Visit Johnstown steps down as operator of Thunder in the Valley
(Johnstown, PA) Visit Johnstown announced today that the organization is stepping down as the operator of Thunder in the Valley Motorcycle Rally. “It is with heavy hearts that after 25 years, and careful consideration, we’ve come to this decision,” Lisa Rager, Visit Johnstown’s executive director said.
Rager said the change will allow the organization to apply more of its time and resources to its core mission, which is marketing the area as a destination for visitors. Visit Johnstown is also part of a unified effort to rebrand Johnstown and the area as a hub for outdoor recreation, and to highlight the rich cultural and historical depth of the community, to not only attract visitors, but to attract new residents and businesses.
“When Thunder first began in 1998, we needed to find creative ways to draw people in. Thunder accomplished that, bringing tens of thousands here each year to experience our city, surrounding towns, historic attractions, the hospitality of our people, and the area’s natural beauty, “Rager said. “Since then, the area has seen substantial growth in outdoor recreation, arts and cultural offerings, concerts, and events, and more, and now it is better positioned to take another leap forward as a destination. Our organization needs to tell that story to the outside world, year-round,” she added, “and we look forward to working with our destination partners in those efforts.”
Rager noted that Thunder has weathered many challenges since its inception, but it has been more difficult in recent years to keep pace with increasing expenses. “We’ve never broken even on the event, but the level of subsidy by our organization has continued to increase.”
Joshua Yoder, chairman of Visit Johnstown’s board of directors said the board discussed and approved the decision to discontinue operating Thunder. “The board fully supports the team at Visit Johnstown, and we thank them for all they’ve done to sustain Thunder for 25 years, which is a tremendous accomplishment.”
Rager says Visit Johnstown will continue to promote the area for motorcycling. “We have incredible routes through our lush hills and valleys. We are a great riding destination Spring through Fall, and we will find new ways to communicate that to the motorcyclists.
“We extend our deep appreciation to all who have supported us, including our sponsors, our key partners, the unsung heroes who have worked in the trenches with us, our hundreds of volunteers who have donated thousands of hours to this event. We also thank the many businesses that welcomed our Thunder guests year after year. Without all of you, Thunder would not have been possible.”
Visit Johnstown is Cambria County’s official tourism promotion agency that was established to promote travel to Cambria County; to serve as a leading advocate for programs and projects that will enhance Cambria County’s tourism industry; and to promote greater recognition of travel and tourism as a leading contributor to Cambria County’s economy and its quality of life.
25th anniversary logo designed by Dan Hockenberry