If you are trying to avoid members of the Iron Order, you might want to skip this year’s Four Corners Motorcycle Rally.
The rally sort of dates to 1993 when former United States Senator, and motorcycle enthusiast, Ben Nighthorse Campbell invented the Four Corners Iron Horse Motorcycle Rally. The Labor Day Weekend event was cancelled in 2002, a few months after an infamous biker brawl the previous Spring in Laughlin, Nevada, when Hells Angels appeared in Durango and the ten local police on duty at the time felt afraid and “overwhelmed.” Then and now, the rally was centered at the Sky Ute Fairgrounds in Ignacio, Colorado. Subsequent rallies in the same general location were known as the Rally in the Rockies, Ignacio Bike Week, the Four Corners Biker Rally and now the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally. Johnny T. Valdez, a former poker dealer and Executive Officer with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe bought the rally in 2015.
The rally anticipates 38,000 attendees next September and most of them will come from Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix and North Texas.
Friends Of The Rally
On its official website, the rally lists 33 sponsors (“Without them, there would be no rally”) that include Budweiser, Pepsi, Wells Fargo, the Durango Area Tourism Office, the Sky Ute Casino, Law Tigers, Durango Harley, the Indian dealer in Albuquerque and several local businesses.
The website also lists eight “Friends of the Rally (While not officially sponsors of the rally, the following help us out in many ways)” that include Senator Campbell, the Southern Ute Tribe, the Christian Motorcyclists Association and the Iron Order Motorcycle Club. The thank you to the rally’s friends includes a link to the Iron Order website.
The warm embrace of the Iron Order by this rally is notable given that members of the club have been involved in two high profile gunfights in the last month. An Iron Order member also participated in a less well known, drive by shooting in DeRidder, Louisiana on December 23. The intended victims of that shooting were members of the Los Solitarios Motorcycle Club. The club openly urges members to carry guns and trains members about what to say to police after they discharge them.
Shooting Before Last
In order to avoid the trouble that seems to follow Iron Order members around like a dark cloud, Jim Wear, who will promote a motorcycle event in Colorado Springs early next month, announced yesterday that the Iron Order has voluntarily agreed to avoid the Colorado Springs event. Wear promotes the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver where an Iron Order member and Colorado prison guard named Derrick “Kong” Duran shot and killed Mongols Motorcycle Club member Victor “Nubs” Mendoza on January 30.
No Iron Ordfer member has been charged in any of these crimes.
In commenting on his club’s voluntary agreement to stay away from Wear’s events, Iron Order “Director of the Division of Legal Affairs” John Whitfield told the Denver Post, “We are trying to be reasonable. We have got a right to go, but the reasonable and safe thing to do right now is agree not to go.” Whitfield also said, “When we are the target of these unlawful attacks, it doesn’t make good sense to be going to any of these events.”