BikeFest to Offer Camping, Concerts, Clydesdales at Lake of the Ozarks

By Guest Contributor

First posted on 08-25-2008

Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. – Motorcycle riders and enthusiasts will say farewell to summer with a roar at the second annual Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest, Sept. 11-14.

Like the inaugural event last year, the 2008 Bikefest will feature scenic rides, concerts, vendor villages and contests – even the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales.  New this year will be a biker-style campground and a Sept. 11 tribute ride.  Most of the activities will take place at the Horny Toad Entertainment Complex, Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson and the new Full Throttle Midwest campground.  Area bars and restaurants also will sponsor special activities.  Bikefest proceeds will benefit the Tri-County YMCA.

“The first Bikefest was a great success last year.  We had about 20,000 bikes come down to the Lake of the Ozarks,” says Merlyn Vandervort, Horny Toad Entertainment Complex owner (and Harley rider).  “This year we have even more community involvement.  All signs are pointing to a terrific event that will extend the tourism season.” With the Horny Toad Offshore Super Series National Championship Power Boat Race on Sept. 26-28, Vandervort notes, “September will be a great month at the Lake.”

Tim Jacobsen, director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, adds, “We are getting inquiries from several bike groups who want to come back to Bikefest or come for the first time.  The event is getting a lot of regional and national exposure and local business owners are excited about participating.”

One change from last year that’s creating a lot of buzz is the new Full Throttle Midwest campground. It will be located at the new Crybaby Campground on D Road off Highway 54, close to other Bikefest activities as well as Lake of the Ozarks attractions – including boat and personal watercraft rentals, fishing, go-karts, mini-golf, outlet and antique shopping, spas, show caves, state parks and more.  Set on 300 acres along the Osage River, the biker-style campground will offer camping, RV hook-ups, restrooms, showers and concessions, plus an entertainment stage, games, contests, music and activities.  A large Vendor Village featuring food, clothing, leather goods, tattoo artists, jewelry and more will be open all day and night.  As a special attraction, campers and visitors will enjoy a fireworks show on Saturday, Sept. 12.

“Besides Little Sturgis in Kentucky, there haven’t been many biker festivals in this part of the country, so Bikefest really is filling a need,” says Kelly Lappin, managing editor of Full Throttle Midwest.  “Last year was such a success for a first-time rally because we had a lot of cooperation with people at the Lake.  This year, with the campground, we hope it will be bigger and better.”

Bikefest participants also will find accommodations at the luxurious, recently opened Resort & Yacht Club at Toadcove, which is offering a special Bikefest rate of $199.  Other Lake-area lodging includes hotels, motels, condos and cabins, as well as full-service and family-owned resorts; many of them will offer discounted Bikefest rates.

Full Throttle Midwest will once again sponsor the popular Bikefest Passport program, which will allow participants to enjoy specials and discounts at 23 Lake-area bars, restaurants and nightspots and be eligible to win special prizes.  Passports may be purchased online at for $10 prior to Aug. 31 (includes a commemorative 2008 Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest Pin) or $15 after.  Participants will bring their printed receipt to the official Full Throttle Registration Tent at Toadcove to receive a Passport, which they will have stamped at participating Passport stops.  Passports with 23 stamps will be entered in a drawing at Toadcove at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 14, for the Grand Prize: a 2008 Custom Passport Bike, sponsored by Full Throttle Midwest.  Ten runners-up also will receive prizes.

In addition to the Vendor Village located at the Full Throttle Midwest campground, the Horny Toad will sponsor a Bike Builder Village featuring everything you could dream of to customize your bike, as well as apparel, jewelry, food and more.  A third Vendor Village will be located at Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson.  The stars of that show will be the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales.  “About 10 of them will stabled here, and they’ll make appearances at different locations around the Lake,” says Jack Fleming, owner of Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson.

Also, bikers will be able to have their motorcycles analyzed and adjusted on the Dyno Truck, and enjoy live music, games, prizes and more.  “We are working with Fort Leonard Wood to bring in some military displays and we’ll also have Marines and Army recruiters on hand,” Fleming adds, “and several tattoo artists, too.”

Bikefest visitors will enjoy a free concert by the legendary rock group Head East at the Horny Toad on Saturday, Sept. 12, following a spectacular fireworks display.  Riders also will have opportunities to enjoy the beautiful late-summer Ozarks landscape during daily scenic recommended rides and during the “Never Forget Ride” on Sept. 11, designed to “send a clear message to the world that we will Never Forget … what happened that September day back in 2001,” according to  Accompanying the riders will be law enforcement, firefighter, emergency safety and land based military support vehicles from all around the Midwest, as riders arrive at the historic Bagnell Dam Strip for a sunset ceremony.

The following day, more than 200 bikers will travel from Fort Leonard Wood to Lake of the Ozarks Harley-Davidson in the Freedom Ride.

Bikefest visitors also will have the opportunity to experience one of the Lake of the Ozarks’ favorite festivals, the Laurie Hillbilly Fair on the Lake’s west side.

The Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest is sponsored by Budweiser, Full Throttle Midwest Magazine, Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tri-County Lodging Association, Lake of the Ozarks Harley-Davidson, Horny Toad Entertainment Complex, Dog Days and Shady Gators.

“We’re looking forward to a great second annual Bikefest event,” Vandervort says.  “We hope everyone will show up and enjoy the festivities during this great time of year at the Lake of the Ozarks.”

For more Bikefest information, visit the 2008 Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest web site at  For more information about lodging, dining, shopping, events and attractions throughout the Lake area, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau’s web site,