Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
News, sports, local and regional entertainment and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

Things went right for Thunder Nites

Thunder Nites in Newton just couldn’t catch a break. In May, businesses and attendees battled cooler than expected temperatures, and in June the rain just wouldn’t stop. However, Friday’s weather for the July installment of the summertime bike night series was perfect.

“I’m grinning from ear to ear,” Thunder Nites Treasurer Libbie Marshall said. “Everybody is having a blast.”

Friday’s rally was the biggest turnout by far for the series, and Marshall couldn’t contain her excitement as she marveled at the crowd on the square.

“We finally caught a break, and it feels great — a great turnout tonight,” Marshall said. “Beautiful weather, an awesome band, cold beverages and cool looking bikes. May was a little bit chilly, but we had an OK turnout, and we were OK with that.

“Last month nobody wanted to give up at all, and the committee took a pretty big hit on that one,” Marshall continued. “Tonight is just fantastic, and we are looking forward to a great August and a great September.”

Des Moines-based Standing Hampton was the “awesome” band and their classic rock sound provided the soundtrack for the family-friendly event. Standing Hampton also made the third straight time the feature band had a female lead singer, which is something Marshall had taken pride in arranging.

The bikes themselves were worth marveling over. One especially intricate sidecar belonged to Bertha, a 150-pound Mastiff, who is also the official mascot of Thunder Nites. Bev and Gene West are Bertha’s owners and waited for Thunder Nites to debut it.

“Bertha the biker dog and our official Thunder Nites mascot rolled up in her newly painted bike and it’s pink,” Marshall said. “It has all kinds of graphics on it and a picture of Bertha. The guy did a really great job on it, and there are a lot of neat bikes with a lot of great paintjobs.”

Thunder Nites had something for everyone and attacked your senses in a good way. There was a pleasant aroma from the various vendors, roars from bike engines and plenty of cold drinks to go around.

The next Thunder Nites in Newton takes place Aug. 9 and will feature Newton’s own Wikid Likir.

“I’m very, very happy,” Marshall said. “This makes all the hard work pay off. Nine months (of planning) on every day off, every morning before work, every evening and organizing the event to make sure that everything happened, when you see a turnout like this, it makes it all worthwhile.”

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

Loading more