WAYNESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – After several weeks of promised announcements and concerned event goers demanding answers, Nashville Bike Week has a venue, and News 2 got a look at it Tuesday.
American Rebel Mud Park in Waynesboro plans to host the 10-day motorcycle event on its property. The owner of the business, Stan Chiras, told News 2 he agreed to a five-year lease to host and help promote the event.
“I am a lifelong biker of more than 50 years,” he said. “We are going to honor the tickets sold and do the best we can to deliver on the promises made.”
Chiras was not involved in Nashville Bike Week prior to last week when organizer Michael Leffingwell, also known as Mike Axle, was arrested in Kentucky on outstanding warrants from multiple states and federal probation violations.
“When I heard the Opryland venue fell through I reached out to the organizers and told them about my place,” Chiras explained. “I talked to Mike that day, but he ended up getting arrested that afternoon.”
Another organizer came to the Waynesboro location and met with Chiras. He agreed to help put on this year’s event and subsequent bike weeks.
“I’ve been in business my whole life and I have always done what I said I was going to do,” Chiras said. “I am trying to give these people the best event possible.”
He continued, “I don’t know if I can fulfill all the promises made to them but I will do my best.”
The American Rebel Off Road Park is more than 500 acres and includes campgrounds, a concert area, mud pits, and access to the Buffalo River.
The venue is currently working to upgrade the roads and exploring adding boosters for enhanced cell phone service.
American Rebel Off Road Park (Photo: WKRN)
Chiras said Axle is no longer associated with the event and contracts that were in place before he started working with the organization are being discussed.
Janelle Roberts told News 2 she is an independent agent contracted to promote Nashville Bike Week. She also said Axle is no longer affiliated with the organization, though they are working to uphold some of the contracts he signed.
“People are really excited about it,” she said. “I think with it being so close to the event date people are excited to have somewhere to go first of all.”
She continued, “We nailed down a great venue because it has got riverside access for hiking and canoeing.”
Gene Simmons of Kiss was set to headline the event. It is unclear if he will still perform.
“I have spoken to his management and I will talk to them later this week,” Roberts said. “So I cannot comment on that at this time.”
According, to Chiras, the venue will not allow for more than 5,000 campers overnight so the event can move forward without a mass gathering permit from the Tennessee Department of Health.
The department previously denied NBW’s application citing a lack of required resources including medical staff and water for attendees.
Roberts said refunds will not be issued for tickets already sold.
“They have ordered tickets and camping under a no-refund policy and we at this point are providing everything they paid for,” she said. “We are moving forward.”
She continued, “I have never seen so much team work and positivity. The biker community is coming together saying we want this to happen and we are all going to be there to support you.”
Nashville Bike Week is scheduled for Sept. 14 to 24 at the Waynesboro park located at 3301 Natural Bridge Road.