By Thea Skinner
Triplicate staff writer
Engines are revving throughout Northern California as regional bikers gear up for this weekend's Fifth Annual Klamath River Klassic.
The festival of motorcycle enthusiasts will commence near the Klamath River Friday through Sunday.
"It is a nice bike rally, we try to accommodate everyone," said Mac Macneil, director of United Bikers of Northern California, a non-profit charitable trust sponsoring the event.
"You will see us with our kids down there," he said. "We have never had an incident or problem in the 27 years I have directed in Northern California."
Three years ago, Murry and Bonnie Wolfe were married at the Redwood Rest Resort campground about a quarter of a mile from the festival grounds.
As the festivities on the grounds went on, the Wolfes partook in a celebratory marriage run on their bikes.
Bonnie Wolfe accounted the celebration of her wedding and memories at the festival, in which the couple has attended all five years.
"We had the wedding on the Fourth, because we had always done a Fourth of July celebration and all our friends were there," she said. "We coincided the wedding with our celebration we were already having."
"You are right by the river, and it's gorgeous. It made me feel awesome. We were together for 14 years before we were married. We had over 150 guests at the wedding and over 200 pounds of wild pig barbecue," she said.
Scott Faas is the private land owner of the festival grounds. He provided the newlyweds with free admission and more on the day of their wedding.
"Anything we wanted was free, but we had so much going on at our campground that we did not come back till Sunday," Bonnie said.
"The night before the wedding, we saw Edgar Winter a 1970s icon. He performs some of the best rock ballads you have ever heard," she said.
In previous years she enjoyed the music the most, but she said she ultimately likes the vendors best.
"The booths are really cool. They sell all the biker stuff and native jewelry," Bonnie said. "There is something to see for all. If you like to people-watch, it is good."
The Wolfes own a fishing guide service, in which they will be actively involved with in September, when the season starts.
Bonnie's maid-of-honor was Leanna Derghagen, owner of Country Club Bar and Grill.
Derghagen has been riding motorcycles for 30 years.
"There's a lot of good bands and food," Derghagen said. "A good salmon barbecue will be run. I put on a Fourth of July Barbecue."
In previous years, she ran a booth at the festival and said she may run a booth this year.
The tourist season brings in more business for her, and the influx of people in the area for the festival will continue to increase revenue for her business.
The Christian Motorcycle Association will provide staff for security.
The association will hold a sunrise church service on Sunday morning.
"They will be working the gate and promoting fellowship. They will sing at the service with guitars," Macneil said.
Macneil helped begin the biker movement and start international and national bike organizations in the early 1980s.
"We have been wearing the blunt" of a negative perception created about bikers, he said. "We are not into the politics aspect. We put the money into charity. I charge venders $25. Last year it was $60."
Many of the vendors and others involved with putting on the event are local residents and tribal members, he said.
"We have a lot of people coming from Humboldt and Shasta County. I talked to the announcer and he is coming from Butte County," Macneil said.
Faas is in the process of getting a five-year permit for holding the event on his property.
"When I started there was no permit process," he said. Although he went through red tape over the last several years, he downsized the event due to a loss of money.
"I am back on my feet again financially, and organizations such as United Bikers of Northern California have come in to help," Faas said. "I believe this (event) could bring 5,000 to 10,000 people into the county in the future."
Statistics show that the average biker is 45 to 60-years-old with a high income bracket and $20,000 bikes, he said.
These bikers will spend money at local businesses.
"They live a life of convenience," he said.
Redwood Harley-Davidson and Buell sponsored the event for the first two years it was held.
They had a ride-in bike show and when I was there they had some pretty cool vendors," said Bruce Millerbis, parts manager for Redwood Harley-Davidson and Buell.
Millerbis represented Harley-Davidson at the first two festivals.
"It was a sort of local event. Where it is located it attracted a certain type of biker-camper. That area is beautiful," he said.
About five bands will perform at the festival, some of which are from outside the county.
Ten people per camping space is allowed on the grounds with 66 camping spaces, and room for 100 more, Faas said.
Faas donates the land to tribal members and is willing to donate it for use to others.
"If people started rolling in now, we are ready," Faas said.
Gates will open at noon on Friday for the festivities.
If You Go
Klamath River Klassic: Friday through Saturday.
Festival location: From Crescent City take U.S. Hwy. 101 south, take the Terwer Valley exit, turn right going under the bridge. Continue on the road and turn left after Tewer Valley Road.
Photo curtesy of Bonnie Wolfe
Brides maid, Leanna Derghagen rides bride Bonnie Wolfe into a marriage ceremony near the Klamath River Klassic in 2004.
Photo curtesy of Bonnie Wolfe
Bride Bonnie Wolfe and groom Murry Wolfe celebrate at there wedding in 2004.