McGregor to be first stop of this summer’s Romper Room motorcycle ride
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
With its scenic views and unique businesses, McGregor attracts sloughs of motorcyclists each year. In just one day—on Saturday, June 21—the city will bring in roughly 1,300 motorcycles, as riders will descend on the city for the 25th annual Romper Room Fun Run motorcycle ride.
Starting in Earlville, Iowa, the riders will arrive in McGregor around 12:30 p.m., making the city their first stop. Carl Hexom, owner of Crazy Carl’s Silver Dollar Saloon and organizer and host of the McGregor stop, said this will be a big boon for the city and its businesses.
“Financially, for the town and everyone, that’s the best because it’s the food stop,” he said.
The stop has been in the works for awhile, so Hexom has already coordinated with the McGregor Clan Lions Club to provide food. The stop, which Hexom said will last for two hours, at the most, will also give bikers the opportunity to check out other businesses. With an estimated 1,300 motorcycles, Hexom said McGregor could expect around 2,200 people. Since it’s an anniversary year, there could be even more than that.
“That’s what we hope to get here,” said McGregor Mayor Harold Brooks, as he and the council listened to Hexom’s plans for the event at the March 10 council meeting.
With the bikes expected to take up several city blocks, the event will also have a lot of visual appeal.
“It’s going to draw people who want to see the bikes,” said councilman Joe Muehlbauer.
The bikers will gather on B Street and in the parking lot next to Crazy Carl’s Silver Dollar Saloon, which will also hold live entertainment. Much of Main Street will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The police department and other volunteers will work to direct traffic coming into and through town. The city will provide port-a-potties and additional garbage cans to accommodate the large crowd.
Hexom said the local band 88 MPH slated to play during the event. His beer distributors are aware and will help him order the amount of beer needed for an event this size. He said he has already started making ice as well.
Although the rush will last around two hours, Hexom said he plans to extend the party throughout the day, bringing in evening entertainment to keep other visitors in town.
“Other businesses would be wise to do the same,” said councilwoman Rogeta Halvorson, mentioning that other bars and restaurants should also have food available, while the shops should have sales. “We want all retailers and everybody to know and participate,” she continued.
Hexom said the stop should also pay dividends down the road.
“The run’s wonderful, but the repeat business to the area two years after is huge,” he said. “People will say, ‘We just had to come back.’”
Hexom said he is open to entertainment suggestions and welcomes people with questions or concerns to stop in or give him a call. He is excited with the plans so far and hopes the weather cooperates.
“Pray for nice weather,” he said, “but they’ll come rain or shine. Even if it’s pouring rain, there will still be 600 people here.”