On May 21st, 2021, I sat on my couch scrolling through endless and typically useless bits of information on Instagram. Whether it was through a mutual friend or maybe sheer luck I found out about a chopper event the next day right in my home zip code. Lucky me, right? The weather was good, I didn’t have plans, and when you see that there’s a chopper show in a VFW hall parking lot that offers a free beer with each $5 entry, how are you NOT going to go?
No loading up, no pre-trip inspections, just a sunny Saturday morning was all I needed to make it over to the Hoedown Roll Down. My girlfriend and I found a parking space among all the other bikes and what was refreshing to see was the selection of bikes in the lot. There was everything there from your rigid panhead to a custom Honda Rebel, a few touring bikes and most importantly, a chill vibe. With some tunes playing, a few food vendors set up and a fully stocked bar inside the VFW hall itself, we moseyed around the property to find several vans and tents out back ready for a camp out. No expectations, no attitudes, delicious boiled peanuts and some like minded people. That makes for a nice Saturday afternoon.
After making a few new friends, we saddled back up and took the long way home, which was about a 45-minute ride. I don’t remember the rest of the evening, but that first-year event was a positive experience, so when I started seeing the Hoedown Roll Down advertised again for 2022, I started clearing my calendar to attend.
A lot has changed for me in the last year. I changed jobs and industries. I sold my home and moved to another state. None of those trivial things were going to stop me from checking out this second-year event that had greatly improved it’s location. Look, the parking lot of a VFW Hall isn’t a bad spot, but the area where the event was held just outside of Summerville Georgia this year was incredible. The Hoedown team worked to clear off a large grassy area where they had a cash bar, van camping and bike parking, then a little deeper into the property was a designated bike camping area and the best feature of the venue was a beautiful, well depending on where you grew up, it was either a large creek or a small river. I’ll call it a large creek.
Not knowing what to fully expect, we loaded up my van and I rode my bike to the event. For me it was a nice two-and-a-half-hour ride and while the route wasn’t particularly inspiring, it was also nice to be riding somewhere other than work and home. While the loose gravel entrance was a bit daunting for some, the picturesque landscape beyond the entrance was completely worth the last-minute skills check before you parked. We were greeted by friendly people who traded our cash for a wristband and then backed the van up next to the river and began getting things set up for an afternoon of relaxation. Originally, we had planned to ride around the area all afternoon, but one dip into the refreshing water on the property quickly changed our minds about that!
For several hours we floated with our new friends until we got the bright idea to dry off and head into town for some grub. By the time we got back to the event it was almost time for biker games and at this point in the night, it was very obvious that there were more people in attendance than I had originally guessed. For a second-year event at a fairly secluded location, there were a hundred or so of our new friends cheering on the participants who were taking part in the keg roll, board ride and slow races. As the sun dipped below the creek bank the music rolled and the party got under way. A bonfire helped dry us off and as the night got later and the fire cooled to a simmer I laid on the air mattress and thought about how every event should be this relaxing.
From the organizer’s posts on Instagram following the weekend, the event was a roaring success, and they have already pledged to be at the same location next year. I think it can only get better! If you want to check out this event for yourself, follow @hoedownrolldown on Instagram and if you can’t make it out this way for it, just keep your eyes peeled for local events. You just never know when you might find a really good time close to home.