About 475 riders showed up in John Day for the BMW Riders of Oregon’s 41st Chief Joseph Rally in John Day from June 29 to July 1.
The rally in the past was held in various Eastern Oregon cities, but as the club grew over the years, it settled on John Day, club president Bob Metzger told the Eagle.
“It’s a great community with great facilities and phenomenal riding opportunities,” he said.
Riders on BMWs as well as other makes traveled from across North America to participate in the rally. Most riders gathered at the Grant County Fairgrounds, where the grassy parkland was dotted with tents.
In addition to activities at the fairgrounds, about 85 riders participated in the Cowboy Lunch Tour on Friday for a lunch and water resource presentation at a ranch near Izee.
Groups headed out to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument on Friday and Saturday, led by retired park ranger John Fiedor, who has led tours in the past in his 1967 Corvair. About $1,000 was raised through the geology tour and will be donated to the Juniper Arts Council, Metzger said.
Keynote speeches and seminars were presented at the fairgrounds on various topics, including on-road advanced motorcycle safety training provided by Team Oregon, photography tips headlined as MotoPhoto and exercise suggestions for before, during and after riding called MotoYoga. Celebrated motorcycle writers David Hough and Walt Fulton also spoke.
BMW Riders of Oregon is a nonprofit group that raises money for local charitable and educational groups, Metzger said.
“The Chief Joseph Rally is our main fundraiser,” Metzger said.
This year more than $20,000 was raised at the rally, he said. Ideas were solicited from members and community leaders about which local organizations should receive donations. Metzger said the club’s executive committee will meet in September to make its determination.
Breakfast was served on different days by a group raising money for the Grant County eighth-graders’ field trip and by the Juniper Ridge 4-H Club. Three generations of the Johnson family performed bluegrass music at the rally, raising about $1,000 for Katie Johnson’s Calvary Horse Camp, Metzger said.
“We had a great time and are happy to leave some money behind,” Metzger said. “We hope to do it again next year.”