While most motorcyclists attend such events close to home, literally hundreds of thousands make a pilgrimage to what are widely considered the top motorcycle rallies in the country. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Rolling Thunder's “Ride for Freedom,” Daytona Bike Week, Laconia Motorcycle Week or Myrtle Beach Bike Week inevitably lead the rest when it comes to must-see biker events.
Most Rally’s are extremely generous in giving back to the community or a charitable organization. One of the best fund raisers is a poker run. Each checkpoint is another opportunity to join in more entertainment and events. The Checkpoints are where the cards are given and the best hand is awarded at the end of the ride.
Rally’s are known for some of the best musical acts like Aerosmith, Lynard Skynard, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, and many more. Also you can never forget the dare devils that put on a great show.
Freestyle Motorcross acts from the likes of the Metal Mulisha or Extreme acts from Doug Danger.
Drag Racing has became a huge part of these events. Some of the fastest and most outrageous bikes are designed every year to step up the level of speed and power. Street Bikes, Harleys, Trikes all declare war with one another to best the fastest. Usually you can find a great Burnout Competition at the same event.
The Sturgis, South Dakota, rally is considered the premier motorcycle event in the United States. It began in 1938 as a race called “The Black Hills Classic,” attended by only nine participants, their friends and families. It's grown into a mecca for bikers, attracting an estimated 650,000 motorcyclists from around the world every August. Not bad for a town of less than 7,000.
The Laconia event in New Hampshire is the oldest, first held in 1916 with only a couple hundred bikers in attendance. That first rally at Weirs Beach included a weekend of hill climbs and races. Nearly a century later, the annual mid-June event has an estimated attendance of more than 300,000.
Florida's Daytona Bike Week began in 1937 as a one-day, three-mile-long beach race for motorcyclists. The event now attracts more than 500,000 participants and runs for 10 days every March. The town also hosts “Biketoberfest” every October during the weekend closest to Columbus Day.
In South Carolina, Myrtle Beach Bike Week has been held annually since 1940. Although the Myrtle Beach City Council declined to continue hosting the event in 2008, that didn't stop local businesses and property owners. They continue to host the event for two weeks beginning in early May.
While it operates under the same name, the rally is now held in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Annual attendance is about 300,000.
Of all these events, Rolling Thunder's annual “Ride For Freedom” Memorial Day rally and run is one of the most noteworthy. The rally began in 1988 as a demonstration organized by four Vietnam War veterans and their families to protest the plight of American POW/MIAs. That first run, starting at the Pentagon and ending at the Capitol Building, barely made national news. What began with 2,500 motorcycles has grown into an annual charity event attracting nearly 500,000 bikers and thousands more veterans, vendors and participants.
Tell us what are your favorite rides and rallies are. This year we plan to be a part of some the best rallies across the country either as a vendor or participant.