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Preparations for Thunder Nites 2013 under way

Thunder Nites was so successful last year that the Newton City Council added an additional day next year.

The council approved Thunder Nites for five events in 2013. The events will be held on the second Friday of each month, May through September.

In a press release, Thunder Nites Treasurer Libbie Marshal promised that the bands will be bigger and better than last year. The 2013 bands are Abby Normal, Insane Jane, Standing Hampton, Wikid Likir and RUKKUS.

• May 10 — Abby Normal is a cover rock band that covers a wide range of genres. They cover music from The Police, Joan Jett, U2, Cheap Trick, Maroon 5 and many more. Members include Jana West (guitar, vocals), Tim West (bass, vocals), Dale Rupp (drums) and Ken Mayfield (guitar).

• June 14 — Insane Jane is a rock band “with all the bells and whistles,” according to their Facebook page, that recently played at the Iowa State Fair.

• July 12 — Standing Hampton is a rock band based out of the Des Moines area. They formed 12 years ago in disguise of various country bands. Band members include Tony (vocals, drums) and Nancy Beson (vocals, keyboard), Tommy Walker (bass), Douglas Dixon (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Devon Miller (guitar).

• Aug. 9 — Wikid Likir is a rock band that plays classics such as Aerosmith and ZZ Top. Band members include Paul Davis (vocals), Joe Rebik (guitar), Jeremiah Murphy (bass) and Steve “Lou” Palmer (drums). They even play some modern hits such as Buckcherry.

• Sept. 13 — RUKKUS is a rock band from Ottumawa, and they described themselves as the kings of the party on their Facebook page. They play a wide range of music from classics to the newest hits. Band members include Mike Clay (guitar), Jay Brunt (drums). Dan Spotten (bass) and Joe Russell (vocals).

Last year, Thunder Nites brought 15,000-20,000 motorcycles to Newton and helped local businesses. Newton is not the only area where Thunder Nites has had an impact. Colfax and Kellogg can feel the impact as well. As attendees come to Newton, they often fill up on gas and stop for a bite to eat. President of Thunder Nites Bob O’Brien never thought the event would be as big as it was, but was happy that it helped Newton. What Thunder Nites accomplished is the idea that Newton is a short drive from Des Moines. Many citizens from Des Moines traveled to Newton to attend the event. The original plan was to target people within a two hour radius, but that quickly changed.

“We are drawing from all four surrounding states,” O’Brien said. “We modeled it after Indianola. We try to get people to come to Newton. Us (Newton) being off I-80 is a really big market.”

Last year, some attendees made a weekend trip out of it. O’Brien was happy that people stayed in town for the weekend. For him, it allows attendees to experience Newton for the better.

“All the restaurants get profit,” O’Brien said in regards one of the benefits for attendees to stay the weekend.

Newton has been working to gain its economy back since the Maytag Corp. left. Motorcycle events in other states have brought in more than $1 million, and with the addition of NASCAR in Newton things are starting to look a little better.

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