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      50,000 bikers bring in $20 million

      Between 35,000 and 50,000 motorcycle riders are coming to Columbia this week for the 33rd Annual National Bikers Round Up.

      Organizers said it TMs like a big family reunion where people have a lot of fun and spend a lot of money.

      Columbia City leaders said the event will have more than a $20 million economic impact on the entire Mid-Missouri area.

      Every hotel within a 60 mile radius of Columbia is sold out this week because of the National Bikers Round Up at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

      That includes all of Columbia TMs 3,600 hotel rooms. Most of the people at the event don TMt see each other until they meet at their annual round up during the first week of August.

      There TMs music, bar-b-q, dancing, partying and motorcycles," Round Up Committee Co-Chair Dennis Barton said. "We have a carnival for the kids. We have motorcycle games for the bikers. It TMs just a nice event.

      Columbia TMs Melvin Thompson belongs to Jefferson City TMs Wheel of Choice Motorcycle Club. His nickname is Boss Hogg. Thompson attended last year TMs Round Up in Atlanta.

      Basically, what you do is, meet people from all over the country," Thompson said. "We met several people from Atlanta, Georgia last year. Those folks that you meet throughout the year, you get together and socialize at the event. You TMll have food and sit around talk and just socialize.

      In 1977, the event began as the National Black Bikers Round Up. Monday it has grown into a reunion of bikers of all races with a majority of African-Americans.

      Other Missouri cities that hosted the event include St. Charles, St. Joseph, Springfield, Cape Girardeau and Hannibal. Columbia Convention and Visitor TMs Bureau Officials say past experiences in Missouri tell them not to expect any major problems from the visiting bikers.

      They are good folks," Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Lorah Steiner said. "Please don TMt let the scary information that TMs coming out about the very, very few people that might be following this event color your perception of the rest of NBR.

      Authorities want you to try to avoid highways and roads around the Boone County Fairgrounds during this crowded event between now and Saturday.

      The National Bikers Round Up takes place in a different city every year with the exception of Kansas City.

      Kansas City hosts the event every 10 years because it was the original host city back in 1977.