Wednesday, July 28, 2010

National Bikers Round-up

The forum

I have been looking for incoming bikers who would be willing to speak with me about their experiences with the National Bikers Round-up, their experiences as a biker, etc.

The event will bring a 35,000 predominantly "black" bikers to a 100,000 predominantly "white" college town, so I have been looking into the history of the event, the impact this is likely to have, and most importantly, real voices.

I found a forum that had some bikers on it and decided to make a post on it.

Here is my post:

Local photojournalist looking to speak with willing attendees of NBR
Hey everyone,

I am a reporter (and photographer) for The Columbia Missourian (a major local publication produced by fledgeling journalists).

I was given the chance to head up coverage of this year's NBR, will be there every day of the event, and am looking for interested riders who would be willing to speak with me at or before the upcoming event about their personal experiences as a rider, experiences with NBR, etc.

I am really excited to be covering the round-up and want to get to know some of you before you head out here.

I am originally from New Jersey and am out here finishing up my photojournalism degree at Mizzou. I've been here 6 years and so I will be able to answer most questions that you might have about the area.

Please feel free to respond if you are interested in speaking with me about the event, your experiences, biking in general.
(I need 5 posts before I can post my email address)

I want coverage of this event to be as comprehensive and interesting as I know the event will be.

I would love to hear your voices!

Please drop me a line and I'll see you there!

Here's the message I sent to another user

I saw your post to the forum and would like to know your thoughts on the upcoming rally.

My name is Gianna Volpe and my telephone number is 573-234-6566.

I am a reporter for the Columbia Missourian and would be interested (and very appreciative!) if I could ask you (or someone from your family) your thoughts on the upcoming rally.

I noticed that you are curious about the history of the group, but not biased.

I think yours is an important voice to include in the article preparing the community for the event.

Here's jangell's post that I referred to in the message

Please forgive the ignorance as I am fairly new to the bike rally thing. I have researched this and some sites call it the National Black Biker Roundup. Others say it's predominantly african american bikers at this event, and still others make no mention of anything other than it being a biker rally. Which is correct? Is anyone welcome to attend? One site I found called it the black sturgis. Personally, I could care less what color you are. If you ride, you're good in my book. Just curious on this particular rally, as I have family in Columbia and it would be a good excuse to go visit them.

Here's the return message that I received

Ok, so what do you mean "prepare the community"? Do you mean prepare them for a lot of black people, or for a lot of bikers? Either way, the only preperation needed is to prepare for business to be booming and lines/waits may be a little longer. If your question is, how do we prepare for a lot of black people, I'm not sure why you would ask this, but I would say you don't, just business as usual. If your question is, how do we prepare for a lot of bikers, perhaps you should call some businesses in Sturgis, Daytona, Laconia, or maybe Fayetteville, Arkansas. They have all been hosting bike rallies for years with little to no issues. And as for the combo, black bikers, I'm sure you will find that they are just like any other biker. In that sense I mean that you would be surprised, they are probably just like your neighbor, or brother, or grandpa, or your mom. Just regular people who happen to enjoy bikes. Basically, from what I read, Columbia needs to calm down. Your businesses will thank you for the influx of revenue.

Here's the first forum response I received from another user

The Columbia Missourian (a major local publication produced by fledgeling journalists).

NOT A MAJOR PUBLICATION!!! joke of a newspaper the ony reason the are still publishing is because they pay people to read this rag!

Here is my response to the insult

Originally Posted by Carl1924

"The Columbia Missourian (a major local publication produced by fledgeling journalists).

NOT A MAJOR PUBLICATION!!! joke of a newspaper the ony reason the are still publishing is because they pay people to read this rag!"

Absolutely untrue.

The Columbia Missourian is a newspaper that was established by the country's first school of journalism and teaches students of their practice how to do journalism by actually doing journalism.

Your claim that people are paid to read our paper is ridiculous.
If we had that kind of money, we would spend it on something that we need, like better equipment.

In any case, I am really excited about the rally and really hope to get in touch with someone who will be coming to Columbia for the round-up.

I invite anyone curious about our publication to google us (or whatever search engine you use)

Here are the two following posts


My wife and I will be attending the NBR in Columbia and would love to talk to you about it. We are vendors as well as bikers (VTX1300 mine, Shadow 750 Deluxe wife's) This will be our 9th NBR Ralley. Although the ralley did get it's start as a minority operated ralley it is open to all and all are welcome. In the early days Honda, Kawaski, Yamaha as well as Harley were participants. Through some misguided direction Harley was allowed to monopolize the sponsorship.

2) Careful guys

Here is the post following the above two that was written by the user who messaged me

???? careful of what??

I am curious as to why, as I read on websites, Columbia residents seem to be "freaking out" or worrying WAY to much about this rally. I got a message from the lady from the Columbia Missourian and they are very interested in this rally. My question is, are they worrying because there may be a lot of black people in town, or because there will be a lot of bikers in town? I live in Carthage Missouri and every year in the first week of August approximately 30,000 Vietnamese come to a Marian Days celebration, which is a religious "pilgrimage"/gathering of sorts for Vietnamese Catholics. All I can say about this is that the businesses in town, and the surrounding towns, are really booming during that time. As far as bikers being in town, I work in Fayetteville, AR and for years have seen the financial benefits of Bikes Blues and BBQ. I REALLY think that Columbia needs to chill, and sit back and watch the revenue pour into their economy and be thankful that this rally chose their town to host it. Theres my .02

And finally, here was my most recent response

Okay, well, I would like to say, first of all, I am not (personally) in the least bit worried or freaking out about this event.

If you're going the culture/race angle, I am from New Jersey, the most culturally diverse state in the country. (Coming to Columbia was a huge culture shock for me at first.)

If you're going the numbers angle, I am from the most densely populated state per square mile in the country. (Coming to Columbia was a sigh of relief for me)

So, any way you play it, I think I am going to feel pretty at home, though perhaps frustrated with traffic. Who knows, nobody's going to be showing up for another week.

Although, I have to say, that as the reporter for the event, I am doing what I can to inform myself about the history and culture of NBR and so perhaps my enthusiasm (which is really just my desire to be a good well-rounded and well-informed reporter) is being misinterpreted.

No worries, though, and pardon the vent.
I look forward to meeting all of you.

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