Glenwood is HOG heaven for bikers this weekend |

Glenwood is HOG heaven for bikers this weekend

J.D. Thompson has been organizing Harley Davidson motorcycle rallies for the past five years, and attending them for almost 20. He even met his wife, Robbin, at a motorcycle rally in Wyoming in 1994. And a Hell’s Angel he most certainly is not.”This is a family organization,” Thompson said.Thompson, who lives in Arvada, acts as the vanguard of the state chapter of the motorcycle club Harley Owners Group, or HOG. His job is to scout locations for state rallies, and he acts as a liaison between the town and the group. And he says that typically, even though some residents might have initial reservations about opening their arms to supposed “bikers,” Thompson is good at putting those fears to rest.”There is the old mindset of ‘bikers,’ but when they see all these people out there, families, people of all colors, it’s much more reassuring. We’re just people who ride Harley Davidsons,” Thompson said.”When you show pictures of kids playing games, like a blindfolded wheelbarrow race, it really breaks the ice,” Thompson added. And the wheelbarrow race is only one of several games scheduled oriented toward kids and adults alike.Thompson even balks at the word “bikers,” which still today can have a negative connotation because of the some motorcycle gangs in the ’60s and ’70s.”We’re not bikers. We’re motorcyclists,” Thompson said.Glenwood Springs officials are quite happy to host a HOG rally this weekend, from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening.”What we provide here is definitely more of a family event,” said Vicky Daulton, vice president of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “They don’t have the old stigma of the Hell’s Angels and the Banditos.”She said when she spoke to Police Chief Terry Wilson about the matter he was absolutely in favor of the rally.”He’s like, this is a great group of people,” Daulton said.Daulton said that four years ago, when Glenwood hosted a rally, some citizens had expressed concern, but once the rally got under way the townsfolk quickly realized they had no reason to worry.Daulton added that the Chamber expects a significant economic boost from the rally.”They’re staying in the hotels, they’re eating in the restaurants, they’re shopping all over the place,” she said.Thompson said he has 600 pre-registered motorcyclists planning on attending the rally, from as far away as Connecticut and Canada’s East Coast. He also has additional slots for 150 on-sight registrations.Riders will meet in Golden on Thursday afternoon, and then make their way to Glenwood Springs on Friday. Friday evening, there will be a bike show at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.Saturday evening, there will be an awards ceremony for best in class from the bike show, and riders will depart for home on Sunday.

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