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Thunder Rally 6/10/06



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Parade of motorcycles

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White motorcycles at end of parade

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Several of our storefronts were rented out for the event

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The motorcycles filled the streets for blocks

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This one caught everyone's eye

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View from the parking garage

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Bike blockbuster brings thousands downtown

SANDUSKY - The North Coast Thunder Rally on Saturday evening attracted record numbers, or at least felt like it did. The block party was so successful, downtown almost wasn't able to accommodate the thousands of motorcycles purring and rumbling into downtown. With nearly 60 food and merchandise vendors -- twice as many as last year -- taking up precious space needed for the hogs, even those watching the parade began to wonder where everyone would park. ...

At least 1,500 bikers participated into the parade, not including the countless bikes already in downtown by the time the party started at 5 p.m. "Here they come, here they come," Mark and Darla Clemens announced as they watched for the bikers making their way downtown via Columbus Avenue. The couple waved and cheered as the bikers came into downtown, where flames also welcomed the bikers. We love to come down to the festival every year," Darla said. "There are bikes everywhere."

Will Roeder, co-owner of Roeder Harley-Davidson and organizer of the North Coast Thunder Rally, estimated nearly 10,000 people at the block party.

"I have never seen it so packed," Roeder yelled over the noise of the motorcycles. 

His wife and business partner, Julie Roeder, said the rally was renamed Ohio Bike Week this year as the event grows larger and larger every year.

Big crowds of bikers starting coming to Sandusky in 1999 when the sanctioned Harley Owners Group had its state rally in downtown in 1999 and 2000. Because the city of Sandusky and local bikers didn't want the party to end, North Coast Thunder Rally was born.

Will Roeder said bikers from Arizona, California and Florida participated. He doesn't know how many of them were in the area anyway for Cedar Point, but is glad for the support.

"I think it is awesome to have something like this up North," said "Mad Max" Perez, who couldn't get over something so great being in Ohio.

Port Clinton biker Tom Turner was in downtown selling T-shirts and promoting Hogs by the Bay. There will be a rally Sept. 9 in Port Clinton. He hopes to attract as many to his city as Sandusky has. But it might be a challenge....

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Last modified: May 26, 2010