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Get your motor running

First night of Rally kicks off with trio of rock bands

Hundreds of people had already filled the grounds by evening on the first day of the 13th annual Rally on the River.

Musical acts Bobby Whitt, Vengenz and Another Lost Year performed at the main stage at the Ironton Farmers Market, with headliner Bobaflex, a repeat visitor to the rally, closing out the night.

The band, formed in 1998, is based out of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

“They’re very popular here,” Valerie Freeman, a board member of Friends of Ironton, who sponsors the rally, said.

She said things were going well since the grounds opened in the afternoon.

“We’ve been very excited for this year,” she said. “It’s been great.”

She said that this year sees the addition of a boxing event, a first for the rally.

“We hope that draws a great crowd,” she said of the event, which is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m., next to the Ro-Na Theater.

A poker run is scheduled for that day, departing at noon, with benefits going to West Virginia flood victims, she said.

The route of the run will cross over into West Virginia, which has a helmet law, and riders are encouraged to be prepared, Suzie Hamlin, of Friends of Ironton, said.

A pig roast is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today, and all law enforcement are invited as a thank you for their service. They must wear their uniforms.

In addition to the music, the event had numerous vendors, such as Meldy’s Parts, co-owned by Steve Ramy, of Logan, Ohio, along with his wife.

“We sell on eBay and all over the country,” Ramy said of his business, which travels to rallies across the country. “We’ve been busy.”

Another booth was General Snus, based out of Owensboro, Kentucky.

Malcolm West, who does marketing for the company, said they were giving out samples of tobacco products from their trailer.

“We ID everyone,” he said.

Across the lot was Aaron “Country,” who was offering tattoos from a trailer.

“It’s our eighth time here,” he said. “We’re from Daytona Beach, Florida, and we have one local artist here.”

He said, even though they had just set up, they had already had two customers.

Also on hand were two motorcycle ministries, one of which was the local chapter of Bikers for Christ.

Phil Willis, of Ironton, said the organization is a nationwide effort, and also has members in 19 different countries.

It was founded in 1990s by Pastor Freddie Z, of California, a former member of the Hell’s Angels, he said.

“We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,” he said, and said the group is “a rescue shop a yard from hell.”

Willis said the local chapter participates in rallies throughout Ohio.

“Our mission is to minister to bikers,” he said. “Churches minister to those who dress up on Sunday.”

Rally on the River runs through Saturday. Admission is $20, which covers the duration of the event. All proceeds will go into restoration of the Ro-Na Theater.