Every Great adventure has a beginning, a middle and somewhere an end. But hopefully the end is far in the future, so lets start at the beginning and work our way forward
Growing up in small town USA, before the days of cell phones and social media, Sylvia and I both looked forward to our respective family reunions each year. It was a chance to eat lots of good food and reconnect with family you only saw once a year. Since the Biker Nation is our extended , family, it just made sense to call our event the REUNION. We tell everyone we meet, you may come the first year as strangers, but you'll leave as family! It's that kind of rally.
In 1999, Sylvia and Scott Cochran started Dixie Rider Motorcycle News magazine in Swainsboro Georgia. Later that same year, they began to look for a location to host a "party" to connect with their readers and friends. As it happens, they attended Fred's Famous Peanut ride in Helen and had a blast! The roads were wonderful, the people were welcoming and there were enough motels to accommodate a good size event.
The REUNION had found its home.
The first rally was held at the Festhalle in the parking lot. If you go by there now, you'll wonder how we ever fit, but it was a small event. Then the next year we moved across the street (where the putt putt course is now.) Then for the next two years we moved to the Go-Kart track parking lot north of town.(Thanks Eddie Michaels!) Then we came to the City Park and that's where we've been since 2004. Along the way, Dixie Rider became USRiderNews and when the magazine business closed, the rally continued, but became the Biker Nation Reunion.
in 2005, Jeff Whaley, the Victory Dealer in Cumming Georgia, invited the folks with the Southeast Victory Rally to plan their annual ride the same time as the Reunion and come to Helen. So, they did! For years, the SEVR made the Country inn and Suites their headquarters and brought hundreds of Victory Riders to Helen to enjoy the best motorcycle roads in the Southeast. While the two events have different registrations and "events" they're very much intertwined in the tradition. Although Victory Motorcycles ceased production in 2018, Victory enthuasists continue to come to Helen for the Reunion each year.