BMW motorcycle rally coming to Great Falls, tourism office asking local business to be prepared

At least 4,000 people are expected to roll into Great Falls in June 2020 for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America rally.

The rally will take over Montana Expo Park for a few days next summer and Great Falls Montana Tourism is asking the local business community to be prepared for the influx of people.

Jake Bash, director of business development for the tourism agency, recently returned from this summer’s rally in Lebanon, Tenn. that drew about 6,000 people.

Many of the attendees will camp or park RVs at the fairgrounds, but Bash said they’re expecting to hit 100 percent occupancy for hotels during the peak dates of June 25-28, 2020.

Bash said the tourism team lured the motorcycle rally with incentives and they’re also looking for sponsors to help fund the event, which “will impact hundreds of local businesses.”

Bash said that while in Lebanon this summer for the rally, he went to a restaurant around 7 p.m. on a Thursday and they had completely run out of food.

He said the tourism agency is working to communicate with the Great Falls business community to help them be prepared for next summer’s rally.

“This is what we do,” he said of bringing people to town.

If they have a good time, they come back and tell their friends about the city. It’s a trickle down effect that impacts tourism and local businesses, he said.

Bash said the tourism office always welcomes ideas from locals who visit other events nationwide.

He said the BMW rally idea came from a local lead.

“We went after it. We cold called them and now they’re coming,” Bash said.

During the rally next summer, there will be food, music, seminars, gear shops ,vendors, shopping and more, Bash said.

The attendees also love to take day rides, so they’ll be visible around the region, Bash said.

“They’re just die hard travelers,” he said.

Bash said he’d heard from people planning to attend that it would be a jumping off point for trips to Canada or Alaska and they’re already making hotel reservations.