|Motorcyclists rally in the Verde Valley|
|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Sunday, 11 September 2011 00:00|
Facing the wind and eating bugs at high speeds appeals to many motorcycle people, several hundred of whom are expected to arrive in Cottonwood on Friday, Sept. 16, for Thunder Valley Rally.
“The rally is sure to bring motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the states of Arizona, Utah, California, Nevada and Colorado,” Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Department Special Events Coordinator Hezekiah Allen said.
“We’ve done it for years,” local motorcycle enthusiast Jeff Thomas said. “My mom and dad are motorcycle people too. We used to go to it when it was at [Cliff Castle Casino]. We’re excited to see it come to Cottonwood. It draws thousands of folks.”
Keith Kaufmann, owner of a local Harley-Davidson parts and service store that is sponsoring the rally’s motorcycle show, said riders come to enjoy the music, but especially for the scenery.
“I’ve been doing this for 34 years, riding in the wind and eating bugs,” Kauffman said. “Anybody who rides anything loves the mountains, the pine forests and high country views.”
“The Verde Valley is motorcycle heaven,” Thomas said. “Perfect weather, perfect roads, perfect scenery, no helmet, no potholes, no stop signs. We have a great motorcycle community here.”
To top it off, the Cottonwood Police Department, which employs several motorcycle enthusiasts, is motorcycle friendly, Thomas said.
The rally started in 2000, the brainchild of former Cliff Castle Casino Hotel employee Mike Spurgeon, Allen said.
“From relatively humble beginnings 11 years ago, the rally has grown into one of the Southwest’s premier motorcycle gatherings,” Allen said.
When each participant registers for the Poker Run they will receive a bobber raffle ticket, entering them into a drawing to win a professionally constructed custom motorcycle built by one of Arizona’s premier motorcycle performance shops, he said.
“Each part on the bobber will be meticulously labored over to make it one of the most refined pieces of motorcycle art ever seen,” Allen said.
Knights of Columbus Council No. 2493 hosts a fundraising pancake breakfast consisting of pancakes, bacon, sausage, coffee and orange juice starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at Cottonwood Civic Center.
The Knights serve the Immaculate Conception Parish in Cottonwood and St. Frances Cabrini Church in Camp Verde. The council has served these parishes for more than 82 years. It raises money to support families in need and to provide scholarships for local youth, Allen said.