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The exhaust pipes of more than 1,200 Harley-Davidson motorcycles will roar across the streets of Pensacola this week as the 2017 Southeast H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Rally takes over the region starting Tuesday.
The Hilton Pensacola Beach at 12 Via de Luna will serve as host and home base for the rally, which ends Saturday. The week’s festivities include guided rides and events interspersed throughout the region, including the following events open to the public:
- Harley-Davidson Demonstration Trailer: Test ride 2018 model Harleys from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at Harley-Davidson of Pensacola.
- The Adam Holbrook Thrill Show: Public performances at Casino Beach on Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.
- HOG vs. PIG Motorcycle Challenge: See civilian riders (HOGs) test their skills against police motor officers (PIGs) as they navigate a cone course. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Harley-Davidson of Pensacola.
- H.O.G. Rally Finale Parade: Begins at Harley-Davidson of Pensacola at 10 a.m. Saturday and proceeds to Casino Beach on Pensacola Beach.
Steve Hayes, president of Visit Pensacola, said this week marks the first time the rally has taken place in the Pensacola area. Hayes estimated the Pensacola tourism agency spent about $ 2,500 on the event, the majority of the funds paid to put together a bid to secure the rally.
He said the cooler weather should boost the attendance of the event, which the agency has estimated to include riders from 23 states as well as some international Harley owners. He anticipates the rally to serve as a first-hand advertisement on why the riders should return to Pensacola as a vacation destination.
“When you look at the owners of Harley-Davidsons, they tend to have more income,” Hayes said. “These are folks that are coming for the H.O.G. Rally, but when they see the place that Pensacola is, they come back another time. That pays dividends.”
Visit Pensacola has projected an economic impact of more than $ 1.1 million if the rally meets its expectations of more than 1,200 riders. To increase roadway safety during the week, the agency has also urged drivers to use extra caution, citing the “Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign.
Finally, should the week go as successfully as he expects it will, Hayes said Visit Pensacola could look to host the rally again in the future.
“Given the number of people and type of event, to have this thing in Pensacola and especially if we can get it on a rotation, I would look at supporting it further,” he said.
Joseph Baucum can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8632.
Want to know more?
Most events require advance registration and H.O.G. membership. Registration information can be found online at members.hog.com.