The Algona, Iowa Freedom Rally
The Freedom Rally — celebrating freedom. I can’t say that I’ve attended every type of rally in the U.S. but I know of none like the annual rally in Algona, Iowa hosted by ABATE of Iowa (def: “ABATE” a national motorcycle rights and motorcycle safety organization).
Freedom to be away from cagers First of all, it is held on private property, 350 acres owned by ABATE of Iowa. Second, once you get past the front gates, there are no cars, trucks, pickups, campers, RVs, motorhomes or trailers. That in itself makes the Freedom Rally about motorcycles. Clever concept, huh? A motorcycle rally about motorcycles. You can get your bike tuned there, or just sit and swap lies with fellow riders.
Freedom from fakery This is not a place for people who buy a $20,000 motorcycle only to use it to adorn their garage as garage candy. Making the rally about motorcycles helps to weed out the wannabees, the RUBBIES, and the posers. That helps contribute to the atmosphere of authenticity. People there are not trying to act like something they are not. They are not pretentious. So when you are talking to another rally goer, you are talking to someone who is just like you, a rider.
Free to be free The standard written rules apply to the Freedom rally: No firearms, no fireworks, no pets, no one under 21 and no attitudes. It’s the unwritten rules that make the rally outstanding: You are free to do anything you want as long as you do not hurt, harm or threaten anyone. If you do, ABATE’s staff will have you and your campsite tossed off the grounds in about the same time it takes you to read this blog. So, with that mindset, that means you’re gonna see nudity, you’re gonna get a whiff of a burning herb, you’re gonna get a chance to sample moonshine.
Free to enjoy yourself Since the Freedom Rally is on private grounds used mainly for only the rally, it has a permanent band shell or stage. It draws groups such as the Edgar Winter Group, Sammy Kershaw and top rated regional bands. As with most rallies, the music comes with the entry fee. A permanent bike rodeo grounds hosts three days of competition for spectators and contestants to mingle and compete. A permanent beer “tent” on a hill gives you a good place to cool off, a breeze through the open building, and cold beer is a great antidote to the grime and grease of Iowa’s heat and humidity. A well-planned vendor area lets you wander among the food vendors, the jewelery and patch vendors, the tat shops and even the motorcycle dyno stands. The organizers of the Freedom Rally are to be commended for a well-planned layout.
Free to relax One of the best things about the accommodations of the Freedom Rally are the campgrounds — there are more than one. Unless you’re a late-comer, you’re likely to find a shaded, area that will allow you to keep your tent and your parked bike cool. You can hang out with friends and neighbors. You can set up a campfire in a fire ring. You can relax.
Free to choose I understand that not every biker wants to be with his or her own kind, and some choose a different venue. You’re free to choose the rally or rallies you want to attend. My recommendation is if you are limited to your vacation days, skip Sturgis, skip your local community drunkfest and head to Algona, Iowa in 2011. (Now if you want another look at the 2010 Algona, Iowa Freedom Rally, check out my other entry in this blog — but it’s for adults only.)