Mardi Gras on motorcycles
GALVESTON, TEXAS, NOV. 1–4—The Lone Star Rally is what I would affectionately describe as “Mardis Gras on motorcycles.” This was my first thought as I was standing in the middle of The Strand on Thursday night, and let me tell you, by Saturday night that feeling was even more so. The intensity of the crowd was absolutely amazing. It was like no other rally that I have been to and if you have never been, I suggest you put this one on your list! I personally cannot wait to go back next year.
Though Galveston Island was hit Wednesday night with a severe storm that damaged several vendor tents downtown, by Thursday morning the rain had moved out and it was business as usual with hardly any traces of the storm to be seen. The crowds moved in and Galveston became party central.
The rally takes place in two main areas, Beach Central on Seawall Boulevard located along the beautiful Gulf Of Mexico and the downtown area along the Historic Strand District. Galveston is a beautiful city with lots of history and makes the perfect backdrop for the Lone Star Rally. Every morning there were amazing sunrises at the beach, and in the evening you could see the sunset over the water on the west side of the island as well.
The rally began Thursday with plenty to see down at the Seawall with several vendors and the main concert venue. As always the concerts are free to attend. Vince Neil kicked off the rally concert series as he rocked the stage at Beach Central Park. Friday’s rodeo games, Texas style, saw brothers Nick and Garrett Pensebene win the wienie bite contest, on a chopper, nonetheless. What a sight that was, let me tell ya! Other games included the barrel roll, the ring toss and the slow race. Friday night’s concert was Bret Michaels who performed hits from his days with Poison and plenty of his own hits as well. Saturday at the Seawall provided two ride-in bike shows, one hosted by Cycle Source and the other, the Perewitz Paint Show, hosted by Dave and his daughter Jody. Dave and Jody travel the rally circuit bringing along their paint show which draws several styles of bikes with amazing paint work. Saturday night ended at Beach Central with Whiskey Hangover performing on stage. Sunday wrapped things up as most people headed home; the vendors were less crowded along the Seawall and the bands wrapped up at 5:00 p.m.
The Strand is where the magic takes place! Each night the crowd grew in size and intensity. The roar of the bikes cruising along in parade-like fashion, and the crowd buzzing around them encouraging them on, was nothing like I had seen before. Along The Strand you will find several bars, most with balconies full of rally goers enjoying the view and of course lots of food and just about anything you need can be bought from the vendors on site. The party on The Strand goes on all day with free concerts daily at Sangerfest Park, starting at noon and ending at midnight. Rally favorite Hairball performed several shows along with Miss Intent, Stone Senate, Highway to Hell, Count’s 77, the Bobby Friss Band, and several others.
Hendley Park along The Strand is where you also find the In Motion Invitational Bike Show. This show is a little different than others, in that each invited builder has to put their creation through a “shakedown” ride around the island to prove it is a rideable bike. Each bike is then judged by all the builders in the show as well as industry professionals. The winner is presented with a $10,000 prize! This year’s winner was Jeff Cochran’s beautiful Shovelhead. Brian Buttera took home second place with his custom-built Shovelhead, while third went to the very long golden Panhead built by Clinton Wallace. Each bike in this show deserved to be there and all could have been the winner. This show is most definitely filled with some of the best builds in the industry.
Just a block away from The Strand is where you will find Pier 21 which is home to several shows throughout the rally. Saturday brought the inaugural Trike Show along with the Round Up Slingshot Show. Friday the Pier was host to the 3rd annual Truck and Jeep Show and the Motorcycle Sound Off Competition, and let me tell you some of those stereos were louder than the concerts. Saturday the 6th annual Drive In Car Show took place on the Pier with some beautiful classics in attendance.
In 2019 the Lone Star Rally will be hosting the Galveston Beach Classic, racing on the beach for the first time in 60 years. It will feature vintage, open and kids’ classes along with a swap meet. For more information, be sure to sign up for the Lone Star Rally newsletter at lonestarrally.com or follow them on Facebook.
The Lone Star Rally is truly the best way to wind up the rally season. I did a lot of “firsts” this year and I am glad I was able to add this one to that list. I am hooked; I will be attending this one again and again!