Trevor Bird, who took over as owner of the Durango Harley-Davidson dealership in June, had only four weeks to throw together a motorcycle rally when it became apparent the longstanding Four Corners Motorcycle Rally went defunct.
But Bird, a day after the festivities ended, said the makeshift event was a success.
“It blew our expectations out of the water,” Bird said Monday. “The response from people was just overwhelming.”
Earlier this year, people in the motorcycle community realized there would be no Four Corners Motorcycle Rally, traditionally held in Ignacio over Labor Day weekend since the 1990s, after the event’s owner, Johnny Valdez, called it off.
Valdez, speaking to The Durango Herald last month, said he was unable to make the long-running rally profitable after operating it for three years. He vowed to pay back the thousands of dollars he still owes to various entities.
As a result, Bird and others sought a quick fix to offer motorcyclists who would visit the area. The “Durango Rally at Four Corners” put on events in Durango, Vallecito and Ignacio over the weekend.
Chris Harte, a manager at the Rusty Shovel Saloon in Vallecito, said they had a great turnout. The restaurant and bar holds a bike week every year and works in conjunction with the rally.
“It was great,” Harte said. “We had a lot of people, and I think next year will be significantly bigger. Bringing it back to Durango was huge.”
Nox Prime, an alias for a vendor with Highway Patches who refused to disclose her real name, said she heard mostly positive feedback over the weekend.
“They’re hoping for it to get bigger in Durango,” she said. “It keeps everyone together, enjoying it. We enjoyed it. This is our life.”
Ben and Liz Martinez were confused by the circumstances of this year’s rally, yet Southwest Colorado’s stunning scenery and good riding still drew the couple from Albuquerque.
“It used to be really busy, but it’s dwindled off,” Ben Martinez said. “But we’ll be back next year. They’ll have it more organized and more people will come.”
Bird and other organizers are already looking toward next year.
“I just realized the opportunity for a free, family fun event and how much people want that,” Bird said. “We’re excited to do it bigger and better next year.”