More than 5,000 motorcyclists from all over the country are expected in Springfield June 29-July 3 for Wing Ding 42, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association's annual motorcycle rally.
That means a big boost for the local economy. Wing Ding 42 is expected to generate nearly 4,100 room nights at the city’s hotels, and attendees will spend about $3.6 million during the event.
The group also will be in the city during the Independence Day holiday, typically a slow time for Springfield hotels, said Tracy Kimberlin, president/CEO of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit destination marketing organization that booked the event. Wing Ding 42 was among more than 100 group events that were cancelled or postponed last year in Springfield to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"GWRRA and our Wing Ding are excited to return to Springfield, especially after having had to cancel our 2020 event,” said organizer Abel Gallardo. “We were here back in 1999 and truly had an amazing experience. Our members are excited to come as well as all us involved with the event."
When the rally was in the city in 1999, a record number of people attended and that July remains one of the top months for hotel bookings in the city. Though registration this year is lower than the original expectation of 7,000 attendees, it’s still a significant number of people and a tremendous boost for Springfield’s hospitality industry that was devastated in 2020 when travel nearly halted nationwide because of the pandemic.
“We hosted the rally in 1999 and I can honestly say that these are the friendliest people you will ever meet,” Kimberlin said. “We are delighted they are coming back, not just because of the economic impact but because they are just a great group of people.”
While Wing Ding 42 is a boon for the economy, it also means motorists need to be alert for more motorcycles than usual on the roads. Along with rides to various destinations around the Ozarks, a cruise starts at 6 p.m. July 2. It begins at the Springfield Municipal Court parking lot at Jefferson Avenue just south of Chestnut Expressway and will travel south on Jefferson Avenue, then east on Sunset Street to Battlefield Mall. The city is planning rolling road closures along the route during the event.
Following the cruise, Bike Night will take place at 7 p.m. on the north parking lot of the mall.The public is welcome to attend and watch the People's Choice Bike Show and Light Show and a performance by the Florida Precision Drill Team.
Scheduled rides outside Springfield will go to Bennett Springs State Park, Stockton Lake, Roaring River State Park, Eureka Springs, Peel Ferry and along the scenic Missouri 125.
Downtown, St. Louis Street will be closed from early morning on June 28 until evening on July 3 between the Jordan Valley Car Park to Kimbrough Avenue to insure pedestrian safety as rally attendees walk between the hotel and the Expo Center and participate in activities on the vacant lot just east of the Expo Center. People planning to attend the Springfield Cardinals home games should be aware they might run into delays and detours while driving downtown.
“Thousands of motorcycles will be cruising around Springfield so we encourage everyone to be diligent,” said Dana Maugans, sales director at the CVB. “We also want everyone to have fun with it! If you see Gold Wing riders at restaurants or other places around the city, ask them where they’re from and make them feel welcome.”
Several other activities are planned for the attendees, including a trade show, classes, a welcome party, awards and more.
For more information about Wing Ding 42, visit www.wing-ding.org.
The Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) is the world's largest single-marque social organization for owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing motorcycles -- and some would say, the world's largest family. Dedicated to our motto, Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge, GWRRA Members enjoy the freedom of belonging to a not-for-profit, non-religious and non-political organization.
- GWRRA is the world's largest social organization for owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing motorcycles.
- Founded in 1977, GWRRA has more than 68,000 members in more than 50 countries.
- Over 800 active chapters are managed by 4,000 volunteer leaders working with members to foster safe, enjoyable riding, while also working to improve the public image of motorcycling.
About the Convention & Visitors Bureau
The CVB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting the local economy through growth in travel and tourism. Learn more at www.SpringfieldMO.org or call 800-678-8767 or 417-881-5300.