JOHN DAY – The purr and growl of BMW motorcycles could be heard last week as 520 riders flocked to the Grant County Fairgrounds.
It wasn’t the sunniest of starts for the annual BMW Riders of Oregon Chief Joseph Rally, but the clouds eventually parted to provide near-perfect riding conditions.
Jim Campbell of Sublimity rode in ready for the weather.
“We wish it was sunnier, but we dress for it,” he said on Friday. “Most of us are Oregonians, and this is the way it is.”
A popular ride included a geological rocks tour led by John Fiedor of Dayville, with seven stops where he talked about the unique features of the area. A Fossil Beds ride and a self-guided museum tour also piqued the interest of the visitors.
A Young Life youth group and the fairgrounds staff took turns serving breakfast, and some riders took in a cowboy breakfast at the Gander Ranch in Izee Saturday.
A 50/50 drawing was held by the riders with half the proceeds donated to the Grant County Chamber of Commerce.
Fairgrounds manager Mary Weaver said the rally makes a significant economic impact for John Day and surrounding towns.
“Most ride two to a bike,” she said, adding that while many set up tents at the fairgrounds, others filled the motels and the fairgrounds RV park, and “the restaurants were packed.”
“They were a great group for Grant County, and they do plan on coming back next year,” she said.