Summer will never be the same now that the newest big thing in motorcycle touring events is here. The first annual Reno Rendezvous rocked Father’s Day weekend, June 18-20, taking place at the majestic Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.
You won’t want to miss the event next year! The sold-out extravaganza was all about entertainment, activities, friends and riding. Local Chapter NV-E, The Sierra Eagles, did a tremendous job of organizing short and lengthier rides for both those who had never visited Reno and seasoned area riders. They checked and double checked routes and directions, building maps with mileage, ride duration, attraction details, GPS coordinates and more and offered the maps in several downloadable file formats from their website. At registration, they had hard copies for attendees and a laptop to assist those who had their GPS or memory card. The Chapter also had lots of information including safety tips for riding on winding mountain roads, locations and contact numbers of local sales and service providers, maps of bordering states and much more.
After registering and picking up packets, Gold Wingers climbed the curly mountain bends to Virginia City. About only 25 miles south of Reno, it takes approximately 40 minutes to travel to this small town because you snake through the mountains. But what could be better for a ride than that? And the weather was great!
Virginia City boasts a rich history. Founded after the California gold mines dried up, folks migrated south, ore was mined and the town grew to a robust population of 20,000. You can step into the past, complete with historical characters roaming the streets and quaint little shops and museums. Reno Rendezvous’ Long Ride Shields Kickoff Party was held in a parking lot in the middle of town next to the Bucket of Blood Saloon with a gorgeous view of mountains and valleys in the distance. The barbecue was mouthwatering, the band spot on and the sight of Wings filling the street in each direction was striking.
The next day, the tradeshow opened and GWRRA Members found the accessories and items they may not have known about before or been able to get. One attendee commented that only Niehaus was able to help him get the spoiler he was looking for. Reno band Steel Breeze rocked the Honda Midway lot. The four-piece cover band was very entertaining. Many attendees took the short ride to Lake Tahoe and raved about how the trip was beautiful and fun.
Stunt Rider Clint Ewing performed his first of six shows. His tip ups and no-hand stunts were riveting and in the sixth show he burned enough rubber that his bike gave out.
We told the young college grad from Santa Barbara, California, that he fit right in at Reno Rendezvous since he had “wing” in his last name. He says he stumbled upon freestyle stunt riding, realized he was good at it, and thanks to sponsors he set out on tour, first regionally and then across the country. His dad doesn’t ride but encouraged him after recognizing that his son had a knack for the unusual occupation. Ewing, age 34, holds to his father’s words that “every time he swings his leg over the bike, he becomes more a part of it.” That bike would be a tricked-out Kawasaki 600. Ewing says he strives to be graceful with the motorcycle, in much the same fashion as an ice skater. At the same time he understands, “Stunt riding has a very steep learning curve. If you’re gonna do a wheelie, do it, commit to it. It’s only gonna go one of two ways.” The Guinness World Record holder for riding through the tunnel of fire, tours sometimes for two months at a time, which he says can seem like forever. Then he goes home and hangs out on the beach. Comedian Gilbert Esquivel closed out a full day of activities in Grand Sierra Resort’s Summit Pavilion. The crowd loved Esquivel’s brand of humor, poking fun at the stereotypes of his heritage and others.
The fun continued on day three with a host of activities and entertainment, including a breakfast ride to Virginia City for all the newcomers who arrived in town on Friday, June 19. Wind Wings Pool Party began at 11 a.m. at the huge Grand Sierra Resort pool under the cabana with a DJ. The shindig was a good time, whether suiting up for a dip or attending in street clothes and having a cool drink while sharing conversation with friends. The ’60s band Summer of Love performed in the Honda Midway lot while inside about 100 folks attended the seminar to hear Cris Baldwin from Women on Wheels in the Reno Ballroom. Cris presented some history, facts and information about woman who ride motorcycles and opened up the floor for questions afterwards.
Later that evening, attendees flocked to Big Valley Honda, a stone’s throw from GSR, for a Vintage Bike Show and free hotdog and hamburger dinner. If that wasn’t enough, the evening was topped with a concert by Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Two original Creedence Clearwater Revival members, Doug Clifford on drums and Stu Cook on bass were joined on stage by new members, John Tristao on guitar and vocals; Steve Gunner on keyboards and percussion; and Kurt Griffey on lead guitar. Tristao poured out gritty vocals, staying true to CCR’s sound. A packed ballroom held cheering fans for the hour and a half concert of treasured oldies.
The most action packed day yet, day four, included new activities and entertainment in addition to continuing ones. Honda Demo Rides were still commencing through town. In addition to live music and more stunt shows by Clint Ewing, a parade of Gold Wings rode through downtown Reno from the resort and back a little past noon. Bowlers took to the bowling alley lanes for Bridgestone Bowl for Bucks. Two highlights of the day were the Drill Team Exhibition with the California Gold Angels and British Columbia Motorcycle Drill Team and the Wrap-up Party. The buffet sported scrumptious food and desserts while attendees danced to the sounds of country band Rustler’s Heat. A few lucky attendees won prizes, while Sherry Schnabel of Fort Collins, Colorado, won the grand prize, a new Honda CTX700.
Besides GWRRA rides, activities and entertainment, there was a multitude of local attractions and resort offerings including the casino, 50-lane bowling alley, 40,000-square-foot arcade, cinema and much more. There was too much to do in just a few short days. Gold Wingers will have to visit Reno Rendezvous every year to even begin to enjoy this exciting and fun new rally.
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