The expected turnout for the 12th annual Hot Springs Rally, which runs today through Sunday morning, “looks phenomenal,” one of the rally directors said Wednesday.
“We’re expecting a real big turnout,” said Fred Anderson.
The annual open motorcycle rally draws thousands of bikers from across the country and will feature competitions, concerts by country music artist Kellie Pickler and legendary rock band Three Dog Night, and multiple vendors.
After the Arkansas Harley Owners Group voted in 2005 to move its annual rally to Fort Smith in 2006, some members who wanted to keep a motorcycle rally in the Spa City decided to create their own event.
“We kind of felt bad because it was always a great turnout here, and everybody loved Hot Springs,” Anderson said, so they were able to use the previous rally’s momentum and create an event of their own.
While the H.O.G. Rally was open only to Harley-Davidson owners, the Hot Springs Rally is open to anyone.
“You don’t even have to ride a motorcycle,” he said. “You’re welcome to attend, see all the vendors, attend all the concerts.”
Different levels of passes are available for purchase, including the all-access pass for $ 50, which gives access to all concerts and events.
This year’s rally will feature an event hall full of vendors, motorcycle-related games, “poker runs,” a parade, activities for children and a service honoring military veterans featuring Hot Springs’ police and fire departments.
The Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycle companies will offer demo rides in front of the Hot Springs Convention Center, which is the host venue for the event.
Krys Tranni, owner of rally vendor Krys & Company, said the Hot Springs rally is her “favorite show, all year long.” She said she prefers it over more prominent ones such as Daytona Beach Bike Week, which draws hundreds of thousands of bikers each year.
“The promoters know how to promote this show really well,” she said. “They make sure that anyone who has been here or wants to come knows about it and comes.”
Each year, the rally averages around 10,000 in attendance. Anderson said preregistration this year was up 8-10 percent, and he expects attendance to be on par with that.
Anderson said with clear skies and temperatures not predicted to exceed the lower 80s, that number could possibly grow. “We could exceed 12,000, 15,000 this year,” he said.
“It’s several million dollars of economic impact on our local community, which is a great thing in September,” Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said.
Arrison said the weather, combined with the rally’s concert lineup, should make for an ideal weekend.
Anderson said he invites anyone interested in the event — whether they ride a motorcycle or not — to come to the convention center.
“There’s a lot to see and do down here,” he said.
Local on 09/07/2017