Western Regional HOG Rally – Kelowna

mapBy Marissa Baecker

The sun will shine and the chrome will glisten as the ground begins to shake near the end of July with the roar of close to 1,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and their riders descend upon Kane’s Harley-Davidson for the 13th Western Regional HOG Rally.

This is a celebration of epic proportions that draws riders from around the world and will be an enormous financial boost to the local economy but there is a catch . . . you MUST be a member of The Harley Owners Group to attend and you MUST be pre-registered. Notorious last-minute locals will be out of luck and left standing outside the wrought iron gates of Kane’s if they don’t register in time for festivities.

“This is a huge opportunity to host a rally like this in Kelowna,” says Kane’s store manager, Leanne Houston. “It’s heaps of fun with lots of things to do and it’s great value”

Kane’s hosted the national HOG rally back in 2003 (the biggest rally ever attended in Canada) and visiting riders fell in love with the Okanagan Valley scenery, winding roads, tourist attractions and local hospitality so much, they still talk about it.

“The Okanagan HOG put in an application,” continues Houston, “together with several other HOG groups but as a destination for a bike rally, but you can’t beat the Okanagan.”

kaneswWith 700 riders already registered, and last-minute locals stalling in true Okanagan fashion, the event anticipates close to 1000 bikes over the course of the weekend with riders starting to roll in Thursday, July 25 for registration at the Sandman Inn.

“Our rally committee have put together an unbelievable weekend,” says Houston. “Not only are there great events but we will also be hosting guided rides around some of our best twisty, scenic roads.  And with the support of many of our local businesses they have fabulous goody bags for everyone attending.”

For a weekend price of $70, riders receive a welcome reception on Thursday evening at the Sandman Inn. Local food vendors will move into the parking lot at Kane’s all weekend as riders enjoy a poker run on Friday, followed by a Party under the Stars at Kanes in the evening featuring live music by Colt 45, a commemorative group photo at 7 p.m. and hotel shuttle buses taking guests to and from their accommodations.

Saturday will offer a morning Show n’Shine, bike games at McCurdy Corner in the afternoon, an all day poker run dedicated to the peace officers of Kelowna and then a sit down dinner banquet at the Kelowna Curling Club with comedian Herb Dixon and more live music with the Blues Brothers and their show band.

Sunday morning, Kane’s will provide riders with a pancake breakfast before sending some of the chrome home while still others stick around for an extended vacation.

The naysayers may complain about loud pipes, noise, etc. but the Kelowna RCMP is supporting the event.

“Some RCMP are HOG members,” says Houston. “They know we are a great group of Harley Davidson riders who enjoy riding together, making a positive contribution to our communities and aren’t associated with any illegal activities.”

“The proceeds from our HOG rally this year are going to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs,” continued Houston. “That means all the money raised will stay in our community and benefit boys and girls in need across the Valley. We think this is a fantastic way to help out our local community.”

So far, the farthest riders are coming from Germany and the eastern coast of the southern United States.

As the weekend is restricted to HOG members only, Houston suggests making sure you have a membership and that you pre-register with enough time to attend the rally. If you own a Harley-Davidson motorcycle you can join the Harley Owners Group for an annual fee of $65. Your membership provides discounts on travel and accommodation, bike rentals, a yearly ride map, membership pins and crests, as well as free tow service anywhere you need it.

To register, visit okanaganhog.com, or drop into Kane’s Harley-Davidson on McCurdy Corner. Once you are a HOG member, go online and register for the rally as the rally is a HOG event (not a Kane’s event) and Kane’s cannot accept registration for the Rally. Registration for the Rally will be cut off July 20.

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