It’s Rally Time!
Wow, what a couple of years it’s been since we started our Rally planning back in the fall of 2019. At long last we are now only weeks away from the opening of the 2021 BMW MOA Saddle Up & Ride National Rally at the Montana Expo Park in Great Falls, Montana.
As recently as a few months ago, we were still unsure if the rally would happen this year. Then, there was a small light at the end of the tunnel when vaccines began rolling out, the number of COVID-19 cases began to go down, and things started looking up. Before long, we received a call from the Site Director at Montana Expo Park telling us that Montana had lifted their mandates on large gatherings. A few days later, Cascade County followed suit with the opening of restaurants and lifting of the mask mandate.
Since that announcement announcing that the rally was a go, Rally planning shifted into high gear once again. Our impressive Rally preregistration numbers are an awesome indicator that we are all ready to get out and travel to see friends we have missed while being cooped up over the last year.
By now, you should have preregistered for the rally and begun to plan your routes to Great Falls. Once you arrive, you’ll notice a few changes along with a few other exciting new wrinkles waiting for you. The first thing you’ll notice will be the drive-through registration as you approach the entrance gate. There, riders who have preregistered will pull into the preregistration lanes while on their bikes and receive their motorcycle and personal wrist bands along with a small bag of goodies and just as quickly will be on their way. Once registered, members are then free to head over to the camping area and set up camp or over to the Rally Welcome Center to pick up the rest of your Rally items. Don’t worry if you’ve haven’t preregistered prior to your arrival; we’ll still have a registration tent set up.
With the help of Montana Expo Park’s Director, we have also been able to attract quite a few exciting food vendors offering an excellent selection and variety of delicious offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Riders will definitely have no problems finding something to satisfy any food cravings. For those who want to venture out into Great Falls, be sure to check out the trolley schedule and grab a ride downtown. The Great Falls Trolley service has been donated by several downtown businesses, and it will be stopping at several locations downtown and leaving the rally grounds in front of the Vendor Building roundabout.
Because the continuous growth of the BMW MOA is one of the most important things ensuring the future of our organization, another one of the cool new things available at our rally this year will be the “First Time Rally Attendee Meet and Greet.” If Great Falls is your first MOA National Rally, we invite you to come have a beer on us and meet some of the people that work very hard to make the MOA great.
Another new and exciting attraction at this year’s Rally will be our “New Rider Experience.” Targeted at new or inexperienced riders, one of the main attractions of the New Rider Experience will be an indoor dirt course where any Rally attendee will be given the opportunity to test Fat Tire e-bikes from SPECIALIZED AND BAKCOU. Additionally, seminars targeted at new riders will be available. These seminars include “Before the Ride” by Shawn Thomas, “Proper Motorcycle Gear” by Keith Berry, “Roadside Breakdowns” by Greg Hutchinson and David Dunn, plus many others that will help bring new riders up to speed. We hope the New Rider Experience may be the push that someone needs to make the leap into the sport of two wheels that we all love.
Do you like beer? Well, you’ll want to join us for the Brew Fest on Friday afternoon featuring the work of 20 local brewers, each bringing a couple samples of their favorite brew. Come over and sample some of Montana’s award-winning beers within walking distance of your tent. In addition to tasting, the brewers themselves will be on hand to answer your questions or discuss flavor profiles. The Great Falls area breweries source their ingredients locally to make some of the best tasting and freshest beer you will find anywhere. This will be a great event and another opportunity to make new friends.
Some of you may still be concerned about large gatherings, and we understand that. We are doing everything we can to help minimize the risk to us all. One of the items you will notice is our two large shower trailers with scheduled shutdowns for cleanings. Additionally, neck buffs will be distributed to everyone at registration, and hand wash and hand sanitizing stations will be available, as will spread-out seminar spaces.
For those who do not wish to sit in the stands for closing ceremonies, we will be streaming the proceeding live so you can watch from wherever you are. Don’t worry about not being on hand for the Grand Prize drawings as this year, Grand Prizes will be drawn only once with winners not needing to be present to win.
Becky and I would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to all the Committee Chairs and Volunteers that have made this Rally possible. If you would like to get involved, volunteer to help others and meet new people, consider volunteering at the rally. There are many different things you can do. For a list of available opportunities, please visit the BMW MOA Rally website. I guarantee you’ll have a great time and meet many great people.
If you’ve still not registered, it’s not too late, and you still have time to get that bike packed. We are counting on you to show up and help make this the Best Rally Ever.
See you in Great Falls!