19 BMWMOA Nationals under my belt, and I have no idea what I am doing.
As this was my first MOA Rally, I will say I enjoyed the ride to Wyoming and back, but I did think the rally lacked in something. I know others say this is whining, but I guess I was expecting something different. I will say that the sites one travel to and experince was great. I do look forward to next years even though it will be closer to home.
Good grief, I can't believe I'm about to feed the troll but I feel I must...
Besides, how often do you see a couple who are 91 and 88 ride two up for over 500 miles? Folks who sign up for awards and win deserve the recognition for accomplishments. If that were you on stage, you'd be glad to get the applause as well as the recognition for your accomplishment and be inspiration to others. I only hope I can make it to 91 and still be riding a motorcycle to MOA rallies.
If you don't like the closing ceremonies, don't come. They'll call you to pick up the prizes that you need not be present to win.
MOA #80707: 1997 F650ST, 2002 R1150R
'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.
Food available at rally site - Hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sometimes BBQ, popcorn, ice cream, beer.
Town involvement - zippo (This IS something the MOA could have and should have done something about, both during the selection process and as the event neared)
Vendor Exhibits - Closing at 6:00 pm was special. It's only three days long - knock yourself out!!!
Closing ceremonies - In the shade (good) but too long and too far away. Long walk for the winners took a LOT of time.
Proximity to good riding - POOR. Two hours away which means four hours of highway driving to get there and back on any given day. This is particularly disappointing since we could have held it somewhere in the Black Hills or closer to Yellowstone (such as the spectacular town of Cody, WY)
Volunteers - All good and much appreciated. It's the site selection and subsequent planning that fell short.
Some of us have been spoiled by the Top-of-the-Rockies Rally in Paonia, Colorado, where bike viewing meeting new friends is much easier, where the town's folks show up on mass and support the rally, where camping is in the shade and breakfast-lunch-dinner can be purchased without having to leave the site, and where pointing your bike in any direction finds great riding roads. I found the Gillette rally underwhelming at best. If it weren't for the factory BMW participation and the stunt riding events, I could have skipped it. Sorry, but it was not a good first time MOA rally experience.
We did have a good dinner at the Prime Rib. But we were wise enough to make reservations ahead of time. Walked right in and had a great meal. Having said that, I'm disappointed in the rally. It was my first and unless it's held at a more desirable location, it'll be my last. If it wasn't for the company of friends, I'd classify this rally as a major disappointment (for me).
First the good:
Rally vendors. It was great to see so many vendors in a central location. Good to be able to converse with them one-on-one.
Both clean and hot bathroom facilities (I have to agree with MikesK12GT - With Campex so large, why weren't the showers located near the center of MOST of the campers? Unless you were camped in the 'North 40' you had to have a GS to navigate the mud on the race track to get to the showers).
The REALLY BAD:
Food vendors just stunk. Plain and simple. There were two of them in the facility. Two... I paid $7.50 for a handful of raviolis served by a junior high kid. Saturday morning we were looking for breakfast. Same lousy two food vendors were now 20 people stacked deep waiting for sweet rolls or a scrambled odd looking egg combo. We waited and gave up. I ended up eating Pizza... for breakfast. Didn't it dawn on anyone in the MOA to let the local Chamber of Commerce know we were coming? 5000 people likely waiting to pay for anything edible and we get two small vendors selling poor quality food. Somehow Pizza and Dippin' Dots aren't what I called quality food.
The closing ceremony was WAYYYYYY to long. And during the dinner hour no less. How many awards could there possibly be for "Traveling the furthest wearing blue socks on an air head from Arkansas"? I'd like to admire this as much as the next person, but for gawds sake put them all on the stage at the same time and say THANKS and move on. Did we really need to acknowledge the second and third place finishers as well? Here's a suggestion: Start the Closing Ceremony at 430p like is done do at Top of the Rockies, and cut the time in HALF.
As the previous poster mentioned (MikesK12GT) Gillette Wy was a LOUSY choice for riding. 100+ miles from ANY good riding is accurate ("It's about the Journey, NOT the Destination." - Right, keep telling yourself that. Hwy 59 North to Gillette with all the coal trains was very entertaining). What with many better choices in the Rocky Mountain Region (can you say Gunnison, Co?) it's a wonder 5100 attendees showed up at all. Me? I camped. I was one of the unfortunate folks that didn't get one of 12 camp sites with a 6' tree. (yes I knew this ahead of time. But when the majority of attendees camp, wouldn't it make sense to choose a site that is 'camper comfort friendly'? I wasn't the only one who noted that the chair for the 2009 MOA Rally (in Tn.) said "We've got trees and grass too!" We got what we asked for: camping on ground previously stomped on by horses and cattle.
There are three things that make any rally successful and popular: Location, Food and Weather (lest we forget about the staff that puts on the rally as well). BMW MOA (or anyone for that matter) can't do anything about the weather, but there is a lot of room for improvement on the first two. Show up at Top of The Rockies for an example of how a rally can be organized (there's trees in the Rockies along with great riding roads and food too!).
You can't put enough lipstick on this pig. What a disappointment. Lucky the guy "Traveling the furthest wearing blue socks on an air head from Arkansas" got a plaque for their effort. They won't have to ride as far next year and will arrive at a location with trees, riding roads, and (hopefully) food.
P.S. No, I haven't posted much either, but I'd hope that wouldn't devalue the feedback... Slamming the previous poster doesn't change the fact the rally was subpar at best.
I have rally experinece and everything that has been said on this forum to date is typical of veterans, newby's, wants, don't wants, likes and dislikes. Maybe we should follow the lead of the Olypics and have an opening ceremony and all participants could parade throuh a crowd. Unforunately no crowds would show up. The rally is truely experienced only by the participants. I liked some things about this rally and somethings, well, they just stunk. To all those that are whinning about those that offered some CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISIM, grow up! How can you experinece a sunny day if you have never been rained on. How can you improve a poor performance if all you here is applause. Participants on this site have as much experience as you. Sure, it takes volunteers! Thank you for the great work. It also take foresight and vision to bring (and keep) new & old membership to "OUR RALLY". Some folks travel millions of miles to attend the event and don't want to leave to find food, shelter and a shower. Some stay other places and only attend the rally to meet new people, old people, the same people, see events and vendors and just have a good time. We are looking forward to MOA 2009 in TN and have thought of possibly towing my hot dog cart behind my bike for the 1400 mile journey to the rally.
We rode safely to the rally and rode safely home. Sure it was hot but we experienced four wonderfull days that would have never occured had the rally never taken place.
Hey, you have a booger in your nose!
I am just waiting to see all these folks at work on the new Rally Selection Committee and running for the Board of Directors and participating in the club elections.
--Darryl Richman, forum liaison
As a volunteer, I can tell you how discouraging it is to read the criticisms. They are rarely deserved.
For instance - how do you know that Karol and Deb didn't beat all of the bushes, trying to find food vendors?
Since we have no control over who will make arrangements to work our event, sometimes the toughest battles are the ones we lose. I know this because last year, I was in a panic trying to get food vendors to West Bend. At the last minute I got lucky. (WHEW!)
Many times, food vendors have a summer schedule of regular events that they are familiar with, year after year. Because our rally was a one-shot deal for Gillette, it's less likely that the local rolling food vendors were ready to give up their routine.
So don't be so quick to criticize, my friends. There are many behind-the-scenes discussions involved with putting on events like this. Sometimes you win, sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you need to step back and punt.
Sue Rihn #43753
BMW MOA Ambassador
It's Billings in 2015! #BeTheAdventure
Sometimes it's the bend in the road that makes life worth the ride.
You risk opening old wounds.....MANY see our current template for selecting a rally site as a flawed process, and said so, only to be shouted down by the faithful core.
If circumstances, personality or motivation does not lend itself to running for office or serving on a committee, an individual member still has as much a voice in the MOA as you, I or any BoD position.
Sue is correct....there were several events in Cheyenne and Cody competing for the vendors.
The 1 vendor we were counting on feeding alot of folks actually had a "domestic dispute", and lost his help. (wife and kids).
Suggestions are always welcome, but as Sue said, there are a lot of things beyond control, and for those that are disappointed.....I hope you at least met some great people, made some new friends, learned some stuff at the seminars, bought some neat stuff from the vendors, and rode some great rides to or from.
Volunteer to chair a committee (or a rally), volunteer to help all those hard-working folks that were begging for volunteers. Perhaps you would have had more fun!
Sorry you didn't enjoy our party.....maybe next time
Ride Hard, go far, and keep smilin...
Karol Patzer, Ambassador, Director BMW MOA Foundation
2008/2014 BMW MOA Rally Chair
I'd be happy to offer my opinion on Rally sites and for the record I've voted as well. I certainly hope you're not suggesting that folks aren't allowed to complain/express opinions/offer suggestions until they fill a committee seat or sit on the board. That is a recipe for a declining membership base. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time (or energy) to participate at the levels you're suggesting (I applaud those that do). And those that can't, should NOT be stifled as a result.
Let's not be ostriches here. The rally had some real warts and not talking about them won't make them disappear.