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Motorcyclists rally to Ironton#8217;s festival

Bill Grimm, of Pedro, can remember when he first got the yearning to ride a motorcycle.

“I worked across the street from a Harley-Davidson place down in Prestonsburg, Ky., and I rented an apartment from the man who owned the Harley place,” he recalled.

One day he decided to do more than just look at those bikes. He got on one. And he was hooked.

“At that time, in 1949, you could buy a full-dress 74 Harley-Davidson for $800,” he mused. “That bike today would cost you $20,000.”

At the age of 77, Grimm still rides. He has a 2003 Honda Shadow right now, but still has a love affair with the Hog.

“One of these days I want a bigger Harley,” he said.

Grimm was one of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts who rode into Ironton this weekend for the fourth annual Rally on the River.

Visitors

Dave Hunnicutt and his wife, Nannie, of Argillite, Ky., parked their bikes along Second Street near Austyn’s Saturday morning and went in search of breakfast.

“We do this every year,” Dave Hunnicutt said. “They don’t ever need to stop doing it (having the rally).” What brings him back each year?

“The people, the bikes, the town,” he explained. “We need the economy to grow and I think this is another step toward growth. And it’s the only local bike rally.”

The Hunnicutts spent Friday night in Ironton for the rally and were back Saturday morning.

“We’ll do the poker run, we do whatever there is to do,” he said.

One thing they would like to do in Ironton but can’t at the moment is sleep in a motel here. Dave Hunnicutt said it didn’t matter to him if it was even a budget-priced motel, so long as it was a place to sleep.

“A lot of people from out of town have to go to Ashland (Ky.) to get a room,” Nannie Hunnicutt agreed.

Lots of reasons to come

Some of the people who visited the rally were bikers who wanted to meet with other people who share that passion for motorcycles. One of them was Russell Rice, of Portsmouth, who comes every year.

“I like being around the people,” he said. He shined his set of wheels Saturday morning on a parking lot near the corner of Park Avenue and Second Street in preparation for the poker run that afternoon.

Others who came were business people whose merchandise, at least some of it, was geared to motorcycle enthusiasts. The rally gave those looking to buy direct contact with those wanting to sell. Bill Penrose and his son, also named Bill Penrose, with Iron Eagle Leather, came from West Branch Mich., after learning about the rally on the Internet. They said they were pleased to take part— after they survived Thursday’s oppressive heat and humidity and then the violent storm Thursday evening.

“I like the barges on the river, I just love them. And the people are super nice,” the older Penrose said. “The promoters of this are top of the line and the Ohio River is beautiful.”

Others came to promote a cause or issue. Grimm, a member of Bikers For Christ, wanted to share the gospel with an audience that may be overlooked by some other avenues of Christianity.

“There are a lot of good Christians who ride motorcycle and a lot of bikers who need Christ in their life the same as everyone else,” he said. “God doesn’t think any less of them. He is no respecter of persons. I want to share the gospel with them so they can be saved and come to know the glory of Jesus.”