Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Left Great Falls behind, but took Great Memories with me

My main reason for going to Great Falls, MT was to attend the Montana State HOG Rally, where the theme was "Prairies, Peaks and Pirate Treasures". I parked at the Black Eagles, MT Moose Lodge, which is about 5 miles from the Great Falls Harley-Davidson Dealership.
The Rally kicked off Thursday afternoon at the Harley Dealership at noon for checking-in or registering.

I was pre-registered, so check-in was easy. I received my packet, including a cool T-shirt, and my Quartermaster's Journal. Inside the Journal was everything I needed to navigate through the 3 day rally. First on the agenda was the Welcome Party Thursday evening at the dealership, starting at 5PM. Grub and Grog was served - BBQ pork sandwiches, chips and sodas. Beer was optional, and extra. The local band, "Thrillbillies" played music for our listening and dancing pleasure. And we got to test our plundering skills as we dug for buried gems. My plundering skills are pretty good - I came away with 5 garnets and one small rock laced with gold


After checking-in, and before the Welcome Party, I joined several other Pirates on a Treasure Hunt. We sailed around the city on our "Chrome Vessels" visiting 11 business establishments, that we were given the addresses to. The businesses were either Antique shoppes or some other type of store. We had to wander around the store looking for an official "Rally Plank" with one or two letters on it. The Antique Shoppes were Voyage #1 and the other Shops were Voyage #2. To make a long story short, we ended up with two sets of mixed up letters. After finding all the letters, 9 for Voyage #1 and 8 for Voyage #2, we then had to decode them. I came up with "Scurvy Dog" and "Bilge Rat". HMMMMMM ????


Friday morning I headed off on a 130 mile "Pirate's Quest" ride. The quest was to find 7 business establishments, after decoding clues, such as in Wolf Creek..... "Sunday morning, after a busy night in town, he (a Pirate) found himself heading west from Frenchy's Motel. He came to two buildings where he had to make a decision; would it be Palms or Psalm? Being true to his nature, he didn't choose the "Right" one." Well, I found the abandoned Frenchy's Motel, looked west, and found one building on the"Right" that has Sunday church services, and a saloon with palm trees on the "Left". After much deliberation I concluded I was looking for the saloon on the "Left." The fact that there were a few dozen Harleys parked in front of the saloon helped me make the correct choice. So, I went inside, got the appropriate spot punched on my Quest Map, then rode off to decode the next clue. I decoded 5 clues on Friday, while riding on a beautiful frontage road which meandered for 30 scenic miles along the Missouri River between Cascade and Wolf Creek.

Then Friday afternoon between 3 and 4 PM about 600 Harleys staged in a school parking lot for the "Chromed Armada" (parade).

We roared out of the parking lot at 4 O'clock sharp, riding west down Central Avenue for 40 blocks to the steps of the Civic Center. We all parked our bikes "Sturgis Style" taking up one whole city block. Sturgis Style means one row of bikes into each curb, and two rows of bikes, nose to nose, in the middle of the street.

Then we all hustled up the steps of the Civic Center for a group picture.

What a feat that was getting hundreds of riders all standing on the steps and smiling for the camera.

Can you find me?

We then all enjoyed the "Barbary Coast" street party sponsored by the Downtown Association. We enjoyed the festivities and camaraderie from 5-9PM while dancing to lively tunes by "The Bucky Beaver Ground Grippers". Despite their name, they were great. Food and beverage vendors were available, too.


Saturday morning I set sail on my "Chrome Vessel" in quest of two more favorite Pirate Haunts and two more hole punches. Saturday's ride took me 26 miles to the tiny town of Belt to one Pirate Haunt, then another 37 miles through Monarch, then on to the tiny town of Neibert. Upon arrival at Neibert, I decoding the clues and figured out which establishment to enter, but then found another clue there which sent me back 12 miles to the tiny town of Monarch, where I finally got my hole punched. As I rode through Monarch the first time, some other Pirates were in front of the proper establishment, trying to inform me they were at THE SPOT, but I was determined to reach Neibert and just thought I was waving back at them as I rode on by. This one was a little tricky!!!
Saturday's ride was even more beautiful and scenic than Friday's ride, which at the time I didn't think possible.


Saturday afternoon at 2PM I was at the Harley Dealership to turn in my map with the 7 hole punches. What that got me was the opportunity to draw 7 playing cards in hopes of ending up with a great poker hand. If a Pirate only got 5 holes punched, then he only got to draw 5 cards. I figured I needed all the help I could get, so I went for all 7 punches!! I have never done well in a 5 card poke run, so I was hoping that drawing 7 cards would give me a really good chance at a good hand for once. WRONG!!! I ended up with a pair of 10's. BIG WHOOPIE!!


At 5 O'clock on Saturday afternoon all the Pirates gathered at the Great Falls Civic Center once again, but this time for the "Captain's Feast". We started off with the "Captains Call" cocktail hour. At 6 O'clock dinner was served pirate-style. The steaks were first stabbed with a pitchfork then cooked in a cauldron of boiling oil. The steaks were served with taters, beans, cole slaw and a special dessert.

During dinner we enjoyed a slide show from the Pirate Photo Scavenger Hunt.
The following pictures are ones I took during the slide show. They are some of my entries. It was pretty exciting seeing my photos up there on that big screen. No one else seemed too interested in them though. But, hey, someone was on the stage speaking when I took the pictures of the slide show. Anyone recognize the campfire tender in the last picture?

After dinner, awards and prizes were given out. Some guy with a Full House of Kings and Queens won the poker contest. The second and third prize winners also had Full Houses. Sure beats my pair of 10's!!!

All Scavenger Hunt Photo Contest participants who entered at least 12 of the 34pictures, were entered in a drawing. I entered 24 pictures. One couple entered 33 pictures each. The only one they missed was the one with 3 Hooter's waitresses. But quite a few people DID get that one!! Anyway, I didn't win.

And the word scramble contest, well, the words WERE Scurvy Dog and Bilge Rat. I got that right, but all the correct entries were put into a tub and three names were drawn. Those three each got a key. Only one key opened the treasure chest of prizes. My card wasn't drawn, so I didn't win.

BUT, I did have a great time, met some wonderful people, went on some beautiful rides, got a cool T-shirt, a few delicious meals, and a few other goodies. The Captain (Rally Coordinator), Dale Sivumaki, and his crew, did a fabulous job planning and executing the rally.

Now I'm heading back to Wyoming and in 1 1/2 weeks I'll be attending the Wyoming State Hog Rally. I doubt Wyoming's Rally can top Montana's.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Wyoming so I can get that gosh darn song "Meet Me In Montana" out of my head. Of course, I might just substitute "Wyoming" for "Montana." ARRRRGH!!!


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Barbara and Ron said...

OMG, that just sounds like sooo much fun! I'm sorry you didn't win anything. I still want to see all your pictures whenever we meet again. Such gorgeous scenery! I know what you mean about songs being stuck in you head. In my case, I couldn't wait to get out of Iowa because of that stupid song from The Music Man. And in Texas, it was Miles and Miles of Texas and I don't even know that song!

Great write up on the rally - it was so interesting, I read it twice.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Froggi Donna said...

Great write up and even greater photos! Thanks for sharing, felt like I was almost there. LOL!

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Elizabeth of the Tudor Tarts said...

Sally, on behalf of the 2008 Montana State HOG Rally Committee, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This is a beautiful write-up and we are so glad that you had such a good time. We had a blast putting it together.

Thank you so very much for posting your experiences. We all made so many new friends, and are glad that you were one of them. I hope that all your travels are safe ones. Hope to hook up with you again somewhere!

Elizabeth Moore
Marketing Coordinator, 2008 Montana State HOG Rally


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