Calderwood Highway was jammed with motorcycles May 23 as the Tallassee Store celebrated the unofficial beginning of spring motorcycle season with activities that included a mixed martial arts cage fight behind the store.
“It went well,” said owner Bo Henry, Jr. “Everything went as scheduled. We had the grounds prepared and looking good. I had fencing all the way around the cage for the fights. There were straw bales for people to sit on and the cage was in the middle. There was music during the intermission, and there was plenty of food.”
Henry said the sanctioned fights were orderly. “It was very well run, so there were no problems,” he said.
Henry said in the morning there was a motorcycle ride up the curvy stretch of US 129 to the North Carolina line known as The Dragon. Motorcycle officers from area law enforcement agencies were on hand. “We opened the Dragon, and it went well. We all let out of the parking lot together and went to the North Carolina line and came back,” Henry said.
After the ride, there was a chopper and sport bike contest. “I counted 500 motorcycles in the parking lot. The lot across the street it was full, and they were parked up and down the side of the road,” he said. “There were lots of bikers. It was a lot of fun.”
Bo Henry, Sr., said the motorcycle season has gone well this year. “This is the No. 2 tourist destination outside of the Great Smoky Mountains for Blount County,” he said.
Henry, Sr., said the Dragon is the No. 1 destination for motorcycles in the U.S. “This year we’ve had visitors from 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. We’ve had them from all the provinces in Canada, four or five from Alaska and most of Europe, except for Italy and Portugal,” he said. “We haven’t had anybody from Ireland. but we’ve had three or four from Australia.”
Henry, Sr., said motorcyclists have their bikes flown to Tennessee. “They come to Knoxville, ride for a week and go back home,” he said. “It’s something most people in Blount County don’t realize. The Dragon is world famous.”