One event that will extend beyond the Expo Complex is the Big Bend Bike Rally Parade Ride following the opening ceremonies at approximately 10:30 a.m. Riders will leave the Expo with a police escort; riders will go through two of Great Bend’s parks, down three of the city’s most heavily traveled streets, and back to the Expo Complex in a relaxed, half-hour ride.
The route starts at the Expo and proceeds to West Barton County Road (10th Street), east to 10th and K-96, northeast on K-96 and then east on 17th St., going past Veterans Memorial Park to McKinley St. The ride then turns north on McKinley to 24th St., turns east toward Main St., following Main south the Broadway. Turning west, the parade takes Broadway to Harrison St., proceeds south on Harrison to 10th St., and heads back to the Expo.
Motorcycle races, stunt riders and tattoo artists are all part of the fun of the third Big Bend Bike Rally, Saturday at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend. For music lovers, there’s a Battle of the Bands contest, followed by a concert featuring Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, an ambitious rock band that toured with ZZ Top this spring.
Gates to the Expo grounds — for those who don’t camp out there on Friday — open at 8 a.m., with events continuing until midnight. Wristbands for admission are $15 each, with kids 12 years of age and younger admitted for free. However, the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce can supply wristbands for $10 each for groups of 10 or more, according to Rachel Mawhirter at the chamber, 1125 Williams St.
Big Bend Bike Rally wristbands give free admission to the Expo Complex, its shaded beer garden, the car/bike show, the vendor area, the parade ride, the bike games and all of the entertainment.
Those in attendance at the 2010 Big Bend Bike Rally may enter for a chance to win one of three cash prizes to be given away during the awards ceremony during the live entertainment starting at 8 p.m. Spend a minimum of $5 at any Great Bend area retailer or with a Big Bend Bike Rally vendor on Friday or Saturday, then bring the receipt out to the bike rally and enter it in the drawing. There is one $100 prize and two $50 prizes; entrants do not have to be present to win.
During the day, the Kansas Sidewinders Motorcycle Club will conduct motorcycle games, such as a contest to see who can drive the slowest, a water balloon toss and a "weenie bite," where riders drive under a string with hot dogs tied on it while their passengers try to bite a hot dog.
For bike rally coordinator Robin Fabricius, one of the most exciting aspects of this chamber-sponsored event is its location, which includes the celebrated quarter-mile dragstrip on the grounds. The Run What Ya Brung races will be hosted by the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association (S.R.C.A.), and aren’t just limited to motorcycles. Cost is $10 for one pass down the strip or $30 for unlimited passes. There are some safety restrictions, all outlined — with many other details — on the rally’s website: www.bigbendbikerally.com. There’s still time to enter the band contest, CPI Relay for Life Car Show, skateboarding contest and other special events through this site, Fabricius said, although time is running out. There’s also time to schedule a professional tattoo or body piercing on Friday or Saturday.
The winner of the Battle of the Bands competition on Saturday afternoon will open for headliner JTNL, with a half-hour show starting at 8 p.m.
Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, described as one of the most electrifying young bands in America, will be on stage from 8:30-11 p.m. The band has opened for heavyweights like AC/DC, Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd, released its first album this spring, and has also appeared on ABC’s "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" this year.