The rays of the setting sun reflected from a sea of glittering chrome Friday evening as festivities for thousands of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts kicked into high gear at State Fair Park.
The Harley Owners Group (H.O.G) descended on the fairgrounds, turning it into a biker's carnival on Friday. Along the perimeter, 2009 model Harley-Davidsons were available for public demonstration. In the thick of the midway, booths offered official Harley-Davidson merchandise, including leather riding gear, trinkets and motorcycle parts.
But the main attraction at the park was the stage, where Willie G. Davidson — grandson of company founder William A. Davidson — welcomed the tanned and leather-clad riders and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins was presented with the “key to the highway” by the organization.
The evening culminated in country musician LeAnn Rimes taking the stage and belting out over an hour of material, including newer rock-tinged tunes, and the contemporary country hits that made her a household name in the 90s.
Biker Tony Day lives near the fairgrounds. He and fellow Harley-Davidson enthusiast Sonya Beckelhimer walked to the fairgrounds to enjoy the festivities.
Day said Harleys are his bike of preference, having ridden them since age 11. His father, a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, rode them his whole life, said Day, 53.
“I'm just an old-school biker,” Day said as he turned to show the patches — some aged and worn — that festooned the back of his leather vest.
“We fit in here,” Beckelhimer said.
More coverage of the H.O.G. rally