It is unlikely that you’ve ever passed through Hanford on your way to anywhere else because it is off the beaten path. The town sits in the south central portion of California’s San Joaquin Valley, 28 miles south-southeast of Fresno and 18 miles west of Visalia. This location could actually work in favor of vendors because the riders who attend are serious buyers. Nobody wanders in looking for the Hanford Historical Society. The attendees are hardcore motorcyclists who are there to buy vintage motorcycle parts, maybe pick up a vintage motorcycle and to check out some very cool bikes. That was also the show’s problem.
This year’s event fell on the same day as Nor-Cal’s Hangtown Motocross National and Sacramento Mile and So-Cal’s Ventura Raceway flattrack. Those events pretty much forced motorcycle fanatics to choose between the Rally or one of the races. The result (based on talking to past attendees) was a smaller turnout than in previous years. The crowd was nowhere near the size of the David Mann Chopper Fest. While the vintage bikes on display were impressive, the number of bikes was not. I didn’t count, but I’d be surprised if there were actually “over 150 vendors” as the event claimed.
Will I attend next year? Probably not. I’m glad I attended the 50th Hanford Vintage Motorcycle Rally, but it just didn’t feel like an annual, must-attend gathering.