Report from New Ulm
By Dean Baker
Last month Webmaster George Tuttle and I made
the trip down to New Ulm and the annual BMOA rally held there each
May. George had never been and it was only my second visit, the
first being eight years ago. Of course, traveling with George you
can count on the scenic route at a quick pace, and this trip was no
We started out Friday morning. The weather was forecast to be nearly
ideal for the weekend, albeit a little warm. George was aboard his
Yamaha FJR, I was riding my Honda Interceptor. Carving our way down
the back roads through Hico, Hamilton and Llano we encountered light
traffic and minimal bugs. We spent that evening in Dripping Springs
where we enjoyed the hospitality of Ron and Karen Brock, friends
from George’s days in the Air Force. Their home outside Austin is a
haven for deer, raccoons, foxes and other wild creatures that
recognize benevolent humans when they see them.
The next morning we made a leisurely start for the relatively short
trip to New Ulm. As we got closer to the rally site, traffic began
to increase. Happily, it was comprised of motorcycles of various
brands and vintages. We fell in behind two Hinkley Triumphs that led
us to the park where the BMOA rally is held.
Minutes after our arrival we found that the NTNOA was well
represented. President Clay Walley, VP Dave (JCFR) Edinger and
several other club members had already set up a base of operations.
The NTNOA has always had an open invitation to New Ulm, and it was
gratifying to see our club members taking in the sights.
The BMOA rally location is much different from our Lake O’ the
Pines. It is a city park with lots of trees, flat sandy soil and
some good permanent facilities. There is a large hall with restrooms
and a spacious picnic area with tables. One does have to get used to
the trains transiting on the tracks a few hundred feet away. Those
who camped were unanimous in their observation that the trains were
more frequent, faster and louder at night. Their passage punctuated
the night sounds familiar to those hardy souls who try to sleep at
For scenic beauty our Lake O’ the Pines has the undisputed upper
hand. However, that flat sandy ground proved advantageous Saturday
afternoon when the field events began. It is obvious that the BMOA
takes the Field Events portion of the rally very seriously. The
events are well organized, well thought-out and well attended. Rider
skills were tested in several venues, including “Cold Starts”, slow
rides, drag races, riding the plank, and some events designed for
two-up skills. While a couple of the events are open to any kind of
bike, most are designed for vintage machines and some of the members
have spent a lot of time setting up their old Triumphs and BSAs to
excel in their chosen events. These guys aren’t spending the day
before the bike show polishing and buffing trailer queens. They are
thrashing the hell out of forty-year-old bikes and having a great
time doing it.
I was impressed by several aspects of the competition. The events
were well staffed by volunteers. As any current or former officer of
our club will attest, finding volunteers to assist in club functions
can require varying combinations of diplomacy, bribery, intimidation
and deceit. Each event required several officials, but there was no
shortage of members helping out and the competition ran smoothly and
expeditiously. Also, there were events for everyone who wanted to
participate. The cold start required riders to run a short distance
to their machines, kickstart them and then ride a measured distance
before the other competitor. The slow ride was won by the rider who
took the longest to transit a measured distance without touching
down a toe. Of course, the drag races need no explanation and wisely
planned so the distance was not enough to get out of first gear,
much less pose a braking problem. Riding the plank required
transiting a lengthy section of 2 x 4s without a wheel dropping off
or touching a foot to the ground. Two-up events included a
competition in the number of clothespins a pillion passenger could
clip on a clothesline and a ring toss, testing not only the
participants’ abilities but the strength of their relationships.
The willingness of the competitors to subject their machines to
various levels of good natured abuse was impressive. I’ll be the
first to admit I tend to pamper my bikes, but these guys have no
such neurosis. And I’m happy to report that with the exception of a
few glazed clutch plates the bikes came through it all no worse for
wear. At the risk of being anthropomorphic it’s not hard to convince
one’s self the bikes were having a good time too.
Lastly, it was gratifying to see the level of audience interest and
participation. The events were done in heats giving the crowd plenty
of opportunities to cheer for their heroes. Our own Scooter Jay
participated in every event and represented our club with
distinction, despite heavy competition from the local favorites and
a highly partisan crowd.
Unfortunately George and I were unable to stay for Sunday’s bike
show. However, if the level of enthusiasm we witnessed in Saturday’s
field events was any indication, I’m sure it was a great display of
motorcycles. I do know that the officers and members of the BMOA put
on a great rally. You should definitely make plans to attend next
year’s event. I’ll be ready; I’ve already put a couple of ten foot 2
x 4s end to end in my back yard.
Dean A. Baker
Copyright © 2000 NTNOA All rights reserved.
Revised: January 05, 2018.