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OC BikeFest will be under new leadership for 2014

(Jan. 24, 2014) Although the 2014 iteration of the OC BikeFest will be largely unchanged from previous years, the landmark resort event will now be under new leadership as former event head Cliff Sutherland has sold his stake in the project.

“I was never in it for the long haul,” Sutherland said. “The city gets a great event, and now I finally get my life back. I think my wife is happier about it than I am.”

Sutherland and two of his partners in OC Jams, LLC, the company responsible for the event, have sold their interest to the fourth partner, Kathy Micheal.

As BikeFest’s now sole proprietor, Micheal will be running the event through her long-standing company, Katancha Corporation, which stages motorcycle festivals and rallies across the country.

“I’m really proud of this event and wanted it to continue, so I basically bought the rest of them out,” Micheal said. “But it will be the same event, run the same way, and 95 percent of the people who were involved will still be involved.”

OC Jams was formed six years ago, Sutherland said, to manage events as part of Delmarva Bike Week and improve the atmosphere of the rally.

“Six years ago, things were going in the right direction and it wasn’t the right event for the town, so I got involved,” Sutherland said.

Micheal noted that OC Jams had originally expected to purchase Delmarva Bike Week, but instead formed its own event in 2011 after the closure of the Harley-Davidson dealership on Route 50 meant that Delmarva Bike Week would have no venue close to Ocean City.

“Everyone knew we were in there to make sure it would go in the right direction,” Sutherland said. “To make sure that our visitor had a little more disposable income, so to speak.”

With the massive popularity – and profitability – of BikeFest, OC Jams was able to finally purchase Delmarva Bike Week last year.

Micheal’s company works out of Wisconsin, close to Milwaukee, where Harley-Davidson’s corporate headquarters is located. Katancha ran several locations at Harley’s 110th anniversary celebration this past year.

“A lot of my help comes directly from the motorcycle industry,” Micheal said. “We have a great team that’s been doing events like this for 19 years.”

The 2014 BikeFest will be a similar setup to previous years, with headline musical acts at the inlet and vendors at the convention center.

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