COOKEVILLE – Exactly one year from today, Cookeville will rev up yet again for a Harley Owners Group, or H.O.G. Rally, event.
Officials with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Convention & Visitors Bureau converged on the Cookeville Depot Monday morning to make the announcement. The city will host the first “Southern Backroads Harley Owners Group Rally” July 11-15, 2017, with organized rides routing into Tennessee from adjacent states.
Cookeville is no stranger to H.O.G. member events. It hosted three state-level rallies in the past five years, a record for Tennessee. The 2015 state rally brought nearly 2,700 attendees from 37 states and three foreign countries.
Cookeville stands as the smallest market to ever host a rally and the only one to ever do it consecutively.
“Not only is this a huge win for Cookeville, but for the state,” said Kevin Triplett, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “We are honored to host an event of this caliber.”
Motorcycling is a popular economic driver for Tennessee, Triplett added, with popular riding routes throughout the state’s backroads. The average Harley-Davidson rider is estimated to spend more than $300 per day when traveling.
Todd Robinson, H.O.G. regional manager, said Cookeville was an obvious choice for the rally. Reason number one, the region’s backroads are “epic” for riding, Putnam County Executive Randy Porter said, and, Robinson added, “Cookeville wants us here.”
“This is big,” George Halford, president/CEO of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, told an assembled crowd. “This is the Academy Sports and Ficosa of our visitor economy. This is huge.”
Academy and Ficosa announced in 2014 and 2015, respectively, plans for new distribution and manufacturing facilities that will add up to 1,600 new jobs to the community.
The Southern Backroads Harley Owners Group Rally is a more regional approach to H.O.G. events in years past, Robinson said. Past state H.O.G. rallies in Cookeville have featured five days of guided and self-guided ride options, street parties, riding competitions with law enforcement riders, stunt shows, vendors, food and nightly live music. Plans are already underway for the 2017 event, including plans for the return of an AMA Pro Hillclimb, a premier dirt track racing event.
For more information on the Southern Backroads H.O.G. Rally, contact rally coordinator Gary Bagwell at email@example.com or (615) 948-0992.