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Thread: Rally Update - Long

  1. #1
    Registered User R1100rtp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    St. Paul, MN

    Rally Update - Long

    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!!!

    Karol Patzer
    BMW MOA Member/Ambassador
    Last edited by R1100rtp; 07-22-2008 at 03:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User k12lts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Karol, thanks for your report.

    Our club is becomming more diverse and I guess it's hard to plan an event that will make everyone happy. I've been to about 75% of the MOA National rallies since my first one at Escanaba in 1987 and never had a bad time. Some of the early rallies had no airconditioned buildings and questionable rest room facilities with long waits for showers. Today it seems like you have to have "convention" facilities or people complain about "roughing it".

    I wasn't able to make the Gillette rally but your pictures show the grounds to be very nice and it sounds like the weather was what you would expect for Wyoming in the summer, at least the rain was at night and it probably settled the dust a little. There were plenty of showers and a short 440 yard (sounds better than a quarter mile) walk isn't bad.

    Thanks for your work and all the volunteers that put the rally together. Listen to all the comments but realize that some people will complain if their ice cream is too cold.

    See you in Tennesse next year.

  3. #3
    Bikes, Guitars, and ... beemokat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Despite the few negative comments I've read, I'm sorry I had to miss this one. For me it's the people, not the vendors, not the location, not the food, not the bands, not even the ride there and back. See you next summer in Tennessee.
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  4. #4
    Rally Rat Sue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Madison, WI
    I had a wonderful time!

    Thanks to Deb & Karol --- and all of the volunteers for their time and dedication.
    Sue Rihn #43753
    BMW MOA Ambassador
    Sometimes it's the bend in the road that makes life worth the ride.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Bluegrass State
    Sounds like a great rally. Sorry I had to miss it.

  6. #6
    Rally Rat colt03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    South Windsor, CT
    A big Thanks to Carol, Deb and all the other hundreds of volunteers.

    The cam-plex was great, nice breeze always blowing, Riding was super, I really enjoyed the Black Hills and Custer state park on the way out ( Stampede Rally) I also had a great ride to Bear Tooth pass and back, I wish I could have done the Hat trick but I am now back at work

    See you all in Tenn in 09.
    Craig Cleasby
    South Windsor, CT
    1996 K1100LT
    2004 R1150GS
    Yankee Beemers

  7. #7

    Green Horn No Longer!

    This was my first BMW Rally. It was much different from the bike rallies I have been to. This was a WELCOME change! I have been to the Sturgis Bike Week on my 2000 BMW R1200C for the past three years and chose to do the BMW Rally in Gillette this year instead. I am really glad I did.

    For all of those with complaints about conditions at the Cam-Plex, go try getting the hot showers, the hay ride to your camp site, the volunteers, the cleanliness, the quiet, the respect of others, the friendliness, etc. at Sturgis.

    Granted, it was a different terrain than the Black Hills, but a one day ride gets you to those twisties and back. 120 miles to get there is a fun ride and the scenery is great.

    I am no longer a "Green Horn" and won't be at the next International BMW Rally I attend!

    Thanks to all who made it a great first experience for me.


    P.S. I will post some photos soon! I took over 200 photos (mostly of great, well taken care of and unique bikes).

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BeemoKat View Post
    Despite the few negative comments I've read, I'm sorry I had to miss this one. For me it's the people, not the vendors, not the location, not the food, not the bands, not even the ride there and back. See you next summer in Tennessee.
    seeing friends, that, if i'm lucky to see once a year, is really what these things are all about

    bummed i missed it for sure, looked like a nice facility.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Denver, CO

    Talking Thanks to Karol and Deb and the other 100's!

    Many volunteers helped make the Rally at the rally after dozens had sweated the tough issues for 12 months prior to the Rally.

    Over all, it was great! Great people; Tons of good vendors; Great riding in any direction; and again, most of all, Great People.

    Thanks for all the good work done by the staff, officers, and chairmen, and the volunteers. I know several volunteers that pulled double digit days three days in a row.

    Yeah, the food sucked, but did you have one of those guava smoothies??!! And the beer was super...thank goodness that didn't run out!

    I'll do whatever I can to get to TN next year, and encourage fellow club members to go with. Its gonna be a kick!

  10. #10
    thank you karol and deb - i had a great time and really appreciate everything you put into making this rally so much fun.

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e || '07 Xchallenge || '14 Grom

  11. #11
    Amma Holly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ancaster, ON

    Thank You

    Thank you Karol and Deb and all the others who worked so hard to make this rally the success it was. It was a very well organized rally and the hard work you put into it showed. I talked some greenhorns into coming and they are now planning for their trip to TN next summer.

    I hope you are having some well-earned R & R now.


  12. #12
    I had a great time in Gillette and I want to thank ALL those who worked so hard to make it happen. I camped in the North 40 where there were LOTS of showers and PLENTY of room for everyone. The weather was great; nice breezes in the day (and one micro-burst that got everyone's attention) and great sleeping temps at nite.

    I went off the reservation for food and there was a 'restaurant row' only a couple of miles away. Due to the micro-burst I had to visit the Home Depot which Karol and Deb located less than a mile away for me! The vendors were great and the Cam Plex is just a fantastic venue.

    Okay, here it is; if you got to ride Bear Tooth/Chief Joseph you probably had an awesome time. If you tried 14, 14A or 16 over the Bighorns, you found WY to be a great place. If you went to the Black Hills and Devil's Tower you know what I'm talking about. If you camped out in the middle of that field near the buildings looking for good food from festival-type vendors, well...... We even had a food vendor in the North 40 who made one of the best bean burritos I have ever had!

    Did I mention how neat Red Lodge and Cody and the Badlands were?

    It was nice getting back here to NC where we have lots of trees and loads of humidity but I REALLY enjoyed my summer vacation in Wyoming!!

    Don Sprinkle

  13. #13
    Rob L
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Merrillville, Indiana
    This made 10 MOA rallys in a row for me. I have enjoyed all of them! I come to be with other riders. i love to check out what they have added to their bikes. I camp at a motel and bring my wife, Barb with me. Want good riding roads? You should have followed us to colorado after the rally! i talked Barb into volunteering and we had a great time meeting people. Gillette.......yeah it's out there, but the facility was very nice. Thanks, see you in TN.
    Don't take life too seriously, You won't get out alive!

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