National Biker Roundup comes to Columbia

Columbia is gearing up for the 33rd National Biker Roundup. It starts Tuesday and goes through Saturday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Officials are expecting about 35,000 people.

Columbia police and the Boone County Sheriff TMs Department are expecting thousands to turnout at this year TMs annual National Biker Roundup.

"We want to make sure the folks in Columbia are prepared for the traffic, and it's a good time for us to use this as a reminder to people to be safe," Columbia Police Dept. Jessie Hayden said.

Hayden said in the past this event has been known to bring trouble. At last year's roundup, motorcycle theft was an issue. She said she just wants everyone in Columbia to be extra cautious with leaving bikes and other items unattended.

Hayden thinks the biggest concern will be traffic.

"What we're asking people to do is think about the routes they take as they drive to work in the morning, the lunch hour, on the way home, and as they're out and about on the weekend, Hayden said. There will be areas that we suggest people actually avoid, especially, on Monday starting about midnight all the way through Tuesday."

Hayden said if at all possible avoid Highway 63 and the connector, Highway 63 and Prathersivlle Road, and Highway 63 and Brown School Road, early this week.

Traffic is just one problem the Boone County Sheriff and Columbia Police Dept. have addressed; the other is tighter security around Columbia and the biker rally.

"I think because of all the planning we've done and communicating with all the different shareholders, we feel very confident that we will be able to supply adequate security; and that people attending this event will be safe, and that they will have a good time," Boone County Detective Tom O TMSullivan said.

The Boone County Sheriff and Columbia Police Dept. aren't the only ones addressing the security problem. The NBR hired a security team out of St. Louis to come help too.

"As you noticed when you come in we got a big sign that say no weapons allowed etc. Then we look inside the vehicle to make sure we count the heads that's coming in, and everybody has to sign-in, Co-Chairman of Missouri Roundup Dennis Barton said. It's pretty much a sign-in procedure. If you don't sign-in you can't come in. So we know everybody that's here."

Detective O TMSullivan expects there might be a few scuffles at the event, but he is confident the security will be able to make this a safe and fun place for everyone.

Again, authorities suggest everyone to avoid roads around the Boone County Fairgrounds if possible.

The Westbound Lane of Starke Avenue will be closed this week, only allowing NBR patrons to travel on it Eastbound.

The Oakland gravel road from Prathersville Road to Starke Avenue will also be limited to event patrons traveling Southbound.