Spyders take a spin through Maggie Valley
If you spotted hundreds of peculiar-looking cycles zooming through Maggie Valley this week, chances are they were Can-Am Spyder roadster owners who participated in the sixth annual Can-Am Spyders Owners Conference.
Made by Bombardier Recreational Products and Vehicles, Can-Am roadster is a three-wheeled motorcycle with a Y-shaped footprint that allows for more stability and control.
The Maggie Valley fairgrounds were almost unrecognizable Thursday and Friday when more than 800 Spyder roadsters covered the fields.
The event, which lasted through Friday afternoon, included guided rides, public demonstration rides, tickets to visit the Wheels Through Time museum, contests, a chance to win a trip to Europe, live music, mechanical service and catered meals.
There will be a chance to learn more about the roadster — and even ride it — between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday at the Eagle Nest parking lot in Maggie Valley.
Manager Chaz Rice said the conference previously was held in Maggie Valley in 2011, adding that the number of registered guests had doubled this year to 1,350.
“In 2011 we had such a great time, we decided to come back,” Rice said. “We try to move the event around the country, but we found that with the facility here, the great people and the destination, people love it. And for the group ride, people love the area.”
An official event T-shirt sale raised money to benefit the Haywood Christian Ministry. Last year, the T-shirt event sold about 800 shirts, which raised about $2,500 for a charity in Colorado.
Rice said Can-Am wanted to support a local charity as a way to help the community.
“We don’t just want to come in here. We want to make an impact,” Rice said.
The ministry, which provides care to families during crises, helps between 700-800 families a month.
John Berrong, interim director of the Haywood Christian Ministry, said the proceeds would feed more families.
“We’re just delighted they chose us,” Berrong said. “We’re right now serving 30 families’ food orders. It means so much to us to feed so many people food. It’s definitely a need right now.”
Berrong said the ministry had been helping families since 1970.
“Our goal is to help as many people as possible,” Berrong said. “As long as that’s our goal, we will continue to be successful.
Rice said the conference was developed six years ago to give Spyder owners a chance to show off the bikes and get to know other owners.
“We hold it as a thank you to the owners,” Rice said. “And it gets people excited about the Spyder and they get to know the other owners.”
Doug Taylor of Culpeper, Virginia, is enjoying his Spyder roadster after he recently retired. He said he was impressed after seeing Maggie Valley for the first time.
“I’ve been to several rallies through the year,” Taylor said. “I do it for the rides and to see different areas and to make friends.”
Taylor, who’s had his Spyder for eight months, said he invested in a roadster to have a more stable vehicle.
“It’s smooth, stable and has plenty of power,” he said. “It has a certain wow factor to it.”
Robin Cooper of Madison Heights, Michigan, said she and her husband came down for the conference even though her Spyder broke after they had registered.
“We’re not going to ride, but we’ve come to talk to the technicians here,” she said.
Cooper said she purchased a Spyder after receiving surgery and needing a more stable motorcycle.
“I’ve been on a motorcycle all my life, and I thought I was going to have to give up riding,” she said. “But my husband told me to get on it, and now you can’t get me off.
Cooper said she was enjoying the friendly atmosphere in Maggie Valley.
“In the north, the pace of living is much faster and the people aren’t as friendly,” she said. “People down here are so friendly and easy to talk to. We love it here.”
While he couldn’t confirm whether the conference would return to Maggie Valley in the future, Rice said it was a definitely possibility.
“I would have no problem coming back,” Rice said. “I love this place. The people are so great and I love this area. From Asheville west is so picturesque, but it’s the people really. The city really rolls out the red carpet for these events.”