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Thread: Quick thoughts on Billings rally

  1. #16
    Registered User k12lts's Avatar
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    I'll echo the above thoughts. The rally location and venue were nice. I used the showers in the arena and never had a wait, $25,000 for a shower trailer would have been a waste of money.

    The food vendors were the only downfall to an otherwise nice rally. Poor selection and long lines.

    Camping was a good as can be for a event this size.

    Good job by the rally organizers!
    2015 R1200RT, 2011 Ural Patrol, 1981 R100, 1975 R90S

    BMW MOA 37304

  2. #17
    Live it, or live with it
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    A Curmudgeon’s MOA Rally review: hoping for better at Hamburg.

    ‘Lucas’ WiFi had three settings: off, slow and intermittent. Vendors and ‘guests’ all suffered. To add insult to it, the App kept telling you ‘there’s no wifi connectivity to complete this task.’ Face it, today virtually everybody has a smartphone and is on the web for business or pleasure.

    Precious little shaded camping. I had one BOD member (who was hoteling) tell me there was no reason to arrive early as there was plenty of space on the infield. Right. 95 degrees, no shade, and swirling afternoon dust storms.

    Inadequate shuttles, and too many ‘personal’ golf carts. It was a long walk from any camping to vendors or seminars especially on a hot day. The few shuttle golf carts appeared at random and could only hold, in some cases, one passenger. Yet there was no shortage of carts reserved for VIPs sitting idle. Reallocate budgets from personal carts to scheduled shuttles. Frequent shuttles would benefit all, including those too important to walk. Hamburg looks to be ideal for a shuttle between the fairgrounds and downtown.

    Water stations were kept stocked with cold water until being retrieved on Saturday afternoon just when the mercury hit the day’s high.

    Poorly spaced j-johns. Down by the triangle camping area there were 4 j-johns for I’d estimate 1000 campers. Meanwhile up at the northern extreme of the parking lot there were a dozen or more despite having few campers nearby, and relatively close proximity to indoor facilities.

    Inadequate and poorly located showers. There were three showers for all the campers south of the grandstands. True, one could walk to the grandstand, the broom closet in the vendor building, or the exhibit hall, but walk back and you needed another shower.

    Too few food vendors on site. Not too much MOA can do if vendors don’t come, but shuttle to Main Street and its restaurants, stores and groceries would have been welcome. The BOD, Chamber of Commerce, or local businesses could have arranged some shuttle buses to circulate the area. Although we are all ATGATT, I saw many, and did myself, ride up to grab a bite, or groceries with only a helmet. A shuttle would have made for a safer, more enjoyable time. Again, Hamburg looks to be ideal for a shuttle between the fairgrounds and downtown, and downtown merchants should see the benefit of having 6000 customers delivered to their doors.

    Most, if not all of these, could be solved by the simple mandate that all Rally organizers, committee chairs, and BOD members camp on the Rally grounds. A couple of sunny treks to meetings would result in a vast improvement in shuttle transportation, sanitary shower facilities, and communications. The question that should be asked is “are these facilities good enough for me to do my job.” Not “where can I get a hotel to be out of this ****hole.” Have organizers get up at 5:30 a.m. and wait in line behind 12 others before your turn, and see how fast more showers appear.

    It’s a shame that despite being proclaimed as an “international” rally, there was not even a nod given to the many attendees from Canada, and Mexico as well, during the closing ceremonies. The close proximity to Alberta and BC contributed greatly to the number of attendees.
    Motor On '/,

  3. #18
    Boxers uber alles sagerat's Avatar
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    Sue - Thank you for the additional information. In my day job I'm a planner, so I can appreciate logistics and the challenges of putting on such a large event. The map in the brochure did help in the Great Shower Hunt, so thank you for that.

    The food vendors, yeah, you can only do so much proddding. You'd think a semi-captive audience of 5,800 mouths needing to be feed several times a day would have attracted more food carts. The Asian bistro guy had good stuff, the Cowboy BBQ was so-so and the taco vendor must've been good given how long the line always was for him. I talked to the Subway gal and she said they were caught flat-footed on Day One and made sure they brought waaaay more food on subsequent days.

    My poor buddy from Saskatoon, Sakatchewan, had the ultimate indignity: Fuddrucker's ran out of hamburgers right as he reached the front of the line. Luckily, the beer garden solves many problems...

    Again, appreciate all the efforts to put on the rally. Nothing like creating and running a small city over four or five days.
    Last edited by sagerat; 07-31-2015 at 05:49 PM.

  4. #19
    Registered User clowry's Avatar
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    We enjoyed the rally. After checking in with registration around 1 pm Thursday, we did a couple of laps of the grounds looking for our friends. Not finding them, and realizing that camping spots seemed to be filling up quickly, we settled on a spot near the back edge of the infield. It was fine, except that in the dry heat, the track was very dusty. There were a few inconsiderate people who thought nothing of running around the track at a brisk enough pace to kick up dust clouds over the area - thanks.

    Showers a little closer to where we were camped might have been nice, but it wasn't a deal-breaker. We used the ones near the outdoor vendors in the late afternoon. I was able to walk straight in all 3 days and my husband had 2 men in front of him on one of the 3 days. We found the map with shower locations wasn't all that helpful. Many of the buildings weren't clearly marked, so there wasn't a point of reference to use to help find the showers.

    More food vendors would have been good, but we braved the lines and had all but one meal through them. The Fat Taco truck had great food, a decent variety and really good value for the money. We ate from there three times!

    I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the closing ceremonies. The emcee was great - very entertaining - and kept things moving along nicely. It helped keep things short that the 'award' recipients were awarded earlier and their photos were shown rather than calling them up during the closing. Prize draws were well handled, and I doubt anyone begrudged the donors their short video presentations before the draws. And it was all in an indoor, air conditioned venue with beer and snacks available for purchase. All in all, I think it was about an hour and five minutes start to finish; just about perfect!

    After the closing, the band came on. Unfortunately, the venue emptied out considerably after the final prize draw, resulting in the music being over amplified. It was really loud without all those soft bodies to help absorb the sound, and we ended up leaving early.

    That said, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was great to spend time with friends from far away and the riding in the area was fabulous! Well done, Rally Team!

  5. #20
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkersh1 View Post
    ‘Lucas’ WiFi had three settings: off, slow and intermittent. Vendors and ‘guests’ all suffered. To add insult to it, the App kept telling you ‘there’s no wifi connectivity to complete this task.’ Face it, today virtually everybody has a smartphone and is on the web for business or pleasure.

    Precious little shaded camping. I had one BOD member (who was hoteling) tell me there was no reason to arrive early as there was plenty of space on the infield. Right. 95 degrees, no shade, and swirling afternoon dust storms.

    Inadequate shuttles, and too many ‘personal’ golf carts. It was a long walk from any camping to vendors or seminars especially on a hot day. The few shuttle golf carts appeared at random and could only hold, in some cases, one passenger. Yet there was no shortage of carts reserved for VIPs sitting idle. Reallocate budgets from personal carts to scheduled shuttles. Frequent shuttles would benefit all, including those too important to walk. Hamburg looks to be ideal for a shuttle between the fairgrounds and downtown.

    Water stations were kept stocked with cold water until being retrieved on Saturday afternoon just when the mercury hit the day’s high.

    Poorly spaced j-johns. Down by the triangle camping area there were 4 j-johns for I’d estimate 1000 campers. Meanwhile up at the northern extreme of the parking lot there were a dozen or more despite having few campers nearby, and relatively close proximity to indoor facilities.

    Inadequate and poorly located showers. There were three showers for all the campers south of the grandstands. True, one could walk to the grandstand, the broom closet in the vendor building, or the exhibit hall, but walk back and you needed another shower.

    Too few food vendors on site. Not too much MOA can do if vendors don’t come, but shuttle to Main Street and its restaurants, stores and groceries would have been welcome. The BOD, Chamber of Commerce, or local businesses could have arranged some shuttle buses to circulate the area. Although we are all ATGATT, I saw many, and did myself, ride up to grab a bite, or groceries with only a helmet. A shuttle would have made for a safer, more enjoyable time. Again, Hamburg looks to be ideal for a shuttle between the fairgrounds and downtown, and downtown merchants should see the benefit of having 6000 customers delivered to their doors.

    Most, if not all of these, could be solved by the simple mandate that all Rally organizers, committee chairs, and BOD members camp on the Rally grounds. A couple of sunny treks to meetings would result in a vast improvement in shuttle transportation, sanitary shower facilities, and communications. The question that should be asked is “are these facilities good enough for me to do my job.” Not “where can I get a hotel to be out of this ****hole.” Have organizers get up at 5:30 a.m. and wait in line behind 12 others before your turn, and see how fast more showers appear.

    It’s a shame that despite being proclaimed as an “international” rally, there was not even a nod given to the many attendees from Canada, and Mexico as well, during the closing ceremonies. The close proximity to Alberta and BC contributed greatly to the number of attendees.
    I suspect you would be near impossible to please judging by your comments. I noted the MOA President and his wife were camping onsite along with some other past presidents; they all looked like they were bathing regularly to me. Perhaps there are those on the board who do not camp due to health and mobility issues. No event that is on the scope of our rally is going to be issue free, but this rally was a good time for Annie and me. We saw many old friends, learned some things and were entertained. The secret is to know what is a reasonable complaint and what is whining.
    Last edited by akbeemer; 08-01-2015 at 12:53 AM.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  6. #21

    Enjoyed rally

    Another great rally- enjoyed it all- seeing old friends and making new ones! Mustang Sally was awesome. Camped close to hwy and really appreciate the peace & quiet of being home. Looking forward to next year!
    Thanks for all the hard work.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Out of curiosity was the MOA setup this year to scan membership cards at registration?
    No at least not at the table I was at. But we could scan a ticket if someone had pre registered or if we entered Member number it pulled up their info to help speed up registering someone.
    Tim Lloyd
    New Market, Md.
    2014 R1200RTW
    MOA #112562

  8. #23
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtlloyd View Post
    But we could scan a ticket if someone had pre registered or if we entered Member number it pulled up their info to help speed up registering someone.
    That's a step in the right direction
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  9. #24
    We got there Monday. Helped at and fed Camp Gears (13 youth and several adults) for 4 days with food from the - wait for it - grocery store. Showers were findable. Our camping space with shade or darkness 21 hours a day had room for ten more tents Wed nite - Sat nite. I thought the facility was excellent. If you ever presented or attended a seminar in a sheep barn in 98 degree weather with a huge fan to drown out the presenter you would appreciate Billings. I did.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  10. #25
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Out of curiosity was the MOA setup this year to scan membership cards at registration?
    Yes and they worked brilliantly. No lines at registration, but the long lines to put in the tickets for door prizes was long.
    How hard can that be? But it seems to be a bit of a challenge for lots of rally goers.

    Thanks, Sue and crew, this was a grand rally!

    Voni
    sMiling
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  11. #26
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voni View Post
    Yes and they worked brilliantly.
    That makes one no, and one yes
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  12. #27
    The scanned our Rally preregistration - not ID cards. A 30 second process.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  13. #28
    P Monk
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    my first National Rally

    My brother and I camped in the special needs area since he uses a cpap. When we got there no electricity was available. He told everyone with a nametag about the problem and sure enough someone got the ball rolling and cables with 4 outlets were installed. Folks were sure nice about sharing extension cords and outlets. He ended up buying one and shared it with others. Wish we had trash cans in our area. I enjoyed the rally, especially the Bing seminar. Got some useful advice there. My big complaint isn't with the rally but with some individual riders. The beartooth was pretty crowded on Sunday. Sometimes passing on double yellow was the only option to get arround a slow car, but on several occasions I waited until I could legally pass with my turn signals on and just as I got the opportunity to pass I was passed by someone who couldn't wait at a high rate of speed from a double yellow. I guess I was wrong about BMW riders being better than the average squid.
    P. Monk
    74 R90/6 (the Black Hole), 2011 R1200RT.

  14. #29
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    If you ever presented or attended a seminar in a sheep barn in 98 degree weather with a huge fan
    Will you ever forgive Bloomsburg?

    I'm pretty sure you've sent letters to the Pentagon recommending Bloomsburg as the next atomic weapons test site
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  15. #30
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    That's a step in the right direction
    I'm baffled by the whole "speed of registration discussion". If you pre-register, you present your printed receipt and get in line for the rally booklet, drawing tickets, wrist band and helmet dot.

    So, is it the registration that folks want to shorten or the wrist band / helmet dot interaction? With an average age of Social Security recipient, I understand that the typical rally attendee has a lot of time demands, so I would sure like to understand this recurring issue.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

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