The first ever Cool Mountain Thunder Bike Week kicked off with maybe 100 bikers in town, congregated primarily between the Hotel Nevada and the Rio Bar when they weren’t out enjoying the nearby highways.

“It was a small but still a great start for what we hope will become an annual event here in Ely,” said Gary Cook, an organizer of the event. “Everyone seemed to have a good time and for the most part, everyone was well behaved.”

The event kicked off with many bikers joining the McGill parade on Friday. Later in the evening, Club Rio was packed with bikers as the bands 8 Seconds and Brian Ward provided entertainment to a full house.

Saturday began with a raffle run to Wheeler Peak that was a benefit for the Ely VFW Post.

“We didn’t have the turnout we expected,” Cook said, “but we did have a lot of local folks participate, which was surprising to us. There’s a lot of bikers in Ely and we were glad to have their support.”

Later in the evening, local talent Brian Ward joined 8 Seconds along with a few other guest vocalists and musicians, providing a rocking night of music that was enjoyed by the crowd that spilled out of both doors and onto the streets for most of the night. There was a best tattoo contest followed by a wet T-shirt contest, both of which got the audience on their feet, screaming and cheering.

The music went on well into the morning hours, leaving few to join the Bloody Mary Run to Eureka on Sunday morning. For those who did partake though, it was a chilly ride but the run even attracted bikers from Eureka, who rode to Ely in support of the local VFW.

While the mid-week was left open for riding the empty, yet scenic highways of the Great Basin, this upcoming weekend will be just as action-packed. On Friday, Brian Ward will perform from 5-8 p.m. at the Hotel Nevada’s Postal Palace, Ely’s premier entertainment venue. 8 Seconds will then play at Club Rio from 8 p.m. until everyone gets tired.

On Saturday morning there will be a final 50/50 raffle run to Wheeler Peak, then Brian Ward will return from 5-8 p.m. at the Postal Palace, followed by 8 Seconds playing at Club Rio. Club Rio will also host another best tattoo contest with a $100 first place prize, and a wet T-shirt contest with prizes of $100, $50 and $25.

“We’re happy with the way this event is working out,” Cook said. “Everyone seems to be enjoying their time in Ely and it’s something we can build on for next year and the years that follow.”