Gold Wing bikers head to Evart for state rally
EVART — More than a decade ago, Terry Hammond and his wife stumbled across the town of Evart, discovering the new location for the Gold Wing Touring Association’s Michigan State Rally.
This year will be the 11th that the Gold Wing Touring Association will be back in Evart, with the state rally being held June 20 to June 23.
Hammond, state co-director, said various locations around the state were used for the annual rally before coming to Evart, but said the Osceola County 4-H FFA fairgrounds is the perfect location, with Evart and neighboring towns providing all the accommodations the bikers need, as well as offering a warm welcome when the group rolls into town.
“When we first started going there, our group met with city officials,” Hammond said. “The city manager asked us why we came to Evart and what they had to do to keep us coming back. I just thought that was nice. It was nice to know we were wanted.”
Hammond said he estimates about 120 to 130 bikers will attend the rally this year.
Those arriving early can attend a hot dog roast on Thursday night, with the event officially starting after Friday’s opening ceremony.
The Gold Wings Touring Association will perform a light show at the Osceola County Relay for Life which is taking place at the fairground over the same weekend.
“Several bikers will show their bikes in front of the grandstands at the fairgrounds,” Hammond said. “It’s fun for us and the light parade can break up any monotony for participants at the relay.”
Two of the main events at the rally—the drill team performance and the 80-mile bike ride—will take place on Saturday.
Last year, the group changed the location of the drill team performance from downtown Evart to Hersey, and it will take place there again this year beginning at 10 a.m.
Hammond said he enjoys the drill team, but he refuses to pick just one aspect of the rally to call his favorite.