More than 1,200 people were at the ninth annual Rumble on Noble motorcycle event in Anniston Saturday afternoon, Randy Snyder said, but he expected more people to arrive after the sun went down.
Snyder, one of the event’s organizers and editor of Georgia-based Full Throttle Magazine, said the day filled with bands, food and motorcycle paraphernalia was meant to show support for motorcyclists and America’s military. The event held a military tribute and this year showcased vintage motorcycles used by the armed forces.
Rumble on Noble began nine years ago to benefit both the location where it’s held and those who put it on.
“We were trying to help put Noble Street on the map and get these merchants, restaurants and bars the business they deserve and support the motorcycle community at the same time,” Snyder said.
The rumbling has not been without a little backfire, however. Earlier this summer, a few business owners on Noble Street spoke to Anniston City Council members about their dislike for the one-day event. Jennie Preston of The Rabbit Hutch previously said it was bad for business and attracted the “wrong kind of people.” The council mulled over the idea of holding the event at Zinn Park, but decided to let the bikes continue to rumble on the street they were accustomed to. Saturday, Noble Street was blocked off from 9th Street to 12th Street to accommodate the event; admission fee to that section was $16.50.
Snyder said business owners stopped him and thanked him for being here and asked them to come back.
Richard Merrell, a manager at Griffins Jewelers at 1028 Noble St., said his store always sees an above average sales day when the bikers are in town.
“One year I sold a $5,000 pair of diamond earrings to a biker I didn’t even know,” he said.
Merrell estimated he’d already doubled that sale Saturday afternoon.
“It’s one of the best events,” Merrell said. “We’re positive about it and our sales figures speak.”
Tim and Jan Hooper of Oxford said this was their first year attending Rumble on Noble, but said they hope it won’t change locations.
“Everybody we’ve talked to from Georgia said they love it here,” Jan Hooper said.
The two decided to check out the event to break in the new Harley they got on Memorial Day and spend time with friends.
“There’s some good food and good people,” Tim Hooper said.
Those “good people” even had their own T-shirt: “I am the ‘wrong kind of people’” was the message on shirts being sold by Dan Forrest, the co-owner of Xtreme Rider from Warm Springs, Ga. He said the shirt was created in good fun and to make people laugh.
Forrest said there is a stigma when it comes to bikers, but most of them are the kind of people the ones who stereotype them interact with every day, such as doctors, lawyers, nurses and police officers.
“If that’s the wrong kind of people, then I’m sorry. That’s the kind of people I want to be with,” Forrest said.
Sue Duggan, Forrest’s girlfriend, said this is the seventh year she’s been to Rumble on Noble selling everything a motorcyclist needs to ride.
“We love it here. We enjoy the people, they’re friendly,” Duggan said.
Duggan said she teaches for a living but rides motorcycles because she enjoys it and described her passion for bikes as a “lifestyle.” She said she looks forward to the event in Anniston and knows others who do the same.
“People are just glad to be here. They’re a little scared it’s not going to happen again,” she said.
However, organizers don’t think next year will be an issue.
“We’re confident that whatever we have to work out with the city we can work out for a Rumble on Noble 10,” Snyder said.
Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.