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      Riders rev up engines for annual Memorial weekend rally

      It happens once a year. A normally quiet community revs up its engine in honor of those who have served. This year the town of Hurley, Wisc. marks the 27th anniversary of the ATV Memorial Day weekend rally.

      "People's eyes light up when it gets closer to Memorial weekend," said Bill Stutz, president of Hurley's Chamber of Commerce.

      It's a Midwest reunion, as thousands of riders schlep their four wheelers just to get a doze of Iron County's countless trails. And business owners couldn't be happier.

      "This is a huge help," said Eagle All Sports owner Tim Scheele.

      "If it wasn't for this, it would definitely be a big minus on the whole tourism thing, this would really hurt us."

      At Eagle All Sports, they've almost sold out on rentals. But this year, ATVs are taking a backseat to a more popular ride.

      "Side-by-sides are the hit right now, everybody wants to try them," Scheele said.

      "People are coming up wanting to leave their ATVs and just rent one of them."

      The event kicks off what locals hope will be a bustling tourist season. Organizers say it's what the community needs to ride the wave of a dwindling economy.

      "It's just a total roll-off effect," Stutz said.

      "Everybody feels the impact of this event and it helps everybody sooner or later."

      The popular event is Sunday. It's the annual mud pitt ride were hundreds of riders will compete in several different categories for cash prizes.

      "The kids enjoy it, so it's kind of a family event for everyone to stand here and watch, and hopefully the weather hold out," said Jim Maffesanti, of the Hurley Fire Department.