Waterloo prepares for thousands of bikers with annual Trail of Tears

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – The roar of shovelheads, panheads, and maybe even some knuckleheads will fill the air across north Alabama this weekend. The third Saturday of September marks the annual Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride.

Two-hundred people call the river town of Waterloo home. This time every September, the weekend population swells to nearly 20,000.

“Oh, it’s terribly exciting,” stated Waterloo Mayor Joan Farneman. “We work towards this most of the year.”

Motorcyclists from across the country come to town every year for the commemoration. They are remembering the place in north Alabama where Native Americans were put on riverboats and sent west.

“Remember the trail; the hardship they went through and everything. Because you’ve got to remember that because it’s your history,” explained Johnny Cain from Horn Lake, Mississippi.

This is the second time Cain has traveled to Waterloo. He wanted to make sure his wife experiences the atmosphere first hand.

“It’s everybody getting together just having a good time and just meeting everyone coming in from different states and talking to other bikers and stuff,” Cain described.

A ride which started 26-years ago with just twelve bikers. The procession has been 25-miles long at times during its history. The ride has the chance to be big with this year’s weather.

The commemorative ride is expected to leave Bridgeport, Ala. at 8 A.M. and arrive in Waterloo by 2:30 for a night full of entertainment.

The ride will be escorted by State Troopers across north Alabama. Law enforcement asks riders and motorists to use caution while travelling the Trail of Tears route along U.S. 72 on Saturday.

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