FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Karen Beasley, Director of Marketing & Communications
Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381
30th Annual Motorcycle Ride Celebrating Native American Heritage Travels Through North Alabama September 16
Decatur, Ala. – Motorcyclists from across the southeast will come together September 16, 2023, for a scenic ride across north Alabama to honor Native American Indians that once traveled through the region. The 30th annual Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride travels from Bridgeport in the northeastern part of Alabama to the northwestern town of Waterloo, and along with the celebratory ride, there is a kick-off rally and a three-day Indian Festival for the public to take part in.
The Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride begins at the Alabama/Tennessee state line on U. S. Highway 72 in downtown Bridgeport with riders departing at 8:00 a.m. CST on Saturday, Sept. 16. The ride travels U. S. Highway 72 West to I-565 West arriving at Redstone Harley-Davidson (15155 Hwy 20 W in Madison) at approximately 10:30 a.m. for an official ride rest and lunch stop. At 12:00 p.m., riders will depart and head west, arriving in Waterloo at approximately 2:30 p.m.
A kick-off rally offering children’s activities, live music, a street dance, fireworks show and other free family fun for the public to enjoy is scheduled in downtown Bridgeport on Friday, Sept. 15. Bikes will arrive from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation at 3:00 p.m. and the official opening ceremony gets underway at 5:00 p.m. Music begins at 6 p.m. and slated to perform for the special 30th anniversary is John Stone and the Trailer Park Allstars who will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m. following the fireworks show.
The town of Waterloo will host a free Indian Festival Sept. 15-17 in remembrance of all those who walked the Trail of Tears. Presented by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, the three-day event offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights, living history soldier encampment (Friday and Saturday) and displays from Native American artisans and vendors. A memorial walk is scheduled Saturday, Sept. 16 at 10:00 a.m. to honor those who experienced the forced journey. Admission is free. The Town of Waterloo is asking for a $5 donation for all four-wheel vehicle parking at the South boat ramp area.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for the voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma. May of 1838 marked the deadline for voluntary native removal, and so began the Cherokee "Trail of Tears," one of the darkest episodes in relations between the United States and Native Americans. In 1838, the U.S. government hired wagon master J.C.S. Hood to transport Native Americans by foot and wagon from Ross's Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee to what is now Waterloo, Alabama. Much of the journey followed what is now U.S. Highway 72. Many Native Americans died in Waterloo and others escaped into the hills and today, area residents can trace their Native American ancestry to those who fled. As many as 4,000 deaths occurred because of this forced removal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes. In recognition of this removal process, the first Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride was organized in 1994 with approximately 100 riders participating.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the $4.3 billion North Alabama travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, golf courses, restaurants, accommodations and vendors. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381, by visiting www.NorthAlabama.org and by following us on social media @VisitNorthAL.