Thunder Valley Rally 2021
V-Twins rumble through downtown Cottonwood.

When it comes to motorcyclists’ collective passion for the road, riders want to rally. Motorcyclists near Arizona head to the Thunder Valley Rally, a two-day event held in Cottonwood, Arizona. Do yourself a favor and mark your calendars for September 15-16, the dates of the 2023 festival that you won’t want to miss. It will include concerts, a dice run, bike shows, vendors, and the Miss Thunder Valley Rally Contest. A two‐day ticket is $25, and camping options are available. Check out for more info.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
A red-hot big-wheel custom bagger.

For the TVR’s 20th year, it again hosted many events and rally activities for a $20 weekend entrance fee, making it an outstanding bang for the buck and feels like a party with friends.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Music rocked Riverfront Park day and night.

Attendance is generally around 10,000, and the constant thunder of bikes rumbling from Riverfront Park to Historic Old Town Cottonwood and back was exhilarating. Main Street Old Town in Cottonwood offers 15 fabulous restaurants and winetasting rooms with everything from burgers and beer to fine dining. The several hotels in Old Town Cottonwood sell out far in advance, but there’s always a ton of other options in Cottonwood and the surrounding cities.

Find more motorcycle events at American Rider‘s events calendar.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Arizona’s favorite band, Mogollon, stole the show.

As always, motorcycling the area’s 89A through the twisties of Jerome to Prescott, Sedona, or Flagstaff is what riding northern Arizona is all about. It’s downright spectacular. Cottonwood is centrally located and is an easy launch point for many great destinations.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Showing love for the Thunder Valley Rally.

Arizona has dozens of renowned custom bike builders, so it was no surprise to see stunning show bikes from builders Paul Yaffe, Jim Nasi, and Sucker Punch Sally. Although there was no official bike show judging, my favorite was Nastia 19 built by Ryan Johnson, owner of Ace Motorsports in Gilbert, Arizona.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
I really liked the drag-style “Nastia 19” built by Ryan Johnson of Ace Motorsports. Based on a 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR, it looks fast standing still and exemplifies the current movement away from big-wheel baggers to customs that are serious riding machines.

Music featured prominently at TVR, with the main concerts held at the outdoor Riverfront Park, providing ample room for vendors and concertgoers with free motorcycle parking. A spicy music menu of talented Arizona bands kept the tunes playing all weekend. Christopher Shayne from Phoenix demonstrated a vocal growl reminiscent of Chris Cornell and Black Crowes-like swagger, while tribute bands Mr. Skynyrd (from Tucson) and AZ/DC (Phoenix) are always a hit. Topping it off was Arizona’s beloved rock group, Mogollon, the event’s featured act.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Tasty V-Twins lined the streets of Cottonwood at the Thunder Valley Rally.

The Cottonwood’s Main Stage Bar also saw the likes of Co-Op fronted by Dash Cooper, Alice Cooper’s son from Phoenix, as well as the Well-Dressed Wolves from Camp Verde, who were a rocking good time. This location also hosted the TVR Pin-Up girl contest, which was well-attended.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Ms. Conception, an awesome custom painter from Jerome.

The Arizona Rangers provided an additional presence plus security, with their long history of upholding Arizona Constitutions and roots dating back to 1901. In fact, the entire event is common ground for a variety of clubs and colors that respect one another.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Fido takes a bullet and loves the Road Glide ride.

If I had to critique Thunder Valley Rally, my only beef is that it’s too spread out. You really need to pay attention to the schedule of concerts and events so you don’t miss any excitement on another side of town.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
Los Borrachos celebrating the ride and the rally.

For more information, visit the Thunder Valley Rally website.

Thunder Valley Rally 2021
A Great White on wheels.



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