With the largest scooter rally in North America headed for NOLA in less than a month, Zach asked me to try to shed a little light on what exactly a scooter rally is all about. Let me first say that I have been to many rallies all over the country and there a countless scooter rallies to attend all over the world and most have a basic structure.
A typical rally will take place over a designated weekend and preferably over a long weekend. Amerivespa this year, hosted jointly by Vespa Club of America and the New Orleans Scooter Co-op, is in New Orleans and will be a 4 day event (June 16th through the 19th ). A typical rally will have many structured events, group rides, some kind of entertainment, usually a time where folks can put their scoots out for show and judging, tech sessions, scooter competitions, and usually a raffle. This year the organizers have gotten sponsors to donate 6 scooters to the raffle including 2 Vespas!
This year, Amerivespa kicks off Thursday morning with a “Early Bird” long ride from New Orleans to Baton Rouge via some beautiful Louisiana scenic roads and meeting for lunch at Moto Rouge. After lunch we head back to New Orleans taking another scenic route. The long ride is usually reserved for scooters that can maintain a 50 MPH pace (or better).
On the first night of a rally there is usually a party called the “Meet and Greet”. This year the Meet and Greet will be at our awesome sponsor (and blog host) Transportation Revolution. Zach and company have been working their tails off on it and it should be darn good time!
Friday kicks off with multiple rides that you can choose from that will all end around noon at an all you can eat, drink, (and bowl) party at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. That evening we will meet at the Howlin’ Wolf for an attendee only exclusive show by New Orleans’ own world famous burlesque act, Fleur d’ Tease. Afterwards, stay and jam out to Rebirth Brass Band.
Saturday will have a few rides and most importantly the “Concours de Elegance (CdE)”. The CdE is the scooter show where you will see all makes and models (not just Vespas) of classic restored scoots along with custom paint and trim jobs among multiple year, make and model categories. This is not to be missed because this country’s best restorers will be showing off their classic scoots. All registrants are invited to have their ride judged in the competition. The CdE will be held at Generations Hall on Andrew Higgins. Along with the CdE, a tech session will be jointly hosted by our sponsors Piaggio/Vespa and Transportation Revolution.
Saturday evening the Vespa Club of America’s annual banquet will take place and all registrants are invited to an all you can eat affair at the rally host hotel Hilton Riverside.
Sunday, the last day of the rally, kicks off with the scooter competitions at Contemporary Arts Center. Among the competitions is an obstacle course called the “Gymkhana”. The Gymkhana is more about skill than speed although speed helps the rider’s score. Another competition is the “Slow Race”. To win the slow race the rider has to be the last (not first) scooter to cross the finish line without his or her feet touching the ground.
After the competitions, the raffle begins. Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the rally for $1 a piece. Among the 6 scooters, there will be other scooter related merchandise donated by the sponsors to win. Very few folks leave empty handed with a modest purchase of tickets but the scooter winners typically are those that go all out and purchase a bunch! After the raffle it is time load up and go home.
I hope this was helpful to you and also hope to see at the rally! If you need more information, you can check out the Amerivespa website at amerivespa.org you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will respond to you.
-John Dietrich is an avid New Orleans scooterist, member of New Orleans Scooter Co-op and an organizer of Amerivespa 2011 New Orleans