Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey may have closed down, but be assured the Circus is still alive and well. In mid-July the Circus came to town, hosted by the BMW MOA under the heading of International Rally – Crossroads of the West 2017. And a fine show it was. Without doubt the best organized rally I have ever attended. Last year when we first learned the MOA rally would be in Salt Lake City at the UT Fairpark, I simply could not envision enough space for the tents and motorhomes. But it all worked out perfectly. There were about 100 vendors with enough things to buy to satisfy anyone. The seminars were almost endless in number and topics. And enough give away prizes to make over 300 people happy.
The Beehive Beemers was in charge of Hospitality for the rally and we need to thank, in no particular order: Al Wagnon, Bruce Grandin, Steve Stepanek, Jim Morrison, Don and Eve Hales, Jim Prior, Quinn Stirland, Bob Hawkins, Dan Ernst, Danny Stam, Larry Nilssen, and Marcia Thurmond. We managed a booth starting Wednesday afternoon and provided information about rides and roads, local transportation, scenic attractions, and the rally up until Saturday late afternoon. Al Wagnon also served as Co-Chair for First-Aid and Peter Ballantine assisted through the rally. Not to be left out, Crit Swaner helped out in Security, and Lou & Gary Rehmer helped with Registration. There were probably other Beehive Beemer member who helped out and our thanks goes to all who donated time to this rally.
With an attendance, including vendors, of approximately 5,000 people, I was apprehensive about registration, parking, crowds, and of course handling that many in our Hospitality Booth. But any concerns fast evaporated when registration took all of two minutes, parking never was an issue, and since the rally goers were all doing different activities, even the morning free coffee and afternoon beer garden were never crowded. The closing venue of the rally was held in the brand new stadium; we were the first to use it.
Those of us at the Hospitality Booth met people from all over, and it was a lot of fun talking to riders who were not used to mountain roads with plenty of curves and elevation changes. What a great way to narrow your chicken-strips. We had obtained city maps and guide books from Utah Travel Council, plus brochures of places to visit, listings of restaurants and pubs and attractions, and information of things going on at the rally. We had ride routes planned for those taking to the roads, ranging from a few hours to a few days for after the rally. Of course we also had off-road ride routes, and detailed ride descriptions for some of our favorites like Mirror Lake Highway to Evanston and back on Monte Cristo Pass.
Of the over 100 vendors displaying their goods, some were installing new technology ranging from LED lights to innovative foot pegs to high-end communication systems. The vendors were both inside air-conditioned buildings and outside around the central grass area of the Fairpark. And the availability of food from the food court to the food-trucks ranged from BBQ to Greek, from Mexican to good bacon-burgers, and from iced coffees to craft beers.
The next MOA rally is slated for the heart-land of America, Des Moines, Iowa. Yes, that rally site will be a bit humid in mid-July and maybe warm, but not hotter than the 100 degree days we experienced. But I know from this rally experience, it will be a great time for all attendees. If you have been to any of the international BMW MOA rallies you know they are great fun. And if you missed this one in Salt Lake City, you ought to give serious consideration to the one in 2018. Of course, for the best small rally with many activities and a laid-back atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with our own Red Rock Rendezvous on June 14-17, 2018.