Editor's note: A correction has been made to this article regarding Thursday night's opening ceremony. It is not open to the public. It is only for rally participants.
WINCHESTER — Organizers still don’t know how many people will be in Winchester this week for the Curves to Cores Harley Owners Group (HOG) Rally, but they know it will be the biggest gathering of its kind in at least 12 years.
“Registration cuts off tonight at midnight,” rally coordinator Jo Ann Emmons said Tuesday while preparing for the onslaught of bikers expected to check in this morning at rally headquarters, the Clarion Inn and Conference Center at 711 Millwood Ave.
As of three weeks ago, more than 2,300 people had already registered for the Curves to Cores HOG Rally.
“We had 150 new registrations just last week,” Emmons said Tuesday.
The regional rally, which was announced in late July, is targeted toward Harley owners in the eastern United States but is open to everyone. Emmons said people from 39 states and four countries have signed up for this year’s gathering.
When asked why someone would travel thousands of miles to attend the HOG Rally in Winchester, she said, “Because we’re good.”
The rally got off to a quiet start Tuesday night as about 150 early arrivals were given a private tour of the Patsy Cline Historic House at 608 S. Kent St. Winchester donated the services of its trolley to transport attendees to and from the country music singer’s former home.
Starting today and continuing through Saturday, participants will be able to enjoy a wide range of leisurely motorcycle rides throughout the region, guided by custom maps created just for Curves to Cores. There also will be special activities including scavenger hunts, a winery and cidery tour, live music, games, a poker run, karaoke, nightly poolside celebrations at the Clarion, and a biker wedding with more than 1,000 guests on Friday evening in downtown Winchester.
Emmons said the public is invited to join rally participants at several of this week’s events, including a community meet and greet to honor emergency services personnel from 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday at the Costco Wholesale store at 251 Front Royal Pike, a block party from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday on the Loudoun Street Mall, and a parade through Old Town with approximately 2,500 motorcycles at 11:45 a.m. Saturday.
Emmons said it would be impossible for rally participants to do all the rides and visit every local attraction in just four days, so she hopes some of the Curves to Cores riders will return to Winchester in the future.
“Winchester’s an awesome place to come do your riding and everything else,” she said. “Every time I’ve come in, the people have been phenomenal.”
Emmons doesn’t foresee any problems due to rain because riders will come into town with bad-weather attire and gear. In the event of a deluge, though, “We’ll figure out something. We can play cornhole in the lobby.”
Emmons said the Harley owners have selected NW Works Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides paid and unpaid vocational training and jobs for physically and mentally disabled adults in the Winchester area, as the charitable beneficiary of the Curves to Cores.
“They’re going to have a table up front [in the registration room] to explain what they are, who they are, what they’re about,” she said. “They’ll sell 50/50 tickets, that kind of stuff, and all the money is theirs. We don’t take a dime.”
Emmons said she isn’t paid for organizing the annual HOG rallies, nor are the members of her committee. They do it because of their love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the people who ride them.
“They’re great people,” she said. “These people love to come and get together with their friends.”