H.O.G. rally cures the shutdown blues (PHOTOS and SCHEDULE)

Jacob Fuller
Harley Davidson owners from all around the state will descend on the emerald coast Sept. 22-26 for the state H.O.G. rally. The event will celebrate the 110th anniversary of Harley Davidson and the 30th anniversary of H.O.G.

The Harley Owners Group's state rally is bringing a much-needed economic boost to the Emerald Coast this week.

Organizers don't know exactly how many people will descend on the Destin area for the five-day event, but coordinator Bruce Fuller said at least three area hotels are completely sold out, another is nearly full and the RV park on Okaloosa Island is booked solid.

Ramada Plaza Beach Resort on Okaloosa Island is the host site of the event, which is expected to have an economic impact of more than $2 million on the area. General Manager Joe Guidry told The Log that the recent shutdown of several federal government departments has forced the cancellation of a couple of events that were scheduled at the resort this month. Not having those events is a major blow to the hotel's October income.

"I've lost $175,000 in business this month alone off of that stuff," Guidry said. "The H.O.G. is really what's going to save us for this month."

H.O.G. is not your typical motorcycle group. It is owned and operated by Harley Davidson, which started the group in 1983. More than a million members worldwide are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the group this year.

Guidry said he worked with H.O.G. when the Emerald Grande hosted the rallies in 2010 and 2011, and said that the group doesn't bring the overly rowdy atmosphere for which many motorcycle groups are notorious.

Most of the rally is open to the public, including a Harley show at The Palms Resort, vendors at The Boardwalk throughout the rally, shows by motorcycle drill teams, a concert by the Coal Mountain Band at The Palms, two shows by daredevil Bubba Blackwell, who has broken every motorcycle jumping world record previously held by Evel Knievel, and a parade of flags starting at the Ramada and ending at The Palms.

"We are probably going to have 35 to 40 different states with flags flying," Fuller told The Log. "I heard there is, maybe, a possibility that (country music singer) Travis Tritt will be leading that parade."  

For more information on the rally, including a complete schedule of events, visit flstatehogrally.com.

H.O.G. rally to feature Parade of Flags

A Parade of Flags is scheduled to roll along U.S. Highway 98 on Oct. 26, the final day of the 2013 Florida H.O.G. Rally. Although some events of the week-long rally are closed to the public, the parade will welcome spectators. It will begin on Okaloosa Island at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 and head east to The Palms of Destin. An anniversary party with the Coal Mountain Band and a Bike Show will follow at The Palms, beginning at noon. Harley-Davidson riders from across the nation are expected to participate. Other activities during the rally will include stunt shows, time trials and bike drills in The Boardwalk’s parking lot.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Early Arrivals Party Howl at the Moon at the Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort)

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Registration Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Bike Games/Bike Show Sign-up Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Vendors Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Self-guided Rides Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Poker Run Heritage Cycles Harley-Davidson 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Corn Hole Challenge Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Shuttle bus to the Kick-off Party at The Palms Best Western/Hampton Inn/Ramada Plaza Beach Resort/Emerald Grande 6:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Kick-Off Party The Palms 8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Poker Hand winners announced The Palms 9:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Shuttle bus from the Kicko-off Party at The Palms The Palms

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Vendors Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Registration Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Bike Show Sign Up Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Guided Rides Depart Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Self-guided Rides Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Bubba Blackwell autographs Heritage Cycles Harley-Davidson 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Open house & BBQ Harley-Davidson of Panama City Beach 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Poker Run Heritage Cycles Harley-Davidson 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Bike Games Trials begin Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Drill Teams Practice Begins Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Poker Run Ends/McGuire's Irish Pub Party McGuire's Irish Pub, 33 U.S. Hwy 98, Destin 3:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Novice Bike Games Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Bike Games Awards Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 8:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Bobby Friss performing at the Swamp The Swamp (Boardwalk, next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort)

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Registration Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Vendors Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Bike Show Sign Up Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Guided Rides Depart Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Self-guided Rides Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Open house & BBQ Harley-Davidson of Panama City Beach 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Poker Run-part of the Daily Double Heritage Cycles Harley-Davidson 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Poker Walk-part of the Daily Double Harbor Walk Village, Destin 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Bubba Blackwell Stunt Show Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Drill Teams Perform Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Draw Poker Hands for Poker Run/Poker Walk AJs Seafood & Oyster Bar (Harbor Walk Village, Destin) 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Pro Class Bike Games Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Poker Run/Poker Walk Awards AJs Seafood & Oyster Bar (Harbor Walk Village, Destin) 5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Bubba Blackwell Stunt Show Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Shuttle bus to Travis Tritt Concert The Palms/Summer Place Inn/Emerald Grande 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Travis Tritt Concert (Headliner Band) Convention Center (across the street from Boardwalk and the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 9:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. Bobby Friss performing at the Swamp The Swamp (Boardwalk, next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 10:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Shuttle bus from Travis Tritt Concert and Bobby Friss/Swamp Party The Boardwalk (across the street from the Convention Center)

Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. 2014 State Rally Planning Meeting Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Vendors Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Parade Lineup Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Drill Teams Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Registration Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Parade of Flags departs Boardwalk (next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. H.O.G. Anniversary Party with Coal Mountain Band The Palms 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Bike Show The Palms 2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Bike Show Awards Presentation The Palms 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Closing Ceremony The Swamp (Boardwalk, next to the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort) 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 a.m. Final Rally Party featuring Mustang Sally The Swamp 9:15 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. Bubba Blackwell Night Stunt Show Boardwalk 9:15 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. Bubba Blackwell Night Stunt Show Boardwalk 10:00 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. Free drawing for 2014 Thunder Beach Rally accommodations/H-D rental The Swamp