race, and this race, and they play the waiting game for a bit and they decide the day before the race whether they want to go or not," says Scott Wanhala, a veteran racer.
Another suspected reason is high gas prices, since around 60 percent of racers are from outside the central U.P.
But organizers also say that just because this year's event was cancelled, that doesn't mean that the race is done for good. Organizers will be researching and trying to figure out why this year's numbers were so low so they can hopefully bring the race back next year.