The local chapter of the Harley Owners Group isn't happy about being excluded from last week's Fourth of July parade for the first time in years.

"I'm kind of biased, but I thought Provo enjoyed having us," said Lee Baroldy, a group member and a graduate student at Brigham Young University."I know we look a little scary at times, but we're really a decent bunch that, for the most part, are trying to change the stereotypical views associated with Harley riders," Baroldy said.

What bothers Baroldy are the reasons Grand Parade Chairman Rod Fudge and other parade officials gave him for excluding the group.

He said they would not be allowed to participate because of safety concerns, missing the May 15 deadline, efforts to change the parade's image and an air-time limit imposed by KSL-TV.

Baroldy said Fudge even asked him if his group was associated with the Hell's Angels.

Fudge admits to asking the question but said he wasn't being serious. He said he knows all about the group, which is composed of members from all walks of life that like to ride their motorcycles and do community service.

But Fudge said the other reasons - particularly safety - are perfectly valid.

"Those motorcycles weigh between 500 and 700 pounds," Fudge said. "If one of the bikes were to go off the street and into the crowds, it would be a disaster. We would be on national television."

Evidently, the parade committee's concern did not extend to the Utah Highway Patrol Motorcycle Unit, which did participate in the parade. Fudge said the reason is that the UHP motorcyclists are professional rather than amateur riders.

Fudge said the parade committee is intent on elevating the quality of the parade, which means more applicants are being denied. He added that the committee has to control the number of entrants to stay within the two-hour time limit KSL has set for the parade.

"We'd like to have everyone participate but we can't," he said. "It's like having a six-passenger car and 12 people wanting a ride. It's a problem."

Fudge also said he can't remember ever seeing an application from HOG to participate in the parade. After receiving a call from the group, the committee looked and failed to find their entry form. Baroldy said he was told the committee contacted the group well in advance of the May 15 deadline and informed them not to bother applying.

The parade committee had between 175 and 200 applicants for the parade. Only 123 entrants were allowed entrance.