COLUMBIA — Columbia has landed a national motorcycle rally scheduled for August that is expected to have at least a $3 million economic impact on the area, said Lorah Steiner, executive director of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The National Bikers Roundup plans to host its 2010 rally from Aug. 1 to 8, 2010, at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Steiner said she expects 30,000 bikers to cruise the streets of mid-Missouri, booking anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 hotel rooms.
The peak of the rally should be Friday and Saturday night, she said, with 10,000 to 15,000 people coming to Columbia.
"It's a huge impact, and it's what we need now," said Steiner, who called the $3 million impact a "conservative estimate."
The National Bikers Roundup was founded in 1977.
In August, the club held its annual rally in Atlanta. The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau sent two people to Atlanta to present their argument for Columbia hosting the event next year.
Steiner said bureau officials presented their experience with big events in the past and argued that Columbia has the hotels and other venues needed for such a large rally.
"We were the ones who came with hotel contracts in hand and all of the required site information," Steiner said.
Steiner said residents should expect a lot of motorcyclists and a lot of noise, but most of the activity should end around 11:30 p.m. or midnight.
She called the event a "mini-Sturgis," comparing it to the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., that draws hundreds of thousands of people.
Steiner also said many of the attendees travel in RVs and plan to stay at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
The National Bikers Roundup plans to employ a private security company from St. Louis to secure the fairgrounds 24 hours a day. But Steiner said in the more than 30 years the roundup has been hosted, only two incidents have arisen.
At last year's rally, a car carrying uninvited motorcyclists with guns tried to crash the rally but was intercepted by the FBI before it arrived at the roundup, Steiner said.
"If you have a town of 30,000, there's going to be crime," Steiner said. "This has a very good track record."
Steiner said setup for the rally starts on Aug. 1 but most attendees plan to stay from Aug. 3 to 8.