UNADILLA -- Twice a year the population of Dooly County leaps significantly thanks to one business.
Over 8,000 bikers rolled in this weekend for the spring rally at Angel City, an Old West-themed iron-horse haven in Unadilla. The facility opened in 2006 with the aim of giving bikers a gathering place just for them.
Bikers come from around the country, and many said they prefer it over bigger biker gatherings such as Daytona Beach.
I enjoy the privacy here, said 71-year-old Rev. Amos Littlewood, who came from Venice, Fla., for the rally. I dont like Daytona.
Wayne Smith, the owner of Angel City, said it didnt do as well to begin with as he had hoped, but it is starting to grow now. He has a rally in the spring and in the fall, and rents it throughout the year for smaller events.
He hopes to dispel myths people may have about bikers being outlaws. He said attendees include police officers, judges, attorneys and business people.
We have a good group of people here, he said. There are plenty of dirty rallies around the country but this is rated as one of the top rallies.
Some local businesses werent receptive early on, Smith said, but attitudes have changed and some of those who were wary at first are now sponsors.
Anup Patel, manager of nearby All State Truck Stop, said he does significantly more business during the rallies and has never had any problems from the bikers.
I wish they would have one every weekend, he said.
Vendors like the rally because instead of having to set up a shelter, they get to work out of a spot from a permanent structure.
Wayne Grizz Ladd of Marietta travels all around the country to bike shows to do custom patches for leather biker wear. He has come to Angel City for the past four years and said it is probably his favorite.
I love the setup and the people are so friendly, he said as he sewed a patch onto a jacket. This is the only place I know of where you have something like this.
While most of the bikes are Harleys, theres a wide variety, including racing bikes, mini-bikes and Japanese-made cruisers.
The Old West town includes bars and restaurants. The 100-acre tract also has 264 recreational vehicle slots that were sold out, as well as tent camping.
Bands play throughout the day, and Saturdays entertainment also included biker games. Those included a slow race in which bikers see who can cover a short distance the slowest without putting their feet on the ground.
Security is provided by a group called Regulators who patrol the grounds wearing neon-green shirts. Vann Jones, the entertainment director, said out of 14 rallies held, only twice have they had to call the police.
Smith said its the only rally he knows of that has a Sunday worship service. He also has an event to recognize war veterans.
Bill Norrell, 67, of Peachtree City, is a lifelong motorcyclist who goes to rallies around the country. He puts about 20,000 miles per year on his Harley Road King, and was at the Angel City rally for the first time this year and said he will be back.
Its pretty awesome, he said. You come down here and you can party a lot.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.