BAKER CITY — The Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally will celebrate its 20th anniversary this week, and its new organizer is excited about the growing popularity of an event that brings thousands of riders and others to Baker County.
Todd Godfrey, of High Desert Harley-Davidson in Meridian, Idaho, is organizing the rally, which runs from Thursday through Sunday, and he said he wants to make “this the premier motorcycle rally in the Pacific Northwest.”
This is the first year the Harley-Davidson dealership has organized the rally, but the business has been selling motorcycles during the event “for a minimum of 10 years,” Godfrey said.
“It’s going to be great,” he said. “Everybody, literally everybody in Baker County and the city has said nothing but nice things about the rally. And it just shows me how the community gets behind the events here and it’s going to be a good one.”
Brothers Steve and Eric Folkestad started the rally. For the first several years it was a relatively small and private event involving the brothers and a few dozen of their friends who were enthralled by the variety of riding routes available.
But in 2006 the Folkestads decided to promote the event and, in effect, invite everyone. More than 1,500 riders rolled into town in May of that year.
(The event later moved to June and, eventually, to its current slate in July to take advantage of more reliable weather.)
Kurt Miller of Baker City has been an integral part of the rally for the past several years, and last year officials announced that High Desert Harley-Davidson would oversee the event starting in 2019.
Godfrey said word about the rally continues to spread throughout the country.
He said he has received emails from travelers who have heard about the rally and want to visit Baker. Godfrey is also hearing from “national corporations wanting to come for next year.”
“This is a family event,” Godfrey said. “We want everybody to bring their kids down, check out all the motorcycles, check out the vendors, and we have the flat track races Friday night.”
Steven Adler, former drummer with Guns ‘N Roses, will be performing Saturday evening at the fairgrounds along with two other music acts from Boise. Music starts at 6 p.m.
There will be a private meet-and-greet with Adler before his show, and only 30 tickets are available.
“We’re excited about it, we have visions to continue every year and make it bigger and better and keep it going,” Godfrey said.