Several motorcyclists voiced their concerns to Casper City Council on Tuesday about the controversy over suggestions about banning colors and changing the route of the annual motorcycle awareness parade on Saturday.

A few days before the parade, a social media firestorm arose over reports that colors -- patches and other insignia -- would be banned.

A police department spokeswoman responded that it was a suggestion to focus on the event rather than individual organization affiliations.

"We are not banning them in any way, shape or form," Rebekah Ladd said.

But those concerns remained, even after hundreds of bikers rode from the east side Walmart to Glenn Road in north central Casper.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Brenda Sanders complimented the city for its escort and cooperation, including Mayor Charlie Powell's proclamation before the ride.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
Brenda Sanders. Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

But several weeks before Saturday's parade, one of the organizers heard a suggestion by an unidentified city official or officials to shorten the route, Sanders said.

The bikers have held the event for 32 years without any problem or any substantial change in the route in part because it attracts a lot of spectators, she said.

Even more disturbing, however, was the request to not wear colors, Sanders said.

"We don't have 1-percenters," she said, referring to bikers who belong to outlaw gangs.

She is a member of Guardians of Children and other local social service biker organizations that have contributed to the community. The patches and insignia she wears from those organizations are earned.

"Even the insinuation was a real offensive thing to say," Sanders said. "By wearing these, we let the community know we're out there."

Paul Paad echoed his concerns and the biker organizations contributions to the community, adding that the requirement to obtain insurance for the parade was something new.

Paad looked at the city's requirements for parade permits and found nothing in it about requiring insurance, he said.

It didn't make sense anyway because all the bikers have insurance with their motorcycles, he said.

It's possible that next year there won't be a parade along a fixed route, but instead have people just ride around town, Paad added.

After they and others commented, Powell said he wanted city staff to look into how these issues arose and discuss them at the next council work session.

"Some feel like they feel like they were singled out," Powell said. "We want this to be better the next time around."

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