ANAMOSA, Iowa - The 2012 Open House Rally at J&P Cycles on June 23-24 drew an estimated 30,000 motorcyclists to the picturesque northeast Iowa area, about 40 miles west of the Mississippi River.
The event, which started years ago as a customer appreciation day, has morphed into a regional motorcycle rally involving more than 100 aftermarket manufacturers and distributors, stunt shows (see image, right, of 1Wheel Revolution stunt), a bike show, entertainment and more.
J&P Cycles is the largest retailer of V-Twin aftermarket products. Its brick-and-mortar operation, however, these days pales before its mail order and e-commerce business. J&P, founded by John and Jill Parham, is now owned by the MAG group, which also owns MotorcycleSuperstore.com, Motorcycle USA and a number of aftermarket brands, such as Mustang Seats and Performance Machine. Son Zach Parham manages the J&P business, while John and Jill continue to curate the nearby National Motorcycle Museum.
This year's Open House was dubbed an "Open House Rally" as J&P gets set to make the event an official motorcycle rally for 2013, according to Angela Kearney, marketing coordinator.
"Of those who attended, more than 23 different states were represented including California, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and North Carolina," she said in an update issued July 13.
Given J&P's expertise in logistics, one would expect an event like this to be highly coordinated, and it was. According to Kearney, set-up began on June 18. By June 21, most vendor representatives were in the area and were treated to a golf outing and dinner before finalizing their individual setups on Friday.
The vendors are there for customer service purposes -- to better explain the benefits of their products to the throngs moseying between the big rig displays and the pop-up tents. Interested customers are then referred inside to the J&P showroom to purchase product.
Some got more involved in the fun, with WPS/Shinko Tires technical specialist Sam Tanzer (see image, right) volunteering to be dragged across an asphalt parking lot to show how the Kevlar in Drayko armored jeans holds up under pressure. Tanzer reported that the jeans worked as they should and that after about 50 feet "things, as expected, got a little hot."
The Open House Rally is a free event — no entry fee, no parking charges, no tickets to see the stunt shows. Even the general catering is free, with burgers and hot dogs sponsored by Allstate.
“There’s such a feeling of pride seeing all the motorcycles come in,” stated J&P Cycles General Manager Zach Parham. “It is truly a celebration of life on two wheels. The 2012 event shows how much of a family the motorcycle community is, how they like to ride and enjoy coming out and seeing each other as 30,000 attended this year’s event.”
A silent auction raised $5,000 for the National Motorcycle Museum. More than $5,000 in products were donated and given away to those in attendance in the way of door prizes. "Non-profit Camp Courageous of Iowa raised a tremendous amount of money thanks to the generosity of J&P Cycles customers. Water stations were set up throughout the grounds, manned by Camp Courageous volunteers. Donations were accepted on behalf of the organization and when the event was complete, just over $13,000 was raised," Kearney said.
The 2013 Open House/Rally is scheduled for June 29-30.
Photos by Dealernews