October in Central Iowa means two things, Octoberfest in the Amana Colonies and the nomination of the next Pure Stodge Touring Association rally chairs. Having attended this rally for quite a few years now, my wife and I thought 2019 would be the perfect time to dedicate ourselves and continue the rich 43-year history between this club and the Iowa Rally. Of course, you can't mention this rally without speaking of the late Keith Dempster and how he founded this gathering of BMW enthusiasts on his farm way back in 1976. I still believe Keith coined the phrase "If you build it, they will come" although that has yet to be confirmed.
Going into 2019 our number one concern was attendance. Why would anyone want to ride to Iowa in June? One thing is true, if you've seen one cornfield you've seen them all! Contrary to popular belief, there is some great riding in Iowa. With the Great River Road just over an hour east of the rally site and the Driftless Area providing some of the best motorcycling roads in the Midwest, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery. Maybe beautiful scenery isn't your thing. Maybe you would enjoy meandering through vintage historical motorcycles and memorabilia at the National Motorcycle Museum or visiting some of the area businesses that support our event such as Sun and Fun Motorsports or Ned’s Cycle where you can grab a hotdog and root beer float while shopping for that much needed farkle.
Just remember, Iowa is boring so please control yourself! Combining all this with exceptional people and great food we now had a solid foundation to success.
First and foremost. How would we be able to provide a "Full Service" rally without putting our club in financial distress? The last thing we wanted to do was cut out things that have made this event so enjoyable to so many. It all rolls back to the volunteers. Every volunteer has a special talent and tapping into those talents would be what oils this engine. We were able to put on an all-you-could-eat burger and Chicago dog dinner with several salad choices on Friday and a catered pork loin meal on Saturday. As for the nightly entertainment, I was unsuccessful in booking a Journey reunion concert even though I used to live next door to Steve Perry. We were able to feature the next best thing in a superior local band which played hits from the 70's 80's and 90's. Something you may not have seen at a rally before was an outdoor movie. Complete with big screen, audio, and yes, even a popcorn machine. The documentary "The Flying Dutchman" was the feature and guess what? They loved it!
This rally has always taken pride in the fact that our focus is family and friends. Kids are always free as another goal is to ensure a new generation of riders will be there to fill our shoes. The rally grounds are always bustling with fun events such as pie eating contests and stein holding endurance games that are sure to involve Guinness at some point in the future.
Don't own a BMW yet? No problem! Can you sit around a campfire under a star-filled sky? Then come on out! You're sure to make some new friends and who knows you may have a roundel laden two-wheeler in your future.
So, another June has come and gone and one more Iowa Rally is in the books. Guess what Keith? We built it and they came. From as far as British Columbia and Washington to Florida and Ohio they came. And they had fun!
Many thanks to everyone who attended the 2019 Iowa Rally and a personal thank you to all the BMW community for your friendship. We look forward to seeing you all in 2020!