Moree was the winner over the weekend, as Harley-Davidson enthusiasts brought more than just their motorbikes to town for the 2017 NSW/ACT HOG Rally.
More than 500 Harley Owners Group (HOG) members from all over NSW and Queensland, as well as some members from as far as Tasmania, South Australia and even Papua New Guinea, spent the weekend in Moree for the three-day ‘Party on the Plains’ rally.
With HOGs booking out local motels and eating out in Moree’s cafes and restaurants, the rally was a huge tourism boost for Moree.
Tourism Moree CEO Tammy Elbourne estimates the HOGs would have injected “millions” of dollars into the local economy.
“It doesn’t get much better than this for tourism dollars,” she said.
“You’ve got accommodation, fuel and food, plus shopping. They spent a lot of their time in the main street shopping for clothing and groceries, as well as eating out in cafes and restaurants.
“They had a lovely time enjoying the hospitality of Moree.”
Ms Elbourne said Tourism Moree also had the biggest intake of local businesses who participated in their Moree Visitor Passport for the HOGs.
“It all makes them feel welcome,” she said.
Big Sky HOG Chapter assistant director Steve Gower said the HOGs had the best time in Moree and certainly did feel welcomed by the local community.
“Everyone had a great time,” he said.
“Everyone I spoke to from different Chapters, they just love [Moree], they thought it was so great. A few of them even said they want to come back.”
As well as utilising Moree’s shops and eateries, many HOGs also visited the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre during their down time.
The weekend included two dinners at Moree Services Club, with local bands Contingency Plan and Three Mile Junction performing on Friday, while Harley-Davidson band The Screaming Eagles performed on Saturday.
The HOGS also participated in a number of guided tours throughout the Moree district, including one to Bellata and Terry Hie Hie on Friday and another to Sawn Rock and then to Bingara for lunch and back through Gravesend on Saturday. The Ladies of Harley did a guided tour to Pallamallawa on Saturday where they enjoyed morning tea put on by Pallamallawa Public School’s P and F Association.
The biggest highlight of the weekend was the Thunder Run on Sunday, which saw residents line the streets of Moree as the 500 bikes roared through town.
“The amount of residents that came out was incredible – there were people on each side of the main street waving as we went by,” Mr Gower said.
“As soon as they heard the rumble of the bikes they came out of their houses and stopped their cars to watch.”
Moree residents then turned out to the Moree Services Club to check out the array of Harleys at the Show and Shine.
Mr Gower would like to thank the residents and businesses of Moree, particularly Moree Services Club, who made their time so great.
“We’re just so grateful to the residents of Moree and how receptive they were to all Harley Owners Group Chapters,” he said.
“The RSL were phenomenal, the staff were exceptional.
“All the businesses that supported us were absolutely fantastic.”
More photos here.