When BMW MOA President Wes Fitzer asked Becky and I back in 2019 if we would accept the honor of serving as the 2020 BMW MOA National Rally Chairs, we were blown away. At the time, who knew we would all endure a global pandemic that would change everyone’s lives and postpone or cancel so many events.
When the new year brought a roller coaster of “We’re open” to “We’re still closed” notices, we had an awful feeling that our rally would not happen again this year. Fast forward a few weeks, and we received the great news that as of March 17, Cascade County had lifted its mask mandate and group size restrictions on events and gatherings––great news for our rally. Even though Cascade County has loosened their restrictions, out of respect and safety for our rally goers, we will still request that masks be worn indoors. To help accomplish this request, we will be adding “2021 Saddle Up & Ride” neck buffs in your registration bags. For those that feel they need to maintain social distance, the Montana Expo Park is big enough to accommodate that need.
One of the changes you will see will be at registration. Rally attendees will no longer have to fill out prize tickets and then place them into the prize bin. Instead, the registration team will automatically enroll rally goers into the Grand Prize and Daily Prize drawings by the number given to you when you registered whether before arriving at the rally or at the gate.
Will this be the MOA Rally that everyone is used to? I hope so! Every day we have more and more positive things happening, and early excitement has reassured us that this will be a rally that you will not want to miss.
For anyone looking for off-road training opportunities, you will want to be at this rally as we are working with a few trainers and a large ranch not far from the rally site that will give the opportunity to practice your new skills in a setting offering a couple hundred miles of trails. We are extremely excited about this one, so watch for updates on the rally website and rally Facebook page. Registration for this training will sell out fast, and those who have taken training sessions at the rally, know what a great value training at the rally is. This is one of the exciting things about your MOA membership––the opportunity to receive the training you want at a discounted rate. Hats off to the MOA for working hard to bring these values to the membership year after year.
If this will be your first MOA Rally, congratulations! In your honor, a Meet and Greet event is scheduled which will offer a great opportunity for you to meet MOA Staff, Board members and MOA Ambassadors. While all rally attendees are welcome, for those attending their first MOA Rally, the drinks will be on the house.
Additionally, our Vendor Showcase is growing each day. As of late March, we have 64 vendors registered with many more expected. This was a difficult challenge for most as the industry took a huge hit due to the pandemic, and it is exciting to see more vendors registering for the rally every day. We also have a good list of food vendors committed to showing up.
Becky and I are excited for our next ride to Great Falls for the 2021 “Saddle Up & Ride” National Rally June 24th -26th and look forward to seeing friends we’ve not seen since the 2019 MOA Rally in Lebanon, Tennessee, two years ago. Becky reminded me that we need to make this trip without getting a speeding ticket or running out of gas along the way. During our last trip to Great Falls, we were riding toward Buffalo, Wyoming, when we checked the GPS and thought there would be another gas station. You guessed it, light comes on while we were still a good stretch out of Buffalo, so I slowed down to 55 and started thinking about running out of gas. Becky hit me on the headset asking why I was going so slow? I replied by saying the fuel light had been on for 30 miles or so.
“What!” she exclaimed.
After being scolded over the headset, we made it to the exit only to find it closed. After more scolding, we were forced to go the next exit, then backtrack to the original exit. We finally rolled into the gas station at the bottom of that hill, out of gas. Since that ride, Becky has kept a picture of that gas receipt to remind me to not pass gas stations when we are traveling out west.
As you plan your trip, make sure to keep an eye on the rally website and MOA Facebook page for updates. Please post pictures as your traveling and remember there probably isn’t a gas station at that dot on the GPS!
I cannot express enough how thankful we are to the dedicated group of volunteers that help make our rallies a success. If you’ve never volunteered and like meeting new people, consider volunteering. As I have mentioned before, we have made great friends because of our time spent volunteering at MOA Rallies. If this is something you are interested in, a link to the volunteer schedule is on the MOA website under the “Rally” tab.
Ride Safe and see you in Great Falls!