For immediate release - Dec. 2, 2004
TAVARES — For an unprecedented third straight year, the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) of Florida have agreed to host the state rally in Lake County.
The three-day event, which was held at Mission Inn this past month on Nov. 18, brings thousands of Harley-Davidson owners to Lake County and a positive economic impact for area merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers. The 2005 Florida H.O.G Rally will be held at Mission Inn, located in Howey-in-the-Hills, from Nov. 17-19.
“Besides the motels of course the restaurants do great business throughout the entire County,” said Bruce Fuller, state rally coordinator. “The idea for the Harley Owners Group is to ride and have fun. That is our slogan and Lake County provides it. The merchants here are happy to see people coming into the town spending a great amount of money.”
H.O.G. is the official riding club of the Harley Davidson Motor Company. It currently has more than 900,000 members worldwide with about 34,000 of them calling Florida home.
The Florida H.O.G. Rally first came to Lake County in 2003. About 2,000 participants attended the first Lake County rally and the group counted about the same number of participants for 2004, which is impressive considering the rash of hurricanes throughout the state this past summer, Fuller said.
In previous years before coming to Lake County, the Florida H.O.G. Rally has been held in Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Fort Meyers. However, it appears the state riding club has found a more permanent home in Lake County as not one single location has hosted a rally for three consecutive years.
“I believe it has a lot to do with the hills, lakes and the small towns,” Fuller said. “This area is a biker’s paradise — not only for motorcyclists but for bicyclists. The same thing that applies to motorcyclists applies to bicyclists with the open roads that make it so much fun.
“The riding here is just fantastic,” he added. “You can jump on a motorcycle and ride 250 miles just in Lake County, and never ride on a four-lane highway.”
Beside the open roads in the hilly country of south Lake County and the picturesque paths cutting through the Ocala National Forest in north Lake County, the H.O.G. rally participants are responding to the quaint charm of Lake County’s 14 municipalities and many other small communities with their pocketbooks. According to the Lake County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, there was not one vacant hotel room to be had for the weekend of the 2004 H.O.G. rally.
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