New weekend event features activities for bikers

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By Kristin Beck

Sometimes bad weather can be a good thing.

Terrible weather the last couple of years for the annual Shop With A Cop Motorcycle Poker Run prompted organizer Ron “Jonesy” Jones and others to seek a new date for the fall event. The move sparked the idea to expand the event into a three-day festival. The Three Rivers Motorcycle Festival will be held Friday, May 23-Sunday, May 25, at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.

With the bigger, family-friendly event, Jones also hopes for a larger donation to the local Shop with a Cop program, which provides clothing, shoes and toys for Carroll County children in need. The annual poker run usually raises between $4,000-$7,000 each year. “I’d like to see us raise $20,000,” Jones said. All proceeds from the festival will benefit the program.

Gates will open at noon Friday. Admission to the festival is $10 per day, per person. A three-day pass also is available for $15. A three-day pass including primitive camping, motorcycle parking and admission is available for $25.

“I fully expect this event to be a positive for the community,” Carrollton Police Chief Mike Willhoite said. “It should bring several people in town who will patronize local businesses, including hotels. We have a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts in the local area, so it gives them the opportunity to participate in a local event instead of having to travel for this type of event.”

A motorcycle parts swap meet,motorcycle burnout pit and midway with various vendors will be set up the entire weekend. DJ’s Tavern will host a beer garden from noon to midnight Friday and from 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday.

“There will be a police presence on site to make sure everyone has a safe, fun event,” Willhoite said.

A DJ will play music during the day, and A Band Apart and Kerosene Alley will perform Friday night. On Saturday, visitors will have the opportunity to listen to Bedford band Country Rocker, as well as Hired Guns, Night Train Express and, the headliner, Whey Jennings.

The annual poker run will kick off the Saturday morning activities. Sign-up will be from 8-11 a.m. This year’s event will be a freestyle poker run, meaning there will be no police escort like in the past, Jones said. Bikers will have from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. to make the three stops on the poker run and return to the fairgrounds. The ride will run through Bedford, Pleasureville, Gratz, Owenton, Warsaw and back to Carrollton, he said.

The cost is $20 per rider or $25 per couple. A variety of door prizes, including those from local vendors, will be awarded.

While the poker run is going on, the festival will host a number of events for children, including a bike rodeo with motorbikes and bicycles, and inflatables, Jones said. At 10 a.m., a state ATV safety course will be offered.

The motorcycle rodeo will be held in the afternoon, including barrel racing. Willy Holloway with the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education of Indiana Region 9 and also a good friend of Jones will be helping out at the event and running the rodeo.

Auctioneer Ricky Howard will host a live auction, highlighted by a mini trail motorbike donated by Hackney Trucking in Ghent and the Harley Tin Men donated by Greg Kemper.

At 9 p.m., festival-goers will enjoy watching a motorcycle demolition derby. Jones said the event has drawn a lot of interest because many people have never seen one before. The demo derby will be run on a points-based system, with cash prizes going to the winners: $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. 300cc bikes and smaller can enter.

The Christian Motorcycle Association will host a church service at 9 a.m., including a bike blessing. Sign-in for the bike show will be from 8-11 a.m. with the event lasting until 2 p.m.

Richard Carrico and the American Legion Honor Guard will conclude the festival with a veterans ceremony at 3 p.m.

Primitive and tent camping, including bathhouse showers available at the fairgrounds, costs $25 per person. This fee also includes a weekend pass to the festival.

Vehicle parking in the campground area other than motorcycles will cost an additional fee: cars and trucks, $10; trailers, $5; pull-behind campers, $25; RVs and buses, $50. Space is limited at the fairground for RV camping. To make a reservation, contact Jonesy at racedis92@yahoo.com. Cash and credit or debit cards will be accepted, but no checks. A program including all events, times and rules will be provided at admission.

The Carroll County Tobacco Festival will direct parking outside the fairground gates.

Weapons and firearms are prohibited. Pets, golf carts and ATVs also are not allowed at the campgrounds, except for disabled individuals with proper documentation. Reasonable campfires will be allowed, as well as cooking stoves and gas grills.