Over 50,000 bikers come to Middle Georgia for National Bikers Roundup


Courtesy of National Bikers Roundup

A group of motorcyclists gather at a previous iteration of the National Bikers Roundup.

Start your engines, Macon – over 50,000 motorcycle riders will be visiting Macon and Middle Georgia for the National Bikers Roundup from Aug. 8 -15. The event will be hosted at the National Fairgrounds in Perry and will bring bikers of all ages together for a variety of activities.

“We’re very excited for it, we love it,” event co-chairman Dell Walls said of herself and the event’s founder, Rozell Nunn Jr. “It’s a lot to organize, but we love it.”

The Roundup features camping for bikers from across the country as well as concerts, food and other events. Attendees bring their motorcycles and often their mobile homes and RVs, participating in different things for the duration of the Roundup. The most attended events are often the specific “rides,” according to Walls.

“We’ve got the Women Riders ride, we’ve got the Indian Motorcycles sponsored ride. One of the most popular is the Slingshot (brand of motorcycle) ride,” Walls said.

While the event is hosted in Perry, attendees of the event have already booked out most hotels in surrounding areas like Macon and Warner Robins. The bikers are expected to have a large presence throughout Middle Georgia, according to Ann Starley of VisitMacon.

“There’s a charity ride they’re thinking of doing on Aug. 14,” Starley said. “So that will reflect on Macon, that Saturday. There will be a lot of business here.”

Starley was the chief organizer from VisitMacon who worked with NBR on the scheduling of this year’s Roundup. Both parties said the operation takes a while to plan, especially when it comes to a smaller city accommodating more than 50,000 motorcyclists.

“We began working with them in March of 2020 when they were looking at the Perry Fairgrounds,” Starley said. “Perry is very small, so they were asking if we could handle the hotel overflow. Very quickly in April of 2020 they had worked out new dates and we were already doing contracts with all of the hotels in the area.”

“Yeah, it takes a lot of planning,” Walls said. “We start it far in advance like that. We have committees to take care of things early.”

The planning process for Walls and Nunn Jr. has been built with years of experience. Nunn Jr. founded the Bikers Roundup in 1977, when the event had just 49 motorcycle riders participate.

“It was just a bunch of guys got together and started a little campout,” Walls said. “They just camped out in the yard.”

The group camped in tents in Nunn Jr.’s own yard. It was a smaller, local event that Nunn put on for friends and acquaintances, but it grew once a few strangers started to show up. It was also originally for mostly Black motorcyclists, but Walls said the event has expanded beyond those limits.

“It’s for everyone. Now they bring their own (mobile) homes with them. We are family oriented,” Walls said. “We have everyone. Black, green, purple, whatever.”

While it does still host the largest Black motorcycle rally, the entire Roundup is open for everyone, even people who don’t ride motorcycles. With a large group of bikers, however, comes safety concerns. Both Walls and the staff at VisitMacon say that awareness is key.

“We just want everyone to know that the bikers are here,” Walls said. “Just be aware of them, that’s what we ask.”

“It’s mostly just communication and making sure law enforcement knows what’s going on,” said Valerie Bradley of VisitMacon. “They’ve been plugged in this entire time.”

VisitMacon says that the Sheriff’s departments of both Macon and Perry are aware of the event and will monitor traffic and safety. Police presence might be increased, but only to make sure citizens are aware of motorcyclists on the road.

With awareness in mind, NBR and VisitMacon are optimistic about the financial impact the Roundup could have on Macon thanks to the thriving downtown area.

“We tell people when we come through, ‘hey, you better stock up on everything,’ and they don’t always listen,” Walls said. “We bring a lot of business, and sometimes we buy up everything a store has.”

Because of that economic increase, the awareness that’s so important for citizens who may be in Macon is just as important to business owners.

“We’re definitely anticipating them venturing into downtown Macon and exploring what we have going on,” Bradley said. “We sent our businesses a reminder letting them know what to expect as well.”

The bikers will be in Macon and Middle Georgia for the duration of the event, but may even be back in the future. VisitMacon and NBR said the Roundup often returns to the same locations after a 10 year period. 

If the events from Aug. 8-15 go well, NBR will return to Macon. Riders can register to be an NBR member on their website for a fee of $40 and attend future group events.