Biker culture's Old West mythos tempt successive generations to leave corporate America, hop on a steel horse and tear across America " even if just for the weekend.
For members of the Harley Owners Group, or H.O.G., the national rally is the highlight of the year as thousands of bikers of all shapes and sizes converge for a two-day celebration of all things Harley-Davidson. This year, H.O.G. chose Oklahoma City as the site for the 26th annual national rally, which will kick off Friday at State Fair Park.
A bike rally might draw up images of gruff and grizzled men with long beards and wild intentions roaring into town to cause chaos and upset proper society, but Sara Newman, special events manager at Harley-Davidson World, insists that the metro doesn't have to bar its windows and lock up its daughters.
"There is a broad spectrum of people who ride motorcycles, from young adults to older baby boomers, and a lot of women," she said. "Women make up a huge number of motorcycle riders today. Twelve percent of all Harley-Davidson purchases last year were women, so that's a considerable figure."
In addition to the growing diversity among riders, the convention itself is a moneymaker for bars, restaurants and the entertainment industry within the metro.
"Motorcycle riders are not typical convention attendees who just come in for the one event," Newman said. "H.O.G. members are driving in on their motorcycles for a vacation, so their spending is different. These riders are here to have a good time."
Drill teams and stunt riders will perform at the rally on Friday and Saturday. The Biker Mania Vendor Mall will push its wares, and there will be a tattoo contest.
On Saturday, festivities at State Fair Park will wrap up at 5 p.m., and the revelers will pack up the party and move it to Bricktown.
The rally will not just be confined to State Fair Park and Bricktown. All three Harley-Davidson dealerships in the metro will also host on-site parties. Harley-Davidson World has two locations, 3433 S. Broadway in Edmond and 6904 W. Reno. Fort Thunder Harley-Davidson is in Moore, 500 S.W. 11th.
Newman said that dealerships will start their celebrations early, such as the party at the Reno location, from 3-8 p.m on Thursday.
"We have music and entertainment lined up for the entire weekend so we can continue that festive atmosphere at the dealership," she said. "All these people riding in from out of state will be entertained anywhere they go." "Charles Martin