COOKEVILLE – The Tennessee State H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Rally is coming back to Cookeville May 27-31 with an estimated 3,000-4,000 Harley riders ready to carve the Upper Cumberland.
After holding their state rally in Cookeville in 2012, H.O.G. riders got a taste of cruising the winding highways and byways offered by the plateau region and are ready to come back for seconds.
Cookeville was awarded the bid for 2014 and 2015, not only making it the smallest market to ever host the rally, but the only one to ever do it consecutively. Past rallies have been held in cities such as Nashville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Maryville, Knoxville and Jackson.
David Prowse, owner of Bennett Industries, will be leading the charge again this year as local H.O.G. Rally Committee chairman. Prowse also serves as chairman of the Cookeville-Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We have the opportunity to showcase the entire Upper Cumberland region. More than ever, we are eager to partner with the talented folks of Harley-Davidson to put together another event that H.O.G. members from across the globe can’t stop talking about,” Prowse said. “There is so much to see and experience here that it can’t be showcased in just one rally.”
Joining Prowse will be local committee members: Eric Allen, Aphena Pharma Solutions; Jennifer Bryant, First National Bank; Brad Nelson, Boswell’s Harley-Davidson Cookeville; Kevin Bowling, TechWerks LLC; Al Enochs, First Realty; Jim Martin, Putnam County Commission; Rick Smith, ProBuild; Bubba Boswell, Boswell’s Harley-Davidson Cookeville; Ottis Phillips, MidSouth Distributing; Crystal Odom, First Realty; Daniel Odom, Highways Inc.; Chris Murdock, Whitt’s BBQ; Molly Brown, Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau; and George Halford, Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.
The local committee has been hard at work assisting Gary Bagwell, Tennessee State H.O.G. Rally coordinator, and the state planning committee to logistically prepare for the events taking place, sponsorships and ride planning throughout the Upper Cumberland. Bagwell is excited for the rally to be welcomed back to Cookeville.
“In addition to the incredible roads, scenic views, and attractions, the hospitality of the Highlands is the icing on the cake making Cookeville a motorcyclist’s dream,” Bagwell said. “There is so much support on all fronts. This community welcomes riders with open arms. From local residents to businesses to law enforcement, the welcome that we experience is astounding. Cookeville and the entire region is a great fit for the rally.”
Rally entertainment for the week includes headliners Montgomery Gentry and Blackhawk performing Saturday and Friday nights, respectively. Tuesday evening’s kickoff party, which is open to the public, will feature the Midnight Riders, a Nashville-based Allman Brothers cover band.
The rally in 2011 in Jackson held an approximate 700 attendees. The 2012 rally brought more than 2,700 attendees to Cookeville from 41 states and three foreign countries. Numbers for the 2013 rally in Maryville were similar to 2012. With pre-registration numbers at nearly 2,000 for this year, an estimate of 3,000-4,000 total attendees over the five-day event is likely.
And local restaurants, hotels, and retailers expect the economic boost, not only Cookeville, but in the entire Upper Cumberland.
Today’s Harley riders are most often business professionals with median household income of around $82,000 and an average age of 47. The baby boomer generation is one of Harley’s core customers and most lucrative demographic.
“The success of the 2012 rally made us realize that we have a niche in motorcycle tourism. We now have a foundation to build upon to enable us to grow as a riding destination,” said Brown.
For more information about the rally, visit www.tnstatehogrally.com or contact Bagwell at (615) 948-0992.