rallyBy Eva Potter

When asked why people should come to Rally in the Valley, event founder Dennis Jones answered, “To experience the biggest event that Olean has!”

The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Gowanda Harley Davidson, and the Greater Olean Motorcycle Enthusiasts are hosting the 11th annual Rally in the Valley, which will conclude on Sunday afternoon in Olean.

The five-day motorcycle rally benefits a host of community charities and is expected to draw over 8,000 participants and spectators.

The event kicked off Aug. 21 with a Rally Warm-up event at the CUTCO/KA-BAR Visitors Center and featured a chicken BBQ, door prizes, motorcycles and the unveiling of the annual Rally commemorative KA-BAR knife. Jones said the knife is made each year just for this event and can be purchased for $25. Thursday night’s good times included a family street dance.

Friday really kicks off the Rally in a big way with a motorcycle parade, Big Wheel adult race and bike judging contest — the public gets to choose the awards in nine different categories. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink in honor of breast cancer survivors and loved ones. PINK Rally shirts will be for sale at the event. At 7 p.m., parachutists from Free Fall Oz will “drop” into the stadium. The evening features music by Citizens Radio Band and a fireworks display.

Jones said, “The fireworks — they’re great — we put a lot of money into that.”

Saturday’s Bradner Stadium festivities run from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. and include a stadium “street festival” with a variety of activities including bike contests, bands, foods and vendors.

According to Jones, “There are about 60 vendors between food and equipment in the stadium.”

Test your motorcycling skills and balance at the Biker Rodeo. Compete for a chance to win cash prizes. Bike contests include slow ride, ball drop, tire toss and hot dog.

Continental School of Beauty will rock your hair into the latest looks with stylists to guide you through the steps. Eric Jones will on-site to draw caricatures as well as cartoon drawings. AKT Combatives Academy will showcase many aspects of martial arts.

New this year—there will be a Street Masters car show across the street at War Veteran’s Park. The events will be connected via the tunnel under East State Street. Bring your hot rods, customs, classics, muscles or whatever you have and be part of the show. Car registration begins 9 a.m. with dash plaques to the first 100 cars. Ed McCleaft from Shinglehouse, Pa., will be showing his 7-second, rear engine rail dragster — the Sheila G.

The musical entertainment on Saturday includes Steel Reign and Kashmir 4–7 p.m., and the Ultimate Led Zeppelin Band 8–11 p.m., who Jones calls “phenomenal.”

One thing is certain — you won’t go hungry this weekend! Food vendors will have pizza, fried dough, Texas hots, tacos, milkshakes, nachos, biker burgers, roasted corn and more. Retail vendors will have motorcycle accessories, clothing, sunglasses, leatherwear, motorcycles, even a truck/trailer to haul your motorcycle!

Sunday concludes this year’s Rally, but not before a whole lot of two-wheeled fun. Bikes will take to the road and complete an approximate 130-mile Dice Run ending at Bradner Stadium in Olean with a food, music, prizes and more. Cash and prizes valued at $2,000 are at stake. The Dice Run leaves the stadium on Front Street and heads through Olean and Allegany and into Pennsylvania before heading back to a finish in Olean.

Music by The Trolls 3:30–6:30 p.m., the Rally Corn Hole Tournament, and the finals of The Voice of The Rally all take place on Sunday. Special Dice Run T-shirts will be for sale all weekend. Enchanted Mountain Towing will follow the dice run participants with their “trailer” to help riders with any cycle problems.

You can still purchase tickets at the event for a chance to win a Harley-Davidson 2013 Street Glide FLHX or 2012 CarMate enclosed two-bike trailer. The tickets are $20 each or three tickets for $50, with a limit of 3,000 tickets sold. The drawing will be announced on Sunday.  Purchase tickets at the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Poor Cow Leather, Stavish’s Parkwood Tavern, Rally committee members and during the Rally event.

Registration, directions, and additional information can be found online at www.oleanny.com or call Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce (716) 372-4433. Check out the www.facebook.com/RallyInTheValleyOleanNY page, too.