COLUMBIA —Michelle Long, a secretary at the fairgrounds where the National Bikers Roundup was held in 2008, said the group contradicted her stereotype of bikers.
"They were the politest group of individuals that I've met in my entire life," Long said. "It was great, and we'd love to have them back."
The attendance estimate for that event was between 5,000 and 10,000 bikers, considerably fewer than the number expected starting Tuesday in Columbia.
The 2008 roundup was the last time the rally was held at a fairgrounds. The bikers traveled from around the country to the Westmoreland Fairgrounds in rural Westmoreland County, just outside of Greensburg, Pa. Greensburg, a town near Pittsburgh, has a population of about 16,000.
Last year, the annual rally was held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and drew about 85,000 for the week-long event.
The bikers who attended the 2008 rally largely policed themselves and made sure to manage trouble makers before situations got out of control, said Daniel Stevens, public information officer for the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety.
"The roundup was the biggest non-event that we've ever had," Stevens said.
His feelings were similar to Long's.
"The bikers were good people, treated the property well and were good to the neighbors," Stevens said.
No one was hurt, and despite the great number of motorcycles in the area, there were no complaints about noise, he said.
Local businesses felt some strain, Long said. She recalled hearing that Wal-Mart ran out of meat and that gas stations had to order extra fuel during the event so they wouldn't run out.
The rally returns to Missouri after taking place at the Kansas City International Raceway in 2007 for the event's 30th anniversary.