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Run your own Rally!
What is a Buggy Rally and is it hard to host one myself?
A rally is a lot of fun and it's a great way to meet people face to face that you have been talking to on the forums and share ideas and some "Tater Salad"!
This manual is a handy guide for any group of buggy riders that want to
get together and play for a weekend.
Our main objectives here are, Family unity, Safety and Camaraderie and assuring everyone will want to come again.
We've done a few of these over the years so we know what to expect. Don't take anything for granted here.
Start at the beginning, take notes and you'll have a great rally.
SO, you want to hold a Rally!
First, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you start off with the right mindset, even before the planning stage.
You must be prepared that when you run a rally, as the host, “your riding pleasure” is not your "primary concern" once the rally gets under way.
Over the next few days or weeks, you will be able to ride the trails with a buddy or two, running mock "comps" (Competitions) and setting up your maps and markers and you'll have a blast during this time so, treat this time as your rally now so you can keep things flowing smoothly when your guests arrive. "The needs of the many, far outweigh the needs of the few" (...or the one")
IF, you follow these guidelines and have done your preliminary leg work, the rally will almost run itself and you'll have a great time meeting & riding with new people and more importantly, you'll be helping promote this sport in a positive way!
Location, Location, Location
To have a rally, you need a legal location to ride.
Finding one that is central to your riding group is best. Try to keep travel times under 4 hrs.
(2 -3 hours, will get you even more participants).
State parks that allow ATV riding, Private land owners and off road parks are the most obvious choices but be creative in your search for choices. I'd say you would need 100 acres per 10 guests or more to be comfortable.
Many property owners/managers may not know what a mini buggy is and if we show them, they may be willing to help!
Campgrounds that allow off road vehicles are a good choice or maybe a member of your group has some land you can use. You don't need much, unless you have 20 or more families.
We strongly urge that every rally group be beneficial to the area they ride.
Whether it is asking members to shop for their supplies while they're there locally, to help bring revenue to a small town or simply bringing families together that may not have otherwise spent much time outdoors together or maybe even host a charity event for a good cause.
No matter where you end up riding,
leave the trails better than we found them & leave a good impression.
Contacting Land owners and Park managers
The most crucial componant to a Rally is the land owner or manager.
You will next need to contact the appropriate people who own or run the property and inform them of your plans. Be polite and to the point. They may even help you with registration, maps, rules and regulations etc, if they are already an established riding area and If not, we'll show you how to do these things yourself.
A phone call is a great place to start, to see if they are willing to talk with you but plan on visiting in person as well.
Be professional and accommodating and remember, you may need to make several scouting trips to your chosen location before the actual rally.
NOTE: If you bring a buggy up for a land owner or park manager to see if they can handle the terrain or are as safe as you told them they were, you MUST bring a quality, working buggy with ALL safety equipment in tow for not only a rider but for a passanger as well. This is your ONE CHANCE TO IMPRESS and convince them so don't blow it here or you could be done before you ever get started!
Being prepared is to know the entire trail system you will be on, all activities, times and places and any rules that may be in place for your particular riding area. You will be answering questions, policing member activities and assuring that the land owner will invite your group back.
It is very rewarding to pull of a successful rally which is made much easier again, if you plan ahead.
How long is a Rally?
Most rallies work well on a "3 day plan", sometime during the summer months, when kids are out of school.
Starting on Friday evening and wrapping up on Sunday afternoon is the norm but you can tailor to your groups needs.
As a guide, if guests can drive to the rally area in 2 hrs or less, you can do a "One Day" event. If guests have to drive more than 2 hrs, it should be a minimum of 2 days (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun).
Keep in mind that some may have school age children so planning an event around standard school vacations.
(Spring break, Summer etc) will ensure you get the best possible turn out.
Here is a good layout of a "3 Day Rally":
Friday (afternoon)- Registration / Meet & greet, Camp setup / Buggy unloading, Free explore
Friday (evening): Community Cookout
Saturday (Morning / Early afternoon)- Free ride / Final repairs & upgrades for afternoon Comps.
Saturday (Late afternoon)- Competitive events / Group pictures!
Saturday (evening) - Awards BBQ, Local Entertainment
Sunday - Free ride & good byes
This type of schedule "Ramps up" and "Winds down" the weekend in proper fashion!
Funding the fun
Whenever there is a large gathering to be hosted, money will be involved, especially your 1st one. Whether it’s just buying trail markers or driving back and forth to scout locations, you can expect to spend some money.
This doesn’t mean you need to clean out your kids bank account but to be sure; it will cost you a few dollars.
Donations, car washes and help from other members or the caretakers of the property you will be using, can help ease the burden by lending equipment and supplies but do not count on these. It’s best to be prepared yourself and anything else you can get is a plus. As your rallies grow, this will get easier and you'll find more creative ways to pull things off.
Please, include Local businesses
A local Bull Roast - company can cater one night for a couple dozen people, reasonably.
Find a few catorors and explain what you need and most will work with you.
Local bands -
trying to make a name for themselves and other local talent can be free!
Offer them a burger and a ride in your buggy! Now That's a deal!
Hire a DJ to host music -
Can make a rally memorable.
(have as good a mix as you have ages attending)
Rather than "Hire", you could invite them up for some BBQ!
Be creative with who you bring in for entertainment.
Ask the locals for ideas too.
Think outside the box!
If this will be an over night event, you may need to think of restroom facilities and a water source. You can haul in water for the weekend but you'll need access to restrooms
if your location doesn't have restrooms, you'll need to rent a port-a-pot. I believe they say it should be 1 per 10 guests for a weekend but check with your local "Johnny on the spot" rep.
TIP: Get a small group together that is camping and pitch in together for a hotel room for a day so everyone can take turns getting a quick shower for cheap and if needed, a couple of the "weak ones" can wuss it out in comfy beds for the night
Venders & Local Dealers
Local dealers can donate prizes and can offer parts & services.
Because of the potential for them to make money that weekend, you should solicit them to help out in some way. They should know that this is a win/win for all concerned. Make them welcome and comfortable and they will come back for your next one too. If nothing else, leave a flyer in their window :-)
Contact some of the local hotels in the area for those who do not like to camp out.
Many hotels will offer discounts if you ask!
Make this information available to your guests as soon as you can so they can plan accordingly.
Scouting and Making your Trail Map
A Clear, accurate map is essential to a great rally, especially if you have a larger area to ride in.
Anything over a hundred acres should probably have a trail map so your guests don't get lost and they know which trails are suitable for them.
If the place you are riding has maps, great, maybe you can just make additions to it pertaining specifically to your group.
Click Pic for larger views
This stage is actually one of my favorites!
It's best to get a friend and work as a 2 person team while you scout and make your map.
While you're scouting for a place to hold your Buggy Games, find a large, open area you'll use for the little ones.
Find a place that would allow parents a place to goof around with their kids, out of the way of main traffic.
Small hills in open areas allow a parent to tutor the young ones without the worry of dangerous obstacles or heavy traffic.
Mark it on the map and inform all guests that this area is specifically sectioned off for parents with small children and all caution is to be used if in this area!
A GPS comes in handy for marking distance but since everyone at the rally probably won't have a GPS handy so you should use natural formations for markers, such as Large boulders, downed trees or power lines and of course, Signs.
Prepare for buggy breakdowns.
At no time should a side trail be so out of the way of main traffic that a person would have to sit for hours waiting for rescue.
If you have any " Get Lost Areas" and don't mark them off, you will need to travel down them before the end of each riding day to be sure no one is stranded. People are going to be having fun and exploring and getting lost is a big Buzz kill :-)
Unless you have a permanent riding location and the land owner is OK with it, all signage should be temporary only. Twine and corrugated plastic board is fairly cheap and holds up to weather. Signs can be tied around trees.
You will need signs to:
Post direction to travel,
Mark off trails that are unsuitable or lead in an undesirable direction.
Mile Markers / Checkpoints
Do not use nails!
Remember, we want to leave as little impact as we can!
If there is nothing available where you need a sign, wooden stakes can be used or even a sharpened stick, pounded in with a rock will work. We've also used a pile of rocks as a post stand so you can be creative where you need to be just don't do anything "permanent" and remember that all your signage will need to be taken down at the end of the rally.
Let's go make a Trail Map!
When you're ready to start making your map, grab a friend and jump into one buggy.
The passenger can draw as you go along and mark any landmarks and notes of interest such as "Power lines, creek crossing, trail splits etc. Try to be as accurate as you can in marking turns in the trail on your map. This can be tricky to get it on paper right but you can refine it as you travel it over and over in your scouting process.
What you are trying to do at this point is just establish your "major loop" and mark where any trail splits are as you come across them and you'll come back and explore them later.
A large (One way) loop is the best setup for a trail ride or rally race, one that will lead each member back to the camping / staging area if they follow the entire loop.
Click on pics for larger views
Once you have your major loop established, go back around again and start marking distances between artifacts around the track such as the rock gardens and trail splits you marked down earlier.
These "Artifacts" will be used for your trail marker spots for ease of identifying where one is on the map such as a large downed tree or other noticeable items along the trail.
On your second trip around, as you come to a trail split, mark the distance from the last trail marker then go down it, again, drawing the path, marking distances and more "artifacts" as you go. Your objective here is to travel an alternate path from the main loop but eventually make it back onto the main loop again without turning around.
If you can't get back to the main loop, mark that down and move onto the next trail split/artifact on your map and continue on this way until you have most, if not all of the side trails explored or at least marked.
Marking distances is important so groups can determine the length of their chosen ride.
Remember, use natural landmarks such as boulder formations, creeks and trail splits so riders will know where they are on your map. These should also coincide with the numbers on your map where possible.
If there aren't any "noticeable" natural artifacts at a trail split, this is where a sign needs to be used. Place a sign and mark it on your map.
If there are several terrain / difficulty types or side trails not explored thoroughly, be sure to mark them on your map as well so members can determine if everyone in their party should make that trip or avoid that section. Just let them know what they're in for such as Steep hill here or very thin trail with lots of dead ends" or "We don't know etc.
If there is anything dangerous or
off limits areas such as drop offs or adjoining properties, you may consider putting up cones or caution tape or even mark off an area entirely but again, mark them CLEARLY, on your map!
First and foremost, when scouting your riding area, you may need to think of the 8 yr old in a 70cc buggy as well as older riders in much larger machines and even spectators that will be traversing the area when considering what a "hazard" is or when deciding if the terrain will be too difficult to traverse. PLEASE, Err on the side of caution.
Some potential hazards to scout for
Trail difficulty types can be listed in several ways.You can list the terrain, ie: "Very rocky with steep hills" or "Smooth fire trail" etc or
You can color code them according to difficulty. Use Green, Yellow and Red to make it as universally recognizable as possible.
Red (Danger!) for difficult. (A modded 150cc or better to make this trail due to steep hills, rocks, deep water crossings, etc)
Yellow (Caution) for medium (some small hills, larger rocks in the trails, pot holes etc).
Green (GO) for easy (Small Children in a 70cc buggy can traverse these with ease and no major hazards to avoid that can't be blocked off properly),
Steep drop offs from the trail
Crowded ATV trails, excessive alcohol use
Sharing the trails with Larger vehicles
Potential for cross traffic, head on collisions
Water hazards (Large water holes on trail, ponds, deep river crossings)
The need to climb Steep hills/dangerous terrain, to complete a circuit or reach an event area.
Planning your events because,
"Someone needs to direct traffic"
Planning your events for the weekend is the key to their success. Dry runs and practicing each event is the best way to determine difficulty, viewing areas, time needed, general layouts of each and is also part of YOUR FUN before the rally!
Someone needs to direct the traffic during the rally weekend so no one is left out of the festivities.
Careful planning and your handout sheets will make this job much easier.
Believe me,directing large groups can be like hearding cats :-)
Planning your events help everything go smooth. Knowing when things are happening such as a group cookout, competitions and other group related activities, will help eveyone get to where they need to be, when they need to be there.
When you're scouting for your event areas, keep these things in mind.
Do some dry runs from everyone's perspective, competitor and spectator.
Confirm how long a track should be or how steep a hill you should run, according to what size buggies will be in attendance.
Get an idea of how long each event may last so you can fit everything into the time you have. Always allow extra time for each event.
Keep riding events further away from camp sites due to dust and noise.
You will not only need the proper spacing for events but also consider the spectators viewing lines and safety!
It is also VERY important that the whole weekend isn’t just about "events". You should give your attendees plenty time for exploration and some "Family time" .
Best time of day to hold your events?
Events are best held late in the day or early & late on the 2nd day, after everyone has had plenty of time to “just ride”, plus in the summer, it's cooler.
Be sure to leave enough time to get through your events though before it gets too dark!
It helps to have food planned (BBQ/Tailgate) at the end of the day to get everyone together to share the days events and to also allow you to present awards, share some
smack talk and of course, EAT!
Although your event places and times will be on the back of the map you hand out to everyone,
Remind them 1000 times!! Seriously! I have never been to a rally where this wasn't one of the hardest things to accomplish!
There is always someone, somewhere else, when an event is taking place!
Tell everyone that there will be a group photo and ,that is where they'll find out where that nights community BBQ is! :-)
This way, if you have it late in the day Saturday, when they start to get hungry, they'll think "Oh ya, the group picture!".
When you have them all in one place for the picture, you remind them of the BBQ!
Sounds silly but you will be surprised if you don't.
Everyone wants to attend the events and especially want to be in the group photo but time gets away from us.
Make it as easy as you can for everyone to be there for them!
You can even mingle around all the camp sites and remind folks of upcoming events!
THE GROUP PHOTO!
What rally is complete without a group photo?
Remember to get that group photo on SATURDAY, late afternoon!!
On a typical 3 day rally, Late Saturday is the day that anyone who is coming, will be there by this time.
Saturday, right before the community cookout is best!
Some Items needed for your rally
OK, so you have a suitable place to ride and you're all set, now what?
Here are some basic items (But not all) that may be needed at a rally and will differ depending on where you hold it and the type of activities you plan on having,
Below are a few must have items. Once you have them, they can be used at all future rallies.Some of this stuff you may already have and other items can be brought by other members.
Trash Bags -We practice
“Pack out, what you pack in”.
MBRA groups should leave as little impact on the land as possible.
Cones / Caution tape - A couple dozen or more, small traffic cones and a roll of "Caution tape" to mark off areas. You can find these items in Wal-mart or similar discount stores.
EZ-UP and folding table - You will need these for a central point for signing in attendees, award ceremonies etc. The more of these, the better
GPS - This will really come in handy when marking the trail markers on your map and are perfect to determine distances in place of a measuring wheel!
Stop watch - or cell phone app etc for timing runs.
Lights and generator- You'll need lighting once the sun goes down and a couple Construction lamps work great and are pretty cheap. You can get a double halogen light tree for under $30 at your local home store!
Two way radios - Especially handy when you have help so you can communicate with your volunteers somewhere else on the property and is also great for rally races that cover a large area so you can determine if a racer has made it to a check point etc.
Camera – Of course, I think this is one of the most important items to carry in your rally bag!
Clip Board -
Tie a pen or pencil to it and carry it with you. Carry extra maps and a few blank sheets of paper or racing worksheets etc.
First aid kit – Band-aids, antiseptic wipes, Ace bandages etc for minor scrapes and boo-boos.
Also know where the nearest hospital is. We hope to never need it but if you do, this is very important.
Copies of the trail map -
with locations of bathrooms, local stores, times for events and rules on the back,
for each member.
Bring a few extra because they get lost or destroyed in a short time.
Something for the kids to do- when they get bored with the buggies. A Frisbee, football, bug collection, etc. A telescope is a great idea too since you'll probably be near dark skies!
Ya gotta have rules
The more folks that attend your rally, the more you will need a set of rules.
This can be the hardest job of the rally, it's the least enviable position but it's also the most important.
I can't stress enough that there HAS TO BE, one spokesperson responsible for the group and that person should be relayed to park management from the very beginning.
This should be a "people person" and capable of playing "sheriff" for the weekend.
This isn't that hard of a job if you follow our guidelines, communicate well initially and be available to answer questions if needed.
Each guest must be made aware of each rule and a copy should be given to each.
"I didn't know" should not be a viable excuse for anyone.
There is no need to "Drone on" but it is a good idea to either read these rules to the group as a whole or better yet, with each family as they arrive, during introductions.
Do this before any riding is done to be sure everyone understands before they get their buggies unloaded and dissapear to the 4 corners of the park!
Your guests, MBRA and the land owners will respect you for it.
You must be nice in your enforcement of broken rules.
No yelling or threatening! Always be pleasant but firm. Remember, everyone wants to have a good time and you should think of everyone’s needs, not just the one, or the few.
Folks want to do the right thing, they just need to be reminded what that is from time to time so be patient and remember,
What times for buggies, radios etc to be shut off at night?
Generators allowed? (a real "no-no" after 10pm anywhere)
Trash placement (We follow “pack it in, pack it out” at any rally but make it easy for folks to do the right thing. Have trash bags handy and let everyone know you have them! Maybe a local buggy/parts vendor can make up some cigarette lighter baggies that hang from your lighter as an advertisement opportunity.
Camp fires allowed? Wood gathering from property OK?
Any Off limit areas (Should also be clearly marked on map)
Never drive past anyone in need of help, whether they're in your group or not!
Helmets, Eye protection, Seat belts and window nets or arm restraints are required at all times, no exceptions!
No one rides alone, 2 buggy / 2 Person minimum in all groups
New riders should be paired with veteran riders when you can.
5mph speed limit in camping areas (Walking pace)
To be listed on your map & handed out to each family:
Rules of the park.
Trash dumping locations
Trail marker locations
Event locations and times (Use numbered signs to corrospond with your trail markers as reference)
Medical service station (Where's the 1st aid kit).
As long as you plan ahead and do your research before starting, you'll have a great rally that everyone will enjoy!
Advertising your rally
You will need to inform as many people as you can, weeks, months or longer, ahead of time that you will be getting together for a ride. We suggest a minimum of a 2-3 month advance notice for a typical 3 day rally and 6 months for a week long rally. You must give your guests time to arrange the time off. The longer the event, the longer you need to give folks to prepare.
Some ways to advertise are:
Related Web Forums.
Attending vendors can help you spread the word.
Fliers in local business windows and hand some out.
Word of mouth.
What type of Rally is this?
Is this all about the racing or is it a trail ride & BBQ?
The "Heading" will say it all in just 1 or 2 sentences.
Date, Time and Location
When and where. Ex. 3pm, Fri Aug 2nd 2013, Pacoma ATV Park, Walla Walla Washington.
This is where you will describe in more detail, what everyone will be doing and for how long as well as any other important information. Ex. "3 days of fun in the sun! Fri-Sun Come one, come all!" Pie eating Contests, Drag races, Hill climbing challanges and more!"
How do folks get to your rally?
You'll need to think of where everyone is coming from. Start your directions from the closest Interstate and include miles per turn.
Although we can all "Google" or "Mapquest", it's always best to do a dry run from both directions and locate landmarks, street signs, etc. Don't want people wandering around lost even before they get to the rally and I guarantee you that no matter how well you write directions, someone's getting lost anyway so be specific and use as many landmarks as you can to avoid confusion.
The registration sheet
The registration sheet is more than just a formality, it is a valuable tool.
Knowing what types and sizes of buggies you have to work with or when folks arrive and where they're staying, will help avoid many issues.
It's good to know that the "Smiths" are staying in a nearby hotel or are leaving on Saturday so when you do your last ride of the evening looking for stragglers, you know not to keep searching for them or if "Tim and Mike" are camping at the rally site but no one has seen them in hours, it's time to go looking for them.
This sheet will also help you plan future rallies by giving you information on what type of vehicles are showing up, how large are the groups and whether folks prefer camping or staying in a hotel. Are they arriving on Friday or mostly on Saturday morning?
All these things will help make your next rally even better!
How to do "Registration day".
On the day of your rally, you should set up your registration tent somewhere near the entrance so folks can easily find you and can't get into the park without registering. This is best done as a 2 person operation. One person writes down the information while the 2nd person takes the family to the camping area, helps them unload and go over the rules and details of the park with them. This way, everyone has everything explained to them so the excuse "I didn't know", isn't a valid one. This information should also be on the handouts you give each family but verbally going over them then answering any questions, will help them feel at ease because they know what's allowed and what isn't and they'll also have the opportunity to ask questions.
If they don't know anyone at the rally, you'll also provide that familiar face they can go to if they need anything.
When a family shows up for registration, introduce yourself, get their names, vehicle descriptions (both the tow vehicle and what buggies they brought. Also, direct them to where they can camp. It is best to keep everyone local to each other. You don't have to cram everyone into a small area but everyone should be within eye hot of each other.
They may fight you on this but will thank you at the end of the rally. Many folks will want to go to the ends of the site, to camp with some privacy. That's all well and good for a family camping trip but isn't that good for a rally and I promise that if you can have everyone circle the wagons on this, your rally will be easier to control and everyone will get a chance to meet everyone. This also makes it easier to get information out to the group quickly, allows everyone to know when BBQ's and award ceremonies are being held and makes it easier to find someone, should you need them.
Here is a sample Registration sheet. You can add any information you feel you can use such as email addresses, ages etc, but these items are a good start for groups of 10 or more and in areas over 100 acres.
Now you have everything you need to run a rally, get out there and make some new friends and be sure to take plenty of pics and videos!!
Have fun and kick up some dirt!
Before you leave at the end of your rally......
At the end of the rally, our objective is to remove any signs we were ever there. If you are using a State Park or privately owned land to ride on, let the owners know that a few in your group will ride the trails on Sunday afternoon before everyone leaves, to check the trails for trash. (And, don't forget to remove any signs or markers you put up).
There shouldn't be any trash from your group but if others have left some, this will let the "powers that be" know that you are respectful of their property and are a courteous group that would be welcomed back.
Thank them for allowing your group to ride there and get your foot in the door for the next one!
Don't just pack up a leave without saying goodby and thank you!
In closing, bring your enthusiasm and your manners and leave nothing but a good impression!
You'll be an intricate part of expanding this sport and for that,
WE THANK YOU!!
From the author:
All this information has been gathered over countless rallies that we've either hosted or attended, all across the country.
Nothing here is arbitrary or over hyped and is designed to grow this sport in the most positive way while helping others at the same time.
A large, well done rally can accomplish more than you think.
- Small rural towns can benefit from the influx of buggy riders spending money in their town and there are so many beautiful places in this country to ride that could use our help.
- An MBRA group can raise money for a worthy local cause.
- MBRA groups can and have, influenced land use decisions all across the country. With ATV parks closing everywhere because of the inherent dangers of ATV's, it is important that we let the public know there is a safer alternative before they're all gone!
We hope this information helps you and hope that you "pay it forward" as well.
If we have helped you or can help you in any way, drop us a line and let us know.
If you would like more detailed information on anything, feel free to contact us and we'll do our best.
Most guidelines and group information we have is not listed here
The Non Profit MBRA is on its 7th year in 2013 and is the only national organized buggy group in the country.
We promise to stay the course and continue to promote this sport and all those who passionately support it.
Good luck, stay safe and enjoy your rally!
The information contained in this site is FREE to use, download and copy. All we ask is that credit is given to the MBRA as the source, whenever anything contained on this site is used publicly.
Content copyright 2015. KNMllC. All rights reserved.