Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Kansas City BMW Club - 26th Annual Land of Oz Rally

Written by  June 30, 2005

No matter the best laid plans, you just can’t plan out the weather.

And although severe storms, dramatic lightning, and heavy rains pounded La Cygne, Kansas, and Linn County Park during the early morning and late-night hours June 3-4-5, more than 100 die-hard BMW riders took part in the Kansas City BMW Club’s 26th Annual Land of Oz Rally.

“I think a lot of people were looking at the weather radar and wondering if they should come or not,” said club member and nationally known rider Voni Glaves, Lawrence, Kansas. “We (Voni and her husband Paul) came down today (Saturday) rather than Friday because of all the rain.”

And rain Friday night it did. Severe storms, which produced wind, hail, lightning, and lots of rain, came through the area. Many campers found leaks in their tents. Some packed up and left. Some headed for nearby cabins. Others simply rode out the storms.

“I was in my tent, and I did OK most of the night,” said Darren Marshall, Olathe, Kansas. “But then the water just became too much and finally started coming in and got everything soaked.”

Marshall attended the event with his stepson Zach.

“He’s been out playing and his clothes are wet,” Marshall said. “He asked me if I thought he should put dry clothes on. I told him not to worry about it, that he didn’t have any dry clothes.

“There’s supposed to be more storms tonight. I think after we eat supper, Zach and I are heading home.”

Despite the rain and wet ground, the daylight hours were sunny, warm, and muggy. Riders took part in a poker run Saturday morning, and in the afternoon, Marshall and Bill Brown, Lenexa, coordinated the event’s annual motorcycle contests using the campground’s road instead of the open, wet field. Several riders tried their luck at several events such as seeing who could go the slowest without putting their feet down, or who could drop the most clothespins into orange cones. Contests were done with single and double riders.

“It could have been worse,” Brown said. He’s a longtime BMW rider and club member who found a leak in his camper tent and opted to seek dry refuge in one of the lake’s cabins.

“It could have rained during the day,” he added. “But the sun’s out and people are out riding and having a good time. If you’re going to be a biker, dealing with rain is just part of the experience.”

After the contests, it was time to get ready for the Saturday night dinner and dance. Each year, the club provides the meal and live music, and throughout the night gives away prizes. Breakfast is also available Saturday and Sunday mornings.

And, as expected, rains hit the area again Saturday night. But by then, many of the rally participants had packed up their gear and headed for higher and dryer ground.

“That’s alright,” Bill said. “Some years we have great weather, some years it’s cold, and some years we get lots of rain. That’s why it’s so much fun; you never know what kind of experience you’re going to have.”

Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz