Thousands of bikers will spend this weekend in northern Iowa at the 21st annual ABATE motorcycle rally. Spokesman Jim Benford says the events begin today (Friday) at the Iowa Freedom Park northeast of Algona. He says they’d like to see 11-thousand, but are geared up for 15-thousand if they show up. ABATE stands for “A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education” and Benford says this rally helps pay for the groups education programs that are used across the state. He says they teach novices as well as experienced riders better handling techniques and how to avoid obstacles on the road. He says they also have several awareness programs for the public designed to make all motorcyclists safer.Benford says the group constantly tries to overcome the image of motorcyclists as outlaw gangmembers. He says, “We’re really trying hard to let everybody know that we are, you know, the ABATE people and the vast majority of motorcyclists out there are the general public.” He says they have kids and jobs and car payments just like everybody else. Benford says it won’t be all safety and training at the rally though. He says they have 17 bands coming in along with other entertainment. He says they have a motorcycle rodeo, a tattoo contest, mechanical bull riding, sled pulling with motorcycles and they’re raffling off a custom Harley. The rally runs through Sunday and is open to anyone over 18. There is a fee to get in.
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