Here’s a wrap up report of the 36th International Rally for those who weren’t able to join us..
The Cowboy Hat Trick….BMW Stampede, BMW MOA Gillette, and winding up at Top of the Rockies has over 150 participants. (I heard the attendance at the Stampede was tripled because of the National). Riders lined up to get their passport photos. Plenty of Beemers and great riding in the Black Hills and on to Gillette for many riders on Wednesday.
Who said it would be hot in Gillette??? Monday and Tuesday were the warmest days (low 90’s) for the set-up crew, but Deb & I had a serious talk with Mother Nature, and the temps during the rally were in the mid to high 80’s with a steady “breeze”. Evening temps were in the high 50’s – low 60’s. One rally-goer asked me where he could find the “warmest part of the campground”.
We knew there were concerns about Wyoming weather, high winds, and shelter. The Cam-Plex staff is to be commended for the way they utilized their early warning weather systems. The early warning system was in place, and they broadcasted a severe t-storm warning at 9:00 PM on Thursday. That storm, consisting of golf ball size hail, lightning and 60 mph winds turned, and missed us by 2 miles. There were several severe storm warnings, but only one hit, the thunderstorm on Thursday late night, with winds and 1” of rain. Fortunately, Wyoming storms blow through quickly! When there was another potential storm Friday afternoon, the staff met with Deb & I to make sure our rally goers didn’t react as they did on Thursday. (The rally-goers seemed to be more concerned about their bikes than themselves.) Our Sheep-dog security was put into place to insure no building entrances were blocked by bikes so people could find shelter. Fortunately the Friday storm missed us again!! I’ve never attended a rally where the facility was so concerned about our rally-goers. Because of their early warnings, we were able to keep our guests away from the large entertainment tent if we had a repeat of the storms in Charleston or Lima.
The facility staff was on the spot to insure showers and restrooms were always stocked and functioning. We could call them day or night (and did) if we needed anything!!!
For months we’ve heard “Why Gillette”. I guess one of the answers to that is the Cam-Plex. Great facility and caring, responsive staff.
We had over 5100 attendees (not including the vendors) who enjoyed over 70 seminars, 80+ Vendors, BMW demo rides, a K-bike Concors to celebrate 25 years of the K-bike
bike judging vintage displays, flea market, stunt riding performances by Chris “Teach” McNeil and entertainment Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The multi-event facility allowed us to have well-equipped seminar rooms, a theater, GS-rides, a moto-cross track and 1100 acres to enjoy. Hopefully, there was something for everyone.
Riding to and from the rally was great from the Black Hills, Snowy Range, Wyoming Backways, the Big Horns, or many other scenic routes.
View from the roof:
There were over 70 showers on the grounds, 60 of them open 24 hours. The “North Forty” had 48 showers and restrooms with 36 specifically designated for the “cowboys”. They were a quarter of a mile walk/ride or you could utilize the 2 shuttles that were available. One shuttle had hay bales to simulate an old-fashioned “Hay-ride”. The other was a “people mover”. And they were operational continuously Thursday-Saturday from 6:30 am until 11:30 PM for those who didn’t want to walk. The Cam-Plex gave permission to camp anywhere on the grounds, so you could be close to rally central or in the quiet area in the North 40.
The Beemer Saloon was always busy, and many pics were taken of our great backdrop. The local paper reported that the 25,000 square feet of Beemer Saloon was the biggest temporary beer garden in the state.
Food vendors were a little light (not something we organized), but the Cam-Plex staff jumped in and added a brat stand (cooked in butter, and onions, that were very tasty) and added a BBQ vendor who even fed some of our riders free on Sunday morning. The problem was due to many concessionaires not having enough staff to handle our event. There were quite a few full service food vendors, but they were not in a Central area like West Bend, and some rally-goers had trouble finding them. The concessionaires were spaced out to insure availability of food no matter where you camped.
The “Cowboy Blend: morning coffee was plentiful and free!
We contributed over $8000 to the Y.E.S. House, had the local American Legion present the colors.
We gave away some great door prizes (large and small) an R1200GS, and 2 additional bikes were available in the BMW MOAF raffles.
There were over 100 Committee chairs and co-chairs that stepped up to the plate (some came on-board very late in the game). All worked very hard with the help of many volunteers that kept the rally running like a well-oiled machine.
What a great family of like-minded individuals!!!
For local news:
Those who were unable to make it to our 36th International Rally due to other conflicts, distance, gas prices or health reasons, we missed you, but understand.
For those who decided not to attend because it was too hot, too far, or just because it was Gillette…..I think you missed a good time.
See you in Johnson City in 2009!!!
BMW MOA Member/Ambassador