(For a follow-up story about criminal charges resulting from this event, read the Oct. 4 print edition of The Courier.)
Local businessman Mike Owen, owner of Mike’s Welding and Hillbilly Wing Shack in Crump, spoke to soothe city officials’ concerns that a motorcycle rally he’s planning for the end of this month might be unruly.
“For this event, we’re doing the same thing we’ve done every year. This year, one of our main projects is raising money for American Legion Post 97 in Adamsville,” Owen said at the Crump Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Aug. 28.
He said the rally is expected to bring from 1,500 to 2,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to Crump for the four day event, Sept. 27-30.
“We’ve been holding this rally for years, and we have good people – not biker gangs. Most of the people we get are working people just like us; engineers, doctors, lawyers – people that work for a living, but love their bikes and love to ride,” he said.
Owen said after the meeting that he’s organized the “West Tennessee Valley Rally” for years, previously holding it in Morris Chapel.
Since acquiring Hillbilly Wing Shack on Tenn. 69 just inside the Crump city limit, Owen purchased a large piece of land near the restaurant with the idea of moving the rally there, and then growing hay on the property the rest of the year.
He chuckled at the rumors that the rally, which will allow camping on-site and have live music and multiple vendors of everything from art and leather goods to keychains and clothing, could turn into a rampaging, violence filled “biker” party.
“I mean, look – I appreciate that people can worry when they hear ‘biker rally,’ but the people who come to this aren’t Hells Angels or Outlaws – and we do not want that,” Owen said.
“The people that come to this are professional working people who just like the motorcycle lifestyle. They ride in on $50,000 and $75,000 bikes; the biker gangs don’t ride specialized bikes like that, they can’t afford them. The people that come to this rally will be coming to Crump and spending a lot of money here – because they have it to spend and enjoy doing things like this.”
Owen told the Crump board he won’t sell beer, although there will be alcohol at the event on Foster Road and he will have security on site “just in case anyone acts up.” He added that no one under 21 is to be allowed entry, and every attendee must wear a bracelet to prove their age.
Owen also told the board he understands the noise ordinance and will make every attempt to not inconvenience any Crump residents in the area with excessive or late noise.
Owen said he has also hired Ken’s Septic Service of Adamsville to provide portable bathrooms and washing stations so campers can attend to basic hygiene needs while at the rally.