Republican presidential candidates face off at Iowa Roast and Ride

The scent of gasoline and the roar of more than 200 motorcycles filled the air Saturday morning outside the Big Barn Harley-Davidson in Des Moines ahead of the kick-off for Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s annual “Roast and Ride.”

Eight 2024 Republican presidential candidates will be grilling pork and riding hogs in Iowa today, making their pitch to caucusgoers at one of the summer’s first big campaign events, hosted by Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

But before hitting the fairgrounds, Ernst arrived Saturday morning in a leather Harley-Davidson vest to lead a parade of about 250 motorcyclists. By her side at the Big Barn Harley-Davidson Saturday morning was former Vice President Mike Pence, in his own leather vest packed with patches, including one for his home state of Indiana.

Mike Pence gets on his motorcycle ahead of Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride on June, 3 2023 in Des Moines.

“One of the reporters asked me if we’re showing up in Iowa, what our lane would be. I said, ‘I’m more worried about the lane we’re going to be staying in today,'” Pence joked with riders.

Pence is officially launching his presidential campaign next week in Iowa — a choice he told reporters Saturday morning he felt to be his “calling.”

Presidential candidates are set to join U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst on a motorcycle ride to the Iowa State Fairgrounds for her annual Roast & Ride event.

More:GOP candidates to ride motorcycles, flip pork u0026 roast Biden at Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride

While Ernst, Pence and the crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts make their way to the fairgrounds, the other candidates and attendees are gathering at the Animal Learning Center for a rally that will be hosted from 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.

A team of Register reporters will be on the ground, bringing you all the sights, sounds and smells from the event.

Who will be speaking at the Roast and Ride?

Nearly all of the major GOP candidates will be speaking Saturday.

That includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, author Vivek Ramaswamy and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder. 

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