Thunder trash

Mike Bellvia, president of Pro Disposal, hefts a few of the trash cans that will be dispersed throughout Johnstown for the Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Mike Bellvia, Pro Disposal Inc. owner, expects this year’s Thunder in the Valley to produce more garbage compared to past events.

“It’s not an easy job,” he said.

Normally, the company, which provides trash removal for the festival, supplies a 40-yard roll-off container for recycling and stages two Par-Kan trucks and two other trucks with compactors, as well as numerous cans to handle the amount of refuse generated by the attendees.

Bellvia said that about 20 tons of material and three tons of recycling typically is removed from the city during Thunder, which wasn’t held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the virus began affecting events, the motorcycle festival typically saw 100,000 visitors throughout a four-day period, Visit Johnstown sports tourism program coordinator Nicole Waligora said. That was with good weather on a good year.

Despite the mountain of incoming work, the Pro Disposal owner said his crew is “awesome” and ready for it.

“We put our chins up and do it every day,” Bellvia said.

They’ll also get help from Visit Johnstown.

“For us, it’s a real team effort,” Waligora said.

There will be a group from the organization helping collect garbage, as well as laborers from Sargent’s Personnel Agency, a work crew from Cambria County and help from the public works department of the city.

“All these little groups work so well together,” Waligora said.

These individuals are responsible for keeping the downtown area clean and trash-free as Thunder takes place. Bellvia said the volunteers get the garbage to the Pro Disposal crew, which then transports it out of the city.

Planning for an operation such as this is no small feat.

Waligora noted that keeping Thunder in the Valley trash-free is a “big undertaking.”

“This is one of those major behind-the-scenes things that needs taken care of,” she said.

The program coordinator added that scheduling with Pro Disposal is just as important as setting up the vendors and bands for the event.

The trash management service is a primary sponsor of Thunder and provides its services free of charge. Participating in events such as this is part of the company’s outreach.

“We’re a local hauler, and we’re pretty community-minded,” Bellvia said.

Thunder in the Valley begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with daily bands, attractions, vendors and other activities located throughout the downtown Johnstown area. Visit for more information.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

Trending Video

Recommended for you