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H.O.G. rally draws motorcyclists to Columbia

Friday, August 27, 2010 | 10:48 p.m. CDT; updated 10:25 a.m. CDT, Monday, August 30, 2010

 COLUMBIA — A woman riding on the back of her husband's Harley Davidson motorcycle begins to stand up, preparing for the challenge ahead. Mouth wide open, she bites into a hot dog dangling from a fork on a string as her husband drives under it. Whoever gets the most hot dog during the game wins.

It's not a hot dog eating contest. It's a risqué game at the 2010 Missouri State H.O.G. Rally.

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Harley Owners Group members gathered at the rally from Thursday through Saturday at the Holiday Executive Center in Columbia to ride bikes and participate in activities on and off the motorcycle.

Brad Sabol, the lead coordinator for the rally, said the games were meant to foster camaraderie between the riders and to make the audience laugh.

Sabol said the motorcycle games require thought and precision of riding.

"A lot of what we do are skills tests," Sabol said.

Sabol joined H.O.G. 10 years ago and has ridden motorcycles on and off for the last 40 years. He said Harley riders stop and talk to each other even if they are strangers.

"It's the biggest family you never knew," Sabol said.

Bob Pummill from Sedalia became a member of the Central Missouri H.O.G. Chapter six years ago.

Pummill rode his Ultra Class touring bike to the rally alongside 60 other members, including his wife. He said they always ride to their destination and try to take the back roads to see the country.

Pummill, who has attended nine rallies, said he participated in all of Friday's field events for fun.

"Big grown-ups acting like kids is what it's all about," he said.

Pummill said his favorite field event is the slow ride, during which riders line up in lanes and drive as slowly as possible without putting their feet down. The last person to cross the finish line wins the heat.

"If you want to get good you've got to practice," Pummill said.

Although he didn't have an ideal finish in the slow ride, Pummill and his wife finished second in the stud race. During the race, one person walks with a toilet plunger between their legs to their partner holding a roll of toilet paper between their knees. The object of the game is to insert the handle of the plunger in the toilet paper and bring it back to the starting line the fastest without using hands.

Despite the rally's quirky games, meeting new people and making friends from different states is Pummill's favorite aspect of motorcycle rallies. He said gathering with the people he met the year before is a rally tradition.

Two other rally attendees, Tami Osantowski and her daughter Christina, 16, rode their motorcycles 420 miles from Columbus, Neb., to the rally. Osantowski began riding 20 years ago and has been a H.O.G. member for 15 years.

The Missouri State H.O.G. Rally was the third for Tami and Christina. They rode on one of three organized routes through Columbia. Two other rides took bikers through downtown Columbia and the areas surrounding the city.

Tami and Christina also plan to ride their bikes in the rally parade on Saturday. The parade is set to begin at Rock Bridge High School at 6 p.m. Sabol estimates 250 to 500 motorcycles will ride in the parade.

"It is one of the favorite activities for attendees," Sabol said.

Columbia competed with at least three other cities to host the H.O.G. rally this year. Missouri State H.O.G. Rally chapters and dealers chose the city two years ago to be the 2010 host site. Planning for the rally's events began a year in advance, Sabol said.

Pummill said he was glad to see the rally held in Columbia this year.

"It is good for people in the community to see," Pummill said. "I wish more locals could come watch what goes on."


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