The event (which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year) is on cruise control right about now, having found that sweet spot between too small and becoming an unwelcome guest. "About two to four years ago, we started cresting the 400,000 attendance level, and that's where we want to keep it," says Sharon Damante, who handles media relations. "Galveston is a beautiful city, and we love the fact that we fill up all the hotel rooms in that part of the city, and all the vacation condo rentals and campgrounds. From our standpoint, it's the perfect size."
Don't expect an appearance by the Sons of Anarchy cast this time around. That was a blast and there were a few stories to tell afterwards (ahem), but the organizers try to shake things up and keep it fresh. This year they've expanded the programming, rolling out major events Saturday morning and continuing until late Sunday night. "That all promotes length of stay for Galveston," says Damante. "There are so many people that, literally, the restaurants and the shops and the bars all get a nice injection of cash and consumer spending. It's a boon to Galveston."
We know it's all about the choppers, but we're also digging the Two Day Cruisin' Classic Car Show November 3-4, followed by hot pre-'72 rides and a pin-up contest on November 5. "A cool ride is a cool ride, whether two wheels or four wheels," says Damante.
They've also fuel-injected the Lone Star Rally Tattoo Expo at the Trumpet Room on the Strand. "That's a cool new edition that we added to the rally last year. This year we're really hitting that one hard," says Damante, who says the expo runs throughout the weekend. "Some of the inkmasters are really, really good. Tattoos and Harleys kind of go together." Experts are coming in from all over Texas, and fresh ink or a cool new piercing sounds like a great way to commemorate your time on the island.
The demographics for the rally are huge, and you'll be tossing stereotypes out the window when CycleSource hosts Friday's Bike Rodeo Games. "They do some crazy funny things. [There's a] barrel roll. They put a beer keg or barrel in front of the bikes and the idea is to drive just slow enough that they don't lose control of the barrel," says Damante. "They're all competing to win this championship belt, which is literally a rodeo belt, a great big buckle; it's really fun." Don't miss the Weenie Bite, which involves a driver and a weenie catcher. "It's fun to participate and to watch, absolutely hilarious."
Last but definitely not least is Saturday night's Miss Lone Star Rally spokesmodel competition. Damante said they're partnering with First Class Models this year, and did an extra prelim, so there should be even more contestants vying for cash and prizes: $3000 for first place, $2000 for second and $1000 for third place. Outlaw Dave, Texas Radio Hall of Fame DJ, emcees the popular event, which includes photo opportunities with a "motorcycle/biker-inspired outfit" and a bikini round (natch).
Damante says the organizers are really focusing on the music this year, and have lined up more than 40 free concerts. Highlights include Uncle Kracker (November 3), Loverboy (November 4), Badlands House Band (November 5) and David Allan Coe (November 6). There are two sound stages, which means plenty of new acts are getting in on the action too.
We recommend downloading the Lonestar Rally App (available for Android and Apple), because this one has a lot of moving parts and you don't want to miss a thing.
Lone Star Rally runs November 3-6 in Galveston. For information, call 832-437-2318 or visit lonestarrally.com. Free.