August 1, 2009 10:36:00 PM
Jan Swoope - firstname.lastname@example.org
The big bikes are coming. They will roll into Mississippi from every direction, converging on the town of Sturgis -- population 200 plus -- Aug. 14-16. Thousands of motorcyclists and enthusiasts will gather at the 13th annual Sturgis South Motorcycle Rally in Oktibbeha County to enjoy national music artists, good food, vendors and fleets of gleaming bikes.
Country music''s Tracy Byrd headlines on Saturday, Aug. 15. Confederate Railroad, Little Texas, A Band Called River and Nash Street will entertain, too. A $40 weekend pass covers all concerts, a bike show, dinner ride, vendors, bike games and other events.
Of his upcoming Mississippi gig, Byrd said Wednesday, "I''ll have my full band with me and do a show that''s full of my hits like ''The Keeper of the Stars,'' ''Watermelon Crawl,'' ''I''m from the Country,'' and, of course, ''Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo.'' It''s a party!"
He added, "The best part of my career is when I''m on stage and seeing folks sing along with me; I never get tired of that."
The talented Texan, with 13 Top Ten tunes, continued, "I''ve never been to Sturgis before, but I have spent a whole lot of time just 40 miles away in West Point, at the Mossy Oak headquarters; I''ve been friends for many, many years with Toxie Haas. I''m looking forward to the Sturgis show and hoping a lot of my friends from Mossy Oak will show up."
Don Hanson has worked with the rally for 10 years. As Rally Board president, he oversees hectic preparation for a crowd that in past years has surged past 20,000. The Starkville resident will soon move his motor home to Sturgis to be on-site for the final countdown week.
"In addition to great events, we''ll have plenty of food and lots of vendors of bike accessories, leather goods, T-shirts ... really, a little bit of everything," he said.
Rally events include a free pre-party Thursday, Aug. 13, with karaoke from 8-10 p.m., followed by the band Suicide Shift, of Louisville.
"Thursday night is free to everyone, just to get everybody in the mood," Hanson said. "So many people will already be coming in for the rally; it''s just a little added something."
Events Friday, Aug. 14, include the popular dinner ride and music from Colgate Country Showdown winners Nash Street, of Starkville, at 8 p.m., followed by A Band Called River at 10:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 15, a 9 a.m. dice run and a bike show from 9 a.m. to noon begin a big day. Music that evening showcases Confederate Railroad at 6 p.m., Little Texas at 8 p.m., and Byrd near 10 p.m.
With registration, camping is free in City Park. Proceeds raised will benefit the Oktibbeha chapter of the American Red Cross and the Catch a Dream Foundation, Hanson said.
He urged, "Where else can you go pay just $40 and hear all these concerts, camp out all weekend and get all these activities?"
For more rally information, visit www.sturgismsrally.com, or contact Sturgis Town Hall at 662- 465-7970.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.