Harley riders leave Cape pleased with HOG rally

Monday, September 10, 2001

The parking lot at Osage Community Centre was lined with Harley-Davidsons one last time Sunday morning as more than 2,400 Harley Owners Group members gathered to bless their bikes and bid farewell to Cape Girardeau.

For many of the HOG members, leaving Cape Girardeau meant heading back home, and, as cyclist Bob Stuart put it, back to their "real jobs."

Stuart, a businessman from Lone Jack, Mo., by day and member of the Sedalia chapter of HOG by night, said he and his wife, Barb, had a great time in Cape Girardeau and were pleased with the reception by local residents and businesses during the HOG'S state rally over the weekend.

Jeff and Annette Marler of Eolia, Mo., were also impressed with the city. Annette Marler, who went to Southeast Missouri State University in the 1970s but had not been back to the area since, said the city has grown a lot and changed for the better in the past 30 years.

"We had a great time downtown," she said. "We were very impressed by the food, the entertainment and the people."

Rally coordinator Linda Malia said that for hosting the Missouri State HOG Rally its first time, the city did well. "Everyone was friendly and hospitable," she said. "We had a fantastic rally, and even with the rain it was great."

Malia said one of the most memorable moments was the tricycle decorating contest. Each Missouri chapter represented at the rally was given a tricycle to decorate, and then one member of the chapter rode it in a race. The Bourbeuse Valley chapter from Villa Ridge, Mo., took first place in the contest.

Several other contests were held, including riding events, biker bingo, a bike rodeo and bike show.

Randy Hobbs and his wife, Brenda, rode all the way from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, to take part in the rally and went home with second place in the FXD Mild Custom Class of the bike show. Hobbs joked that he would have won first place for his purple and blue bike if he had been a "local." Even so, Hobbs said he was glad to have come to Cape Girardeau and enjoyed the town and its people.

Will try to get rally again

Terri Clark-Bauer, director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, worked for nearly two years to bring the rally to Cape Girardeau. She said she expects the city will try to get the rally back but not for a few years.

Next year's rally is scheduled for Hannibal, Mo., where it has been held for at least five years in the past. The following year, Clark-Bauer said, is an anniversary year for Harley, and she expects the rally will be held in Platt County, home of the Harley plant.

Clark-Bauer said she talked to several local business owners who felt that the weekend, which was expected to bring in about $1.2 million to the area, went great.

Cape Girardeau police reported no problems with the cyclists and said the weekend was relatively quiet.

hkronmueller@semissourian.com

335-6611 ext. 128

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