With gray overcast skies and drizzling rain you might think the roar last week in Thomas was an approaching thunderstorm. The rumbling coming ever closer was, in fact, the deep baritone growl of about 175 Harley Davidson motorcycles in a show parade headed into otherwise quiet Thomas. The bikes and their 250 participants were part of the West Virginia Harley Owners Group rally.
The international event has rallies in about every state and many countries abroad and is about a million strong world-wide. Most of the participants in West Virginia’s rally were from the Mid-Atlantic region but license plates could be seen from as far away as Nevada and Florida.
The Tucker County Chamber of Commerce held an evening of events for the group. The last time they held their rally here was about three or four years ago.
Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director, Bill Smith said that many people were involved in making the event a success in our county. Not only the chamber but also the local rotary club, Thomas Volunteer Fire Department, Tucker County Sheriff’s office, the city of Thomas’ citizens and most of the merchants.
“Everyone chipped in to help”, Smith said.
The Rotary sponsored chicken dinners and sold out of their 200 dinners in under an hour. The City of Thomas welcomed the rally and provided a location and parking for the multitude of HOGS. The volunteer fire department helped in many ways and even sponsored a water battle with any HOGS willing to get wetter than the weather had already made them. With very few exceptions, most of the merchants stayed open late and participated in a poker walk for the participants and locals alike.
Dave Freeman, West Virginia State HOG Rally Coordinator, was asked why he undertook this task which is a volunteer position.
“Just because I like it. I like the bikes, I like the job”, Freeman said.
This was not Freeman’s first trip to Canaan. The last time the rally was held here he was the events coordinator. He said he got back into riding bikes again after a thirty year hiatus when his eldest boy went out and bought a Harley and he thought to himself: “This ain’t gonna happen, my boy ain’t gonna have one and me not.” So he went out and got himself a ride too and has been riding ever since.
Freeman went on to discuss many of the bikers favorite field events (games). Events with interesting names like road-kill cleanup and weinie bite.
All the Thomas events including the live band were open to not only rally attendees but residents alike. Many residents young and old alike turned out to watch the HOGS roll in to town. The next time the skies are gray and drizzly and you hear an approaching roar it may not be thunder but a herd of HOGS that we hope will consider visiting our beautiful county again.