The Four Corners Motorcycle Rally will return to Durango over Labor Day weekend, and the organizer said Durangoans can count on a revitalized and more family-friendly event.
Trevor Bird, owner of Durango Harley-Davidson, who has been putting together the rally for a year, said a key to this year’s rally will be its decentralized nature, which should disperse motorcyclists at events from Ignacio to Durango.
The rally, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, will feature a bike show with vintage, custom and performance motorcycles; an arm-wrestling contest; short-course oval dirt-track races; kids BMX races; live music; a vendors plaza; and a return of the Sunday bikers’ parade through downtown Durango.
“We look at our business as based on building relationships and experiences,” Bird said. “We really want to create an opportunity to have people come to the Four Corners region and really enjoy themselves. We really want to nurture this event and come up with a fresh approach that you can enjoy as a family.”
Bird, who bought Durango Harley-Davidson in June 2017, said he has permits in place to use the La Plata County Fairgrounds on Saturday for dirt, oval-track races, and for the Sunday parade through downtown. In addition, weekend events will be held at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio and at Durango Harley-Davidson.
John Oakes of Freeze Management, which puts on concerts and motorcycle, motor sports and other lifestyle events, will partner with Bird to manage the rally. Oakes said Freeze Management will market the event nationally and target the motorcyclist community and media.
Tim Walsworth, executive director of the Business Improvement District, said Bird and Oakes have brought renewed energy.
“The event has had its ups and downs with the rise and fall of the old rally. Maybe this will become a well-run, regular event in Durango,” Walsworth said.
While the event has had its detractors among locals who aren’t enthusiastic about hundreds of motorcyclists converging on town for a weekend, Walsworth said a well-attended rally also brings tourists and their wallets.
“It cuts both ways,” he said. “We always enjoy when people put energy and enthusiasm into events in Durango.”
Neither Bird nor Oakes had an estimate for attendance at this year’s rally, as it is the first major rally planned for the area since the demise of the event under its previous owner, Johnny Valdez.
Bird, with only weeks to prepare, organized a small rally in 2017.
Frank Lockwood, executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office, said he conservatively estimated 500 attendees this year and up to 1,000 “wouldn’t be out of the ballpark.”
Proceeds from beer sales at Durango Harley-Davidson, Friday and Saturday evening dances at 10th Street and Main Avenue and all sales from the Transit Center Burrito Breakfast on Sunday will benefit Building Homes for Heroes, a nonprofit organization that gifts mortgage-free homes to meet the needs of the men and women who were injured while serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Also, a portion of beer sales Saturday at La Plata County Fairgrounds will benefit Durango BMX.
Bird and Oakes, Lockwood said, will bring some “professionalism” to event management.
Bird said he purchased the trademark, domain name, website and intangible assets for the rally from Valdez.
Oakes said he has put on events with Bird for more than a decade.
Freeze Management, he said, has put on events across the world.
“This is our full-time job,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to work with Durango, La Plata County and the Four Corners as a whole to provide an event that has a positive impact on the community.”