If you are looking for an alternative to the crowds in Sturgis next year, consider attending the 2020 26th annual Beartooth Rally in Red Lodge, MT. The rally is always on the 3rd weekend in July each year and this is one my favorite rallies. It’s the perfect size, not too crowded, and the landscape scenes on Beartooth Pass are breathtaking! If someone were to imagine what Heaven would look like, this would be it because it is on top of the world.
We travelled with the Cool Biker Lunch & Rides group, some of us on bikes and a few trailered. Beartooth is about 10 hours almost straight up I-25 so there are good roads and ample places to stop and gas up so you can make it there in a day.
Red Lodge is a town 2,073 people and it was fun walking down the main street, checking out the shops and even with the biker crowd in town for the rally, parking and getting into restaurants was a breeze. It is normally very hard at rallies to run into your friends, but within minutes we saw several friends from Colorado at the Carbon County Steakhouse. Therefore, it’s one of my favorite rallies because it’s small and quaint, but still busy and fun. You can tell that the townspeople get a kick out of all the loud bikes and people roaming around their town, they were extremely friendly and welcoming of our biker dollar. This is a community that does not roll up its main street but rolls it out embracing your friendship, support and welcomes you back year after year, not just for rally, but also to come and enjoy hiking, fishing and year-round activities.
Beartooth Rally has a full event schedule for the weekend, so you won’t be wondering what to do. We did both the poker runs, on Friday and Saturday, one of the poker runs led us through graceful curves on the Beartooth Pass Highway that ascended to 10,947 feet and wrapped back around to the Chief Joseph/Sunlight Basin Highway. The stops were at little hole-in-the-wall bars in sleepy, charming towns that were so welcoming and friendly.
On Sunday, Bone Daddy’s Custom Cycle hosts the Iron Horse Rodeo and everyone including bikers come for all around for this day of rider’s skills and games. This isn’t your average rodeo, and the organizers have some great categories that are for both men and women and different than your average iron horse rodeo.
If you aren’t into poker runs or rodeos you can venture out on your own take a ride over to Yellowstone for the day. Yellowstone and the national park are approximately 125 miles away from Red Lodge and the views are breathtaking. Some of the highlights are Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, West Thumb Geyser Basin. There are also some great places to stop and see the buffalos and bears up-close and personal.
Our friend, Stacey Elswich led the group down scenic Highway 212 and described her experience, “We were about 30 minutes into the park when traffic started to slow down. When that happens, you ask yourself ‘what is everyone looking at?’. Well, it was a bear, but not just a bear…it was a baby bear. The little fella was frolicking in the meadow about 30 feet off the road. It was amazing, but I thought where there is a baby bear, there is a mommy bear!
Red Lodge is an adorable little town with residence that thanked us for being in town for the rally. The rally had good vendors and lovely people. Overall, it was a blast and I would highly recommend it. We all gave Beartooth Rally a thumbs up, and plan to make this an annual road trip!