CLINTON — Bob and Kay DeVoogd have lived in Boone their entire lives, but it wasn’t until they joined a Harley Owners Group in 2006 that they met fellow Boone resident Lyle Williams.
Since meeting through motorcycles, the friends have logged thousands of miles together traveling to events across the country such as the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally that kicked off in Clinton on Thursday night.
“We do it for the camaraderie. It’s also like therapy. It’s mind-clearing time,” Williams said.
More than 400 Harley owners rolled into town for the three-day event that includes scenic rides, poker runs and events throughout Clinton and the surrounding areas.
The bikers came not just from Iowa, but across the country to meet new fellow Harley owners and catch up with old pals.
Steve Zylstra, 59, and his wife Kathy, 58, rode from Minnesota to Clinton for the opening ceremony of the event at Clinton Harley-Davidson. Once they arrived, they were able to enjoy some food and drink and relax with the DeVoogds and Williamson before beginning their weekend.
The couple’s ridden Harleys for more than 20 years and have traveled for rallies many times before.
“It’s like going to Sturgis, but on a smaller scale,” Steve said.
During the opening ceremony, riders saluted the American flag as members of the Camanche VFW presented the colors and to the singing of the National Anthem. They also recognized fellow riders who are veterans.
Kevin Ketelesen, the rally coordinator, and J.T. Hasley, the regional Harley-Davidson liaison for HOG rallies, addressed the bikers to prepare them for a “killer weekend.”
“What’s really cool is hearing where everybody’s from, knowing that HOG is worldwide and you guys have all gotten together this weekend to have some fun and ride these Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” Halsey said.
Lynn Underwood, 59, and and his wife Mary Underwood, 52, came form Port Edwards, Wis., to revel in the company of hundreds of other Harley lovers.
“We come for the camaraderie,” Mary said. “We’ve met so many people. Last year, we met someone from Hawaii.”
They’ve been riding since 1969, this year riding the same bike to the rally in Clinton.
“People say camaraderie, but what does that really mean? To us it means sharing the common interest of cruising motorcycles and American-made. We all get together and celebrate that,” Lynn said.