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Warrensburg's 'renegade' bike rally is growing

Taking a break from manning his booth May 30 at the Warrensburg Bike Rally, vendor ‘Badger Bob’ Huddleson talks about the pelts, furs and animal heads he uses to create his eye-catching motorcycle helmets — one of which is owned by rock star Steven Tyler. Held simultaneously with the internationally-renowned Americade touring motorcycle rally, the  Warrensburg show continues through June 8 at the Warren County Fairgrounds off Schroon River Road, Warrensburg

Taking a break from manning his booth May 30 at the Warrensburg Bike Rally, vendor ‘Badger Bob’ Huddleson talks about the pelts, furs and animal heads he uses to create his eye-catching motorcycle helmets — one of which is owned by rock star Steven Tyler. Held simultaneously with the internationally-renowned Americade touring motorcycle rally, the Warrensburg show continues through June 8 at the Warren County Fairgrounds off Schroon River Road, Warrensburg Photo by Thom Randall.

— On the Warren County Fairgrounds May 30, Ed Zibro wheeled his golf cart around the aisles of the Warrensburg Bike Rally to talk with vendors at the annual event he co-founded in 2001.

A man lurched toward him, extending his arm for a handshake. It was Kevin Roach of Daytona

Beach Fla., a vendor of motorcycle apparel.

“I want to thank you — the crowd here is unreal,” he said about attendance at what’s been called the “renegade” motorcycle rally which has become successful on the coattails of Americade. “People are just rolling in — it’s been non-stop all day.”

Driving past several of his 40 vendors, Zibro talked about the growth of the rally he co-founded with Gary Verhulst, a motorcycle tire vendor from Georgia.

“We have vendors from the Florida Keys to California,” Zibro said. “It’s turned out to be a home run.”

With 30,000 or more motorcyclists expected to register at this week’s colossal Americade touring motorcycle rally in Lake George — and that many or more dropping into the village unregistered — the attendance at Zibro’s rival rally is expected to grow substantially in the next few days.

Zibro said his vendors have doubled from 20 to 40 this year, and his attendance has multiplied by the same factor.

Driving past vendors, Verhulst speculated on the reason for the growth. He said that the Warrensburg rally’s vendor fees are far lower than Americade’s, which ranges from several thousand dollars to eight thousand at their TourExpo. Vendors who spend several thousand dollars just on fuel to haul their booth and merchandise from Florida, Arizona or California can’t afford to pay the Americade fees and still make a profit, he added, but they can at the Warrensburg rally — which he predicted would double in size and attendance again in 2015.

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delivron 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Warrensburg Bike Week is a celebration of some disgruntled bikers who are really “Klingons” - clinging on to the coat tails of Americade. Many are not aware that the Dutcher family spends tens of thousands of dollars annually to promote the Lake George region and then puts on a great event for motorcyclists. Meanwhile the “Klingons” in Warrensburg make innuendos that their rally has increased exponentially in the number of vendors. There is photographic proof to show otherwise. Yes I have the photos to prove the vendor numbers have only increased about 25% - not doubled. Warrensburg offers a free trade show but not a real motorcycle rally. Apparently who they want to attract has little to do with what the motorcycle touring community really wants. Americade and the Dutcher family offer free safety training, free parking, planned destination rides with and without guides, demo rides from almost every motorcycle manufacture, and new this year what will be the largest fireworks show ever in Lake George. Warrensburg Bike Week on the other hand consists of approximately 30 vendors hawking their wares - not the gathering of riders with lifelong friendships and camaraderie that Americade offers.

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