SIKESTON -- Over 500 motorcycles are expected to roar into Sikeston for the Third Annual Bootheel Wings Rally on June 1 at the Chamber of Commerce grounds.
"Last year, a couple from Raleigh got married at the rally," said Andy Gilliam, rally promoter. "We set up a stage. They drove the motorcycle up one side of the ramp, said their vows and rode back down the other side of the ramp. They're still married, too."
While not all the rallies host weddings, Gilliam does promise fun and entertainment for those who attend. From the bike show to the talent show to the street dance, the 14-hour charity event offers a jam-packed schedule for its visitors. The proceeds from the entire event will ultimately be donated to St. Judes Children's Research Hospital, Gilliam said.
The rally kicks off at 8 a.m. with registration and organization of the motorcycles being displayed in the bike show. The morning also provides a chance to socialize and see the vendors, he said. Vendors from four different states will be present at the rally and will sell items varying from motorcycle parts to ink pens, Gilliam noted.
Bootheel Wings is a chapter of the national organization, Gold Wing Road Riders, and has been in Sikeston for nine years. It's gained so many members that the chapter had to be split into two Missouri chapters (L and V). Both chapters combined, total approximately 65 members, Gilliam said.
The bike show begins at noon and is. "Instead of charging the public to view the bike show, we're setting up containers by each motorcycle for visitors to make donations," Gilliam said. "The motorcycle with the most money wins the Best of Show category and receives a trophy. All of the money will be donated to the SEMO Shriners, who will then be given to St. Judes."
Proceeds were donated to Shriners during the first year of the rally, and last year, the raised money went to the Kenny Rogers Children's Center, Gilliam said. Throughout the year, Bootheel Wings donates money to the Stoddard County Children's Home and sponsors the Battered Women and Children's Center in both Malden and Sikeston, he said. Also from noon to 2 p.m., the Shriners Clown Unit will help judge the motorcycles in 35 categories. Immediately following the bike show, the individual talent show will take place. A parade traveling up Malone Avenue and over to Kingshighway will begin around 4 p.m.
After the parade, the rally breaks for supper. From 6 to 10 p.m., a street dance will be held, and this year the '60s band "Thirteenth Floor" will play. Gilliam said since a band is playing at the dance, $5 will be charged for public admission. Also, any person with paid rally admission who is interested will receive a free breakfast at the Ramada Inn, he said.
Gilliam encourages those who enjoy motorcycles to come to the rally. He calls the organization family-oriented and said no alcohol is ever involved with any of their events. "It's just good, clean fun, and it will be a good time," Gilliam said. "Come and help judge the bike show and make a donation for Shriners."
Cost for registration prior to the rally is $10, or $12.50 for onsight registration. To enter the rally, call Gilliam at (573) 624-6036. Ryan's Steakhouse and the Ramada Inn in Sikeston are sponsors of the rally.