The third annual Steel Horse Rally in Fort Smith earlier this month set an attendance record with more than 50,000 motorcycles and 75,000 people attending, according to the Fort Smith Advertising & Promotion Commission.
The event was May 5-6 in downtown Fort Smith.
“The local positive economic impact of the 2017 Steel Horse Rally is estimated at $13,798,374,” a joint news release states from the Steel Horse Rally and the Fort Smith A&P.
This was a 65 percent increase over the 2016 event, which had an estimated economic impact of $8.3 million, the release adds. The rally continues to serve as a charity event open to all, and honors “all who serve,” according to Dennis Snow, Steel Horse Rally president. The rally helps raise money for local charities.
“This great town, its residents, and bikers from all over this country continue to amaze me,” Snow said in the news release. “I knew the Steel Horse Rally would be successful, but this exceeds even my highest expectations.”
Snow went on to offer thanks to the many volunteers who “continue to be the fuel for the Steel Horse Rally.”
This year, Ninth Street downtown was named "Steel Horse Alley," and there was a “Heroes Salute” ceremony and motorcycle ride. The rally would not be possible without all of the financial support of sponsors, Snow added.
Snow also mentioned that after the final donations are made to the Steel Horse Rally Inc. and bills are paid, in the coming weeks, the nonprofit group will present donations to five local charities: Heroes on the Water, the Buddy Smith Veterans Home, ARC of the River Valley, the Fort Smith Museum of History and Earthbound Angels.
Charities must complete an application process and are selected by the Steel Horse Rally Board of Directors. For information about the Steel Horse Rally Inc., visit www.TheSteelHorseRally.com.
Capt. Danny Baker of the Fort Smith Police Department confirmed in the release that “This year’s rally had the largest crowd yet for the Steel Horse Rally.”
Snow praised the expertise, cooperation and communication between the Fort Smith Police Department, the Steel Horse Rally Volunteers and the general public.
“We thank the Fort Smith Police Department and the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Department for all of their help and cooperation,” Snow added.
The 2017 Steel Horse Rally featured more vendors, more entertainment, more charitable organizations and more rides for motorcycle riders to enjoy than the two first rallies.
One of the newest rides and events open to everyone was the Heroes Salute Ceremony & Ride, which honored military, veterans, law enforcement and first responders. Snow said the Heroes Salute will become an annual event at the Steel Horse Rally because the overwhelming positive response to the event.
Plans are already underway for the fourth annual Steel Horse Rally, set for May 4-5, 2018. There will be several charity fundraising events before next year’s rally, including the second annual Steel Wheels Bourbon Express and Educational Bourbon Sampling.
For information about the Steel Horse Rally Inc. or to find out how to get involved as a sponsor, volunteer or vendor, visit www.TheSteelHorseRally.com or email info@TheSteelHorseRally.com.