BEND AREA — The annual Memorial Day Weekend biker run in Meigs County is reinventing itself by looking to its past to shape its future — a future that may just mold the annual event into the biggest bike run in southeast Ohio and the Bend Area.
Of course many say the run is already the biggest in the area, and with well over 1,000 bikes often showing up from all over the Ohio Valley region and beyond to ride on Memorial Day Weekend, who would argue? The run receives massive support from not only Meigs County but the Bend Area in Mason County as well as Athens and Gallia counties.
This year, the 27th Annual Meigs County Memorial Run takes place on May 27 once again, with bikes arriving at noon to the Pomeroy parking lot. The run officially begins at 1 p.m. However, there are some changes this year with the run ending where it begins for the first time in 27 years — in Pomeroy.
This year, several Meigs County bike clubs have teamed up with originators of the run, the Meigs County Bikers Association, to make the run epic. Plans have been in the works for months and even include shutting down a portion of Ohio 833 in Pomeroy along Main Street to allow more parking for even more bikes when they inevitably overflow the parking lot. In addition, there will be local vendors on site selling food and beverages. Also, organizers point out all the vendors who will be joining the bikers on the parking lot will be from Meigs County to keep local dollars, local.
Not only will Ohio 833 be closed between near Rite-Aid and Butternut Ave., so will Court Street on the day of the run. Court Street will be the site of a bike show, and bike games will take place on the lower end of the parking lot after the run. Live music will also be featured. Organizers of the bike run have received permission from the Village of Pomeroy for their plans, and if all goes as scheduled, it could be a boom for Pomeroy’s downtown businesses and local economy, in general.
The run, which remains free of charge, is open to anyone with any bike and will return to its original route this year. The original route travels from Pomeroy through Middleport then to Rutland where it hits New Lima Rd. on to Harrisonville and Pagetown to Ohio 681 where it will then go to U.S. 33 and travel back into Pomeroy. The original route passes the graves of many fallen bikers whose family members often wait along the route to cheer the bikers on — bikers who are not only remembering their fallen friends but are raising money for needy children in Meigs County.
The run began, and remains, as a means to raise funds to buy Christmas presents for less fortunate kids in Meigs County. These funds are made by selling commemorative T-shirts at the run and holding cash drawings. Without the run, many children go without during the holidays.
Joining the Meigs County Bikers Association this year in organizing the run are the Christian Motorcycle Association, the Devils Diciples, the Reveltorz Benefit Riders and Backroad Bikers.
Organizers are also offering an opportunity for others to honor those they’ve lost by placing their name on a memorial banner which will hang on the gazebo on the parking lot and will hang at subsequent runs through the years. It costs $25 to place a person’s name, birth and death dates on the banner. Those who want information about this can call Sonya Wolfe at 742-1116. The deadline is May 18.
T-shirts for the run are available now at River City Sports Bar and Gloeckner’s in Pomeroy. There will also be primitive camping in the area behind River City Sports Bar and the old Sugar Run Mill during the event.
In addition, local fire fighters will raise their ladders in Pomeroy, creating an arch for bikers to exit the parking lot to begin the run. Local American Legion members will also be involved in the festivities to recognize the Memorial Day Weekend. In addition, the Pomeroy Eagles will again be offering a biker breakfast the day of the run.
Organizers hope by embracing the old as well as implementing these new changes, the Memorial Day Run will continue to roll and roar on for years to come.