Harley riders by the thousands will be coming to Platte County and its communities in September.
George McClintock, special events coordinator for the City of Platte City, told members of the Platte City Area Development Association at a meeting on Monday that up to 3,000 Harley Davidson bikes—and their riders—will “invade” this area Sept. 5-7. The event is a statewide rally for the Harley Owners’ Group (HOG). Cheryl Thorp of the Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau said Platte County won the right to host the event through a bidding process.
“We’re really excited about it,” Thorp said this week.
The city of Hannibal has hosted the event seven times, and the state rally has also been held in places like Cape Girardeau and the Lake of the Ozarks, she said.
She said the county’s “bid package” consisted of presenting venue ideas.
Thorp said the Harley folks like the fact the entire county is playing host to the event and the bikers are not just limited to one host community.
“They are trying very hard to make sure the rally does benefit every community in Platte County,” she explained.
There are no organized meals held for the bikers, so county restaurants should get a boost in business over the weekend.
Platte County is hosting the event in what is Harley Davidson’s 100th anniversary year, Thorp said.
Harley’s 100th anniversary celebration will be held the weekend prior to the local event. Thorp said this could mean the Platte County event could benefit from riders on their way back from Milwaukee who may decide to stop at the Missouri celebration.
She said the riders are scheduled to headquarter at the Embassy Suites near KCI for the weekend, but emphasized the group would be all over various parts of the county during the weekend. A Harley-Davidson plant is located in Platte County near KCI.
The group is scheduled to parade from the high school in Platte City through downtown Platte City on Saturday, Sept. 6 from 4-6 p.m. Plans call for a reviewing stand to be set up in conjunction with the parade.
McClintock said a crowd of 4,500 to 6,000 is expected to accompany the 3,000 motorcycles into the area for that weekend. Thorp said she would conservatively guess the crowd of people to attend at 3,500 to 4,000.
In addition to the parade through Platte City, the bikers are scheduled to travel to Weston on Saturday, Sept. 6 for a parade and street dance.
The parade in Weston is expected to begin at 6 p.m. and the street dance should shut down by 11 p.m.
The parades through Weston and Platte City are the only two activities where almost all of the participants will be present at the same time, Thorp said. Most often throughout the weekend, the bikers are doing things with 8-12 riders in a group.
Elected officials are expected to meet with law enforcement officers soon to begin working out security details for the weekend.
Thorp said the group is known for behaving itself.
“I’ve been to five of these. I am not a party animal and I have never had one moment of being uncomfortable with this group,” she said.
“They’re great folks to have. They get up early, they go to bed early, they police themselves very well.”
Groups of vendors are expected to follow the bikers and will set up “shop” in the county during the weekend. Community groups like local chambers of commerce are trying to put together coupon packages from businesses that can be given to the bikers so the local economy can get a boost from the rally.