By Jim Hagerty
Through a collective effort of Kegel Harley-Davidson, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center, Rockford will be the site of the 2011 Illinois State H.O.G. Rally next June.
The rally is scheduled for June 9-12, 2011. The Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center will host the event.
Every year, almost all states host a H.O.G. Rally, a three-day event that attracts thousands of Harley-Davidson owners, industry professionals, bike enthusiasts and spectators.
The Rockford rally will feature a convention-style kick-off party, scores of Harley-Davidson seminars, bike parades, live entertainment and more.
According to Mark Kegel, general manager of Kegel Harley-Davidson Buell, bringing the 2011 event to Rockford is something the entire city should be proud of.
“Congrats to Rockford,” Kegel said. “WE will host the 2011 Illinois State H.O.G. Rally. Good job to all of you that made this event come true.”
Kegel said the hospitality industry and retail community will see a significant increase in business during the four-day rally.
“The Clock Tower only has a couple hundred rooms,” Kegel said, “and they will be filled up pretty quick. All of the other hotels and businesses will be very busy.”
Kegel expects between 2,000 and 2,500 bike owners to attend. He said the turnout could be bigger because of Rockford’s close proximity to Chicago.
“We should get a lot of Chicago people,” Kegel continued. “If there’s something close, they will come. This is a guaranteed thing. When there is an event like this, people come out. This is great for Rockford.”
Kegel Harley-Davidson plans to have its 2011 Biker Jam the same weekend as the H.O.G. event.
H.O.G. is the acronym for the Harley Owner’s Group, a worldwide organization that boasts more than 1 million members. Together, each member helps celebrate bike ownership by hosting a variety of Harley-Davidson events including charitable fund-raisers and organized bike tours.
The 2010 Illinois State H.O.G. Rally will be in O’Fallon, Ill., June 3-5. Since 1990, the event has been in Springfield, where it remained for 12 years, Peoria, Danville, Effingham, Collinsville, Ottawa and Quincy.
Rockford was selected after Mark Kegel and representatives from the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Clock Tower Resort pitched H.O.G. officials in Peoria the benefits of Rockford as a host city last week.
Members of a local H.O.G. chapter also helped lobby to bring the 2011 rally to Rockford.
The Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center is at 7801 E. State St. Kegel Harley-Davidson, the world’s oldest family-owned Harley-Davidson dealership, is at 7125 Harrison Ave.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles have been in the Kegel family since 1910. The company moved to Rockford in 1923.
To recommend a local business to be featured in this column, e-mail Jim Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org with “What’s Local” in the subject line. Or, contact The Rock River Times’ office at (815) 964-9767.
From the April 7-13, 2010 issue