Thousands of Harley-Davidson owners will swarm Memphis this spring, and 600 of them will get a chance to ride their "hogs" right up to the front steps of Graceland. The Tennessee State H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Rally is May 31 to June 4. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that involves two great American icons, Elvis Presley's Graceland and Harley Davidson motorcycles. It's one you certainly don't want to miss
"Elvis loved motorcycles because they were kind of a symbol of the rebellion of the 50s," says Kevin Kern with Graceland.
The Harley Owners Group is a national organization that has about 600,000 members. "If you own a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, you are welcome to join it. Each year Tennessee puts on a state rally. This year, for the first time in a long time, it's in Memphis" says Bob Baxter, director of the rally.
And it's fitting that the crown jewel of the event will be the chance for those bikers to ride their motorcycles up the driveway to Graceland and have their portrait taken with their bike in front of the mansion. "You never knew what would be in Elvis' garage here at Graceland, but it would always include a motorcycle," said Kern.
"We are going to have dinner at the automobile museum and a professional photographer is going to take pictures of people and their motorcycles right here on the front steps of Graceland," said Baxter, "We're going to stage down on Elvis Presley Boulevard, and you get to ride up the driveway between the great oak trees. We'll stage each bike and the Graceland professional photographer will take a portrait. This is a rare opportunity. We really appreciate Graceland for letting us come right up here on the grounds of Graceland, particularly with our Harley-Davidson motorcycles."
"Elvis really enjoyed riding, driving Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It's America's motorcycle and it certainly was the King of Rock n' Roll's motorcycle as well," said Kern as he gave me a tour of the King's bikes just before Elvis week last summer.
And the portrait at Graceland isn't the only Elvis touch to the rally. Baxter said, "We are going to have an Elvis themed day on the Wednesday of our week-long rally. We're going to ride to Tupelo, MS, Elvis' birthplace, tour the auto museum and the other museums, then we'll be riding up here to get our portraits."
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Chris Best is the Assistant News Director for WMC Action News 5. He's a husband and father of four, He's also a motorcycle enthusiast.