A great time was had by all at the annual BMW MOA International Rally this year in Billings, Montana. We arrived at the rally site, the Metra Park Fairgrounds, to set-up camp for three days and had to hunt for a spot. It’s always nice to see a big attendance…the more, the merrier!
It was quite an honor on the first night to be invited by Editor-in-Chief, Bill Wiegand, to the BMW MOA Owners News magazine’s contributors’ dinner. I had the amazing opportunity to meet the staff and contributing writers at that evening’s function. It didn’t take me long to ask the big question – “Where is the August 2015 issue of the magazine?” I was elated to thumb through the pages and find my article! My mentor, good friend, and motorcycle legend, Voni Glaves, was right there to share the moment with me! Amazing!
After a good night’s sleep, the next day was spent exploring “rally central.” There were in excess of 100 vendors and exhibitors to visit, and I came equipped with a shopping list in hopes of finding certain items I needed.
One of the item’s on my list was new custom-fitted earplugs. For the non-motorcycling community, wearing earplugs is paramount to good eardrum health when riding a motorcycle. The wind noise when traveling at 60 mph or over, even with a full-faced helmet, will cause permanent damage to the eardrums. I have had a pair of earplugs for years that I wear on long-distance trips, but they do need to be replaced from time-to-time. I prefer the custom-fitted models, as I personally feel they do the best job.
While walking the aisles of the indoor vendor area, I came across this t-shirt and just HAD TO SHARE…(my sick sense of humor comes into play here! Bahahaha!)
Later that evening was the Iron Butt Association Awards. It was quite an honor to finally meet the president of the IBA, Michael Kneebone. He is an extremely nice and very knowledgable person. We spent some time chatting, and I was able to pick his brain a bit and receive some really great advice for future IBA rides I’m considering. Five of my very close friends also achieved an Iron Butt award on the way to the rally this year. We had a fun night of celebrating our accomplishments, and I enjoyed reconnecting with a few of the IBA ladies that have given me courage through their examples and achievements over the years.
The next day was filled with more socializing and checking out the vendors, as well as a trip off-campus to explore The Rimrocks that surround the city of Billings. We enjoyed viewing the rally site from above, as well as views of the Yellowstone River. I also learned a thing or two about “Yellowstone Kelly” who was a Civil War veteran and explorer in the 1870s-1880s and was buried on the ground we were exploring. Interesting, indeed!
A few more rally central images…
As the final evening was upon us, it was time to gather for the closing ceremonies where I enjoyed hearing that attendance was over 5,000 of our fellow BMW riders. The grand prizes were announced, and although I walked away empty handed, my heart was overflowing with joy and wonderful memories of time with friends and great conversations with amazing people. That, to me, is the best prize of all! And, we had a fabulous time enjoying the music of the “must-see” band, Mustang Sally. They are an awesome bunch of ladies!
As I pulled away the next morning after packing up, saying “see ya next time” and hugging my pals, I smiled big as a “happy tear” cascaded down my cheek. Although this rally had come to an end, I drove away with a happy heart feeling the love and closeness of this tight-knit community of motorcyclists that I consider my family. I am blessed, indeed! 💋