Sugar Pine Ranch biker rally ends

Lead singer for Two Mile Train performs at the Sugar Pine Ranch Rally. This year's rally was the last as the promoters decided to cancel future rallies.

Sugar Pine Ranch Rally organizers have decided to end the annual Labor Day weekend motorcycle rally near Mancos after a seven-year run.

The rally was a smaller competitor to the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally, formerly Ignacio Bike Week, held the same weekend in downtown Ignacio.

Sugar Pine co-chairman Alan "Grizz" Seaton broke the news last week in a message posted on the rally's Facebook page.

"The Sugar Pine Ranch Rally will be going away for good," Seaton wrote. "The economy was and is still not good, and I guess the timing was just wrong, but the board of directors and the investors have voted to dissolve Montezuma Rally Inc., aka Sugar Pine Ranch Rally. Thank you all for your support and belief in us for the past seven years."

Co-chairwoman Joyce Humiston confirmed the rally would not be held in 2014.

"We don't have enough support," she said. "I don't really want to talk about it. I would have liked to talk about the rally and how advertisers could have helped us out."

The rally was held Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 this year, with all of the usual biker rally staples: live music, beer, vendors and bikini and wet T-shirt contests.

Sugar Pine Ranch, 40334 Colorado Highway 184, had space for 840 tent and 70 RV sites, according to the event's website.

It's unclear how the rally's end could affect Mancos businesses. The town is about 3 miles from Sugar Pine Ranch and gets heavy tourist traffic during Labor Day weekend.

Tina Maki, part of the family that owns Mesa Verde Motel, said a group of bikers fills the motel every year during Labor Day weekend.

She wasn't sure if the group would come without the rally.

"They may still come," she said.

The rally's dissolution does not appear to be part of a wider trend.

The area's competing rally, the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally, is going strong, said Mel Silva, a member of the rally's board and president of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce, which owns the event.

Four Corners' paid attendance grew 37 percent in 2013 from the previous year.

"It was just a real success," he said.

Nationally, Harley-Davidson announced Oct. 22 that its third-quarter U.S. sales surged 20 percent compared with a year earlier, suggesting motorcycles are hardly waning in popularity.

Silva said the Four Corners rally seems to be recovering after some down years.

"We think we're on the path to building the rally back to where it was in its glory days," he said.

At its height in 2001, the Ignacio rally attracted 55,000 ticket-buyers on Saturday alone, Silva said.

Having only one rally in the area could help with sponsors, Silva said.

"I think it will help at least initially to consolidate a little more of the activities," he said. "It'll feel like a bigger event."

Silva said Four Corners reached out to Sugar Pine before this year's rally to discuss marketing the events together.

Four Corners put up $8,000 for the effort, and Sugar Pine was asked to contribute $1,000.

Sugar Pine organizers initially agreed but later pulled out, Silva said.

"They basically chose not to be a part," he said. "That ultimately might have hurt them. I don't know."

Silva said he's sorry to see the rally fold.

"We didn't wish them any ill will," he said. "We're really sorry to see that they're not going to go forward. We think it was an asset to the (Four Corners) rally, whether they wanted to be part of the rally or not."