Motorcycle owners from all over the country descended upon Baker City to enjoy 3 full days of riding different routes in Eastern Oregon, showing off their bikes, and meeting new friends & old acquaintances.
On the morning of Saturday, June 11th, I arrived on Main Street to take some B&W pictures of the motorcycles and the riders who owned them.
The weather was warm with partly cloudy skies. There were over one hundred motorcycles parked along both sides of Main Street. They were lined up from the Sears store to the Baker Tower building (a total of four blocks). The distinctive sounds of revving motorcycle engines and loud, back-firing mufflers could be heard everywhere.
Unfortunately, there weren't very many people walking along Main Street. In fact, the number of parked motorcycles outnumbered the pedestrians by a margin of 10-to-1. There were several merchandise booths set-up on side streets that were blocked off, and motor vehicle traffic flowed normally through the downtown area.
Just about every kind of motorcycle you could imagine could be seen, like Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Harley Davidson, Ducanti, and so forth. Everything from street racing bikes to hogs and choppers were clearly represented. The vast majority of the motorcycles were all black. However, many of them were painted in different colors.
A patrol car from the Oregon State Police was parked behind the merchandise booths on one of the side streets. An unidentified officer with the Oregon State Police was seen talking casually with a small group of men dressed in black leather jackets and pants. No Baker City police officers, or their patrol cars, were seen on Main Street.
Main Street is considered an official part of Highway I-84, which runs north & south past Baker City. As a result, the Oregon State Police appeared to have official law enforcement authority for the day.
After taking several pictures of the motorcycles and their riders, I proceeded to the Best Western Sunridge Inn hotel, which was located about 2 miles from Main Street near Highway I-84. The Sunridge Inn was the official headquarters for the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally.
When I arrived at the parking lot of the Sunridge Inn, I noticed dozens of motorcycles parked everywhere. There were also several large white tents and lots of merchandise booths set up all around the perimeter of the parking lot. Just like Main Street, the parking lot was not full of people.
In fact, the parking lot was empty enough that I could clearly see a young woman with dyed blonde hair wearing a white Miss Oregon banner over her clothing. She was walking around and waving to people. I did not know if the woman was Miss Oregon USA or Miss Oregon Teen USA.
Miss Oregon was wearing a pink dress, sunglasses, sandals, and a crown on top of her head. She was smiling and appeared to enjoy the attention she was receiving from several children who wanted to meet her. She also didn't mind all the adult men, some with wives or girlfriends, who were staring at her from a distance.
For a brief moment, I thought about introducing myself to Miss Oregon and taking some picture of her. But, I changed my mind after I realized that I wasn't there to write a story about a national state celebrity. I was there to focus on the motorcycle rally. So, I quickly turned my attention back to the motorcycles and the booths.
After taking a dozen pictures, I walked home and waited for the Hells Canyon Motorcycle show to start at 6 pm. Unfortunately, it started to rain at 5 pm and I was unable to watch the show or take any pictures. I was really disappointed, but at least I was able to see a part of the rally, and catch a glimpse of Miss Oregon, too (it's not everyday you get to see a celebrity).
On the morning of Sunday, June 12, at approximately 10 am, there was a religious service held at Geiser-Pullman Park in downtown Baker City. There was a large crowd of people who attended the service, including a dozen motorcycle riders. By 12 pm, the service had ended.
The Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally officially concluded after the religious service and is now a part of Baker City's history. From what I could tell, all the motorcycle riders had a good time and I'm sure Baker City can't wait to see them again next year.
If you would like to learn more about the annual Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally in Baker City, please visit their website by clicking here