WIDOWMAKER HALE AND HARLEY

DRAPER COUNCIL LECTURES MEMBERS OF SPONSORING MOTORCYCLE CLUB, THEN VOTES 4-1 TO GRANT A BUSINESS LICENSE FOR THE MAY 22 EVENTLike flowers blooming, the first pitch of the baseball season and bouts of hay fever, one of the sure signs of spring is members of the Bees Motorcycle Club prostrating themselves in front of the Draper City Council to get a business license to hold another Widowmaker hill climb at Point of the Mountain.

Council members take their parts in this annual exchange very seriously - dusting off a familiar list of concerns that they have with the event before granting the request - albeit grudgingly.This year was no different.

Displaying decorum not usually associated with folks who ride Harley Davidsons, the Bees approached the council Thursday night looking for a permit that would allow an uninterrupted string of 24 previous Widowmakers to continue. The council first listened; then briefly lectured club members how fortunate they were to be getting a business license; and then voted 4-1, with Councilman Jeff Rasmussen voting no, to permit the popular event to be held May 22.

As has been the case recently, chief concerns of city officials were rowdiness and liability - although event organizers drew praise for their handling of last year's hill climb.

Still, the memory of three years ago, when the city was sued over an incident in which a man was arrested for brandishing a weapon, remains fresh on the minds of the council members. The motorcycle club's liability insurance was supposed to cover the claim, but it didn't - leaving the city holding the bag. The city's insurance eventually settled the matter for $10,000.

Bees' spokesman Jack Carlton said he can appreciate the city's position and his club wants to cooperate. "This is the 25th anniversary of the Widowmaker, and we want to go another 25," Carlton said, noting that arrangements have been made to provide $1 million in liability insurance for the event. "We want to cooperate with the city and are more than happy to work with them."

This year the council managed to come up with a new wrinkle:

Ecology. Council members asked the Bees to hire a soil expert to oversee the replanting of the mountainside after the hill climb. Carlton said the hillside has always been replanted, but the club has no problems hiring a soil conservationist to oversee trenching and reseeding following the event, if that's what the city wants.

The Bees even went so far as to bring two members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service to Thursday's meeting to brief council members on how the mountain would be reseeded.