Cookeville Kicks-off Five-day, Regional Harley-Davidson Event This Week
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau along with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development kicked-off the first Southern Backroads Harley Owners Group Rally yesterday, an event expected to welcome thousands of motorcycle riders to the state this week. Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, welcomed the group during opening ceremonies at host hotel Holiday Inn Express in Cookeville.
Motorcycling is a solid economic driver for Tennessee with popular riding routes throughout the state’s beautiful backroads. The average Harley-Davidson rider is estimated to spend more than $300 per day when traveling, making motorcycle tourism a market Tennessee happily embraces.
“We are honored to welcome these riders from around the globe to our great state,” said Triplett. “The Soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee and we are proud that, this week, the rumble of a Harley-Davidson is part of that soundtrack.”
Cookeville was selected to host this regional event after Harley-Davidson launched a new direction in its rider services division in 2016 with a more regional approach. The city has served as host to three state level H.O.G. rallies in the past five years, a record for Tennessee. During the 2015 state rally, the hub city of the Upper Cumberland hosted nearly 2,700 attendees from 37 states and three foreign countries.
“We’re glad to have selected Cookeville to host our first Southern Backroads H.O.G. Rally,” Todd Robinson, H.O.G. regional manager said. “This community truly welcomes motorcycle riders with an authentic H.O.G. hospitality.”
As the only five-day rally in the U.S., the Southern Backroads H.O.G. Rally will hold scheduled events through Saturday, July 15. With organized rides routing into Tennessee from adjacent states and guided rides each day to destinations like Cumberland Caverns, Brushy Mountain State Prison and Hard Times USA, guests will take-in the scenic landscapes of Tennessee’s backroads while experiencing some of the state’s most popular attractions.
Self-guided rides throughout the region will also be encouraged, highlighting area riding routes such as Carve the Cumberland on the Tennessee Twelve and the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways. Entertainment, featuring live music each night along with Hooligans’ Flat Track Racing on Friday, will add to the festivities for riders.
On Saturday, H.O.G. will partner with the American Motorcycle Association to close out the rally with an AMA All-Star Pro Hillclimb at Middle Tennessee Dragway in Buffalo Valley. This is one of only a few events for the week that are open to the public. Other public events include motorcycle test-rides via the H-D demo truck, motorcycle skills competitions with local law enforcement motor patrol, and Thursday evening’s Rides, Rods, & Rock-a-billy WestSide Street Party.
“We feel like Cookeville, Putnam County and the entire Upper Cumberland region offer riders an experience like none other,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development, Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau. “Our community loves motorcycling and is proud to welcome groups such as H.O.G. to town.”
For more information on the Southern Backroads H.O.G. Rally, visit www.facebook.com/SouthernBackroadsHOGRally
For more information on rides in the Carve the Cumberland on the Tennessee Twelve, visit www.CarvetheCumberland.com.
For more on the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, visit www.tnvacation.com.
Photo: From left is George Halford, president/CEO, Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce; Randy Porter, Putnam County executive; Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development, Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau; Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; Gary Bagwell, rally coordinator, Harley Owners’ Group; Todd Robinson, regional manager, Harley Owners’ Group/Harley-Davidson Motor Co.; and Ricky Shelton, mayor, City of Cookeville.