Mississippi River Motorcycle Rally
For its 17th edition, the Mississippi River Motorcycle Rally, transitioning from its former name of Sturgis on the River, will be held at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.

Glenn Rohm is doing everything he can to kick the Mississippi River Motorcycle Rally into a higher gear.

For its 17th edition, the festival, transitioning from its former name of Sturgis on the River, has added attractions that include a barbecue competition, motorcycle memorabilia and an auction, and a bags tournament.

But the biggest change is the addition of national acts - country singer Tracy Lawrence on Friday and rock stalwarts Blue Oyster Cult on Saturday - performing in the grandstand of the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.

"This event was becoming just another stagnant, stay-where-you-are event," Rohm, the festival producer, said. "To take it to a new level, something had to change or it would have started to die."

This is the fourth year that the rally, which was previously at the Village of East Davenport and downtown Davenport, has been at the fairgrounds.

In separate phone interviews, both Lawrence and BOC lead singer Eric Bloom said they each play several motorcycle rallies in a year.

"I change the setlist, depending on what kind of show we're doing," Bloom said from his home in Long Island. "A casino show would be different from a biker show, a town festival would be different from a theater show where it's hardcore BOC fans. I might dig deeper into the catalog for a hardcore show."

Lawrence said he's seen almost everything at a biker show.

"It can be a little bit louder," he said. "Depending on the situation, some of them tend to get a little rowdy and take their clothes off.

"There was one in Tracy City, Tennessee, which is strange enough, but they had a biker rally with a lot of nakedness going on," he said. "There was a 70-some-year-old woman running through the park. That ain't exactly what I want to see."

Despite that caveat, Rohm said he is making the rally a family-friendly show.

"We want to round the whole show out so there's something for everybody," he said.