Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts wheeled their way into Ruidoso last week, taking advantage of good weather for the AspenCash Motorcycle Rally, but also having to deal with an ill-timed road-paving job that turned traffic in the vicinity of the Ruidoso Convention Center into a near gridlock over the weekend.
Riding everything from cruisers to crotch-rockets to trikes, the focus of the rally was a poker run and merchandise sales at the Convention Center.
And a good deal of fellowship among the bikers, many of whom have made every Ruidoso rally.
“I’ve been to five of these,” said Mike Rogers of Roswell, who rode over with friends William and Jennifer Mang.
“It seems to be getting bigger and better, but it’s still not as big as the Golden Aspen (set for September at Inn of the Mountain Gods).”
The Mang’s said they enjoy the Ruidoso rallies because they’re low-key and family-oriented.
“And it’s just a really nice ride,” Jennifer Mang said.
Richard and Pat Hoover also made the ride over from Roswell – for the third time in less than a month.
“We also came over for the Square Dance festival,” Richard Hoover said. “We like the ride over here, and this is a nice rally.”
Raul Gonzales rode down from Santa Fe with a group of friends – all repeat visitors – but it was his first AspenCash rally.
“This is very nice,” Gonzales said. “It’s a relaxed atmosphere and very friendly and a good opportunity to meet with other motorcycle enthusiasts.”
Jackie and Linda Kirk made the put over from Lubbock, Texas, with their four-year-old grandson, Kolton.
“We come over for all these rallies,” Jackie Kirk said. “It’s a great family get-away for us.”
Longtime Ruidoso resident Lynn Morgan drew a crowd when she rolled up on her custom Thoroughbred Stallion trike, which she said she purchased, essentially on a whim, at the 2010 AspenCash.
“I’ve lived here for 25 years and watched this, but this my first year to ride in the rally,” she said.
As a crowd gathered around her beautiful machine, Morgan – who manages Pine Cliff Village – explained that as soon as she saw the custom motorcycle last year, she snapped it up.
“I knew right away that it was something I’d be able to handle,” she said.
While all acknowledged that the would likely return in September for the Golden Aspen Rally – which is traditionally larger than the AspenCash, at least one person question the wisdom of moving the event away from the Ruidoso Downs Race Track to the Inn of the Mountain Gods.
“I don’t know if that’s good idea,” noted Rogers. “I’m wondering if they’ve got enough room out there to handle it.”