Laughlin River Run

March 23, 2020

All Posts, News

Laughlin River Run

The River Run in Laughlin, Nevada was fun while it lasted. It largely defined the Biker Boom era. It looks dead although with enough whisky it might yet rise like Tim Finnegan. There is no way to tell who might show up with a tent and a sleeping bag tied to his sissy bar. But the hotels in Laughlin are closed. The Colorado Belle, which was supposed to host the event isn’t answering the phone. The previous promoter isn’t answering the phone and neither is the current promoter.

River Run is scheduled for April. 23 to the 26th.

The event website published an announcement that reads:

Official Announcement

“This past Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Nevada Governor Sisolak mandated closure of all hotels & casinos for 30 days which all Laughlin properties are following.

“As of this announcement they can reopen on Saturday April 18, the weekend before River Run. Most of the hotels, and all those supporting the River Run, have full plans to open that Saturday.

“Based on this situation the River Run is not canceled and will go on as scheduled. We will work closely with state and local officials for any further updates. Thanks, LRR”

Grand Funk Railroad is still scheduled to play a concert in the Edgewater Event Center Friday night. Kenny Wayne Shepherd is scheduled to play the same venue on Saturday. If people show up for this ghost of an event it will be a hopeful indication that summer, and Sturgis, might be saved. Bikefest in Leesburg. Florida, which was scheduled for the same dates as Laughlin, was cancelled last week.

Back Story

It is reasonable to say that the phenomena of the massive biker rtally started in Laughlin although Sturgis, Daytona and Laconia were around for decades before Laughlin.

Laughlin was invented by a Harley dealer named Dale Marschke in1983 as something for the members of his brand new chapter of the Harley Owners Group top do. Nobody knew what the point of HOG was except to create a sort of non-outlaw motorcycle club. It was up to dealers like Marschke to figure it out.

Marschke knew Don Laughlin who had started his own town in 1966. By 1983, Laughlin, Nevada had 350 hotel rooms to rent on a paved road and 100 fulltime residents. Marschke also knew a guy named Joe O’Day. O’Day had a business he called Dal-Con Promotions and between the three of them they managed to put together a motorcycle event that sold out Don Laughlin’s Hotel.

Brand new bikers from around Los Angeles, rode out to the Colorado River. The River Run itself was a little cruise up the Nevada side of the Colorado to the crossing at Davis Dam, then back along the Arizona side of the river and inland to the old Route 66 gas stop of Oatman. It was immediately the biggest event in Laughlin, Nevada every year. The Run created the town.

Biker Boomers

By 1987 the town was practically civilized with 1600 hotel rooms, a school and a new bridge across the river right at the end of Casino Drive. The far shore of the river was Bullhead City and Don Laughlin owned most of that, too. River Run was such a great idea that a whole, new city defined itself by its capacity to contain it. The run grew and evolved and got better for a while. Other cities like Durango looked at Laughlin and said, “You know, that could be us.”

It was fun while it was still a sloppy, rude, living biker party with few rules. Year by year . it became an orchestrated, impeccably sedate boomer fest. The decline accelerated after the 2002 River Run Riot in Harrah’s, at the end of Casino Road, between members of the Mongols and Hells Angels. The next year patches were banned and the writing appeared on the wall.

River Run held on for almost 20 years after that. Every year was a little less fun. Dal-Con announced it was pulling out last year. That could have been the end but about a month ago a company named Five Star Exhibits, Inc announced it had bought the Run’s name and the old, grey event would continue.

Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.


20 Responses to “Laughlin River Run”

  1. Ol' Goat Says:

    SIG 45: pink froth? really? DO you just make this shit up? I have Spoken with 2 folks that tested positive for COVID-19 and both have fully recovered. One said he just had a bad headache with a mild fever for 3-4 days. The other said it was like any other mild flu with a slight fever & body aches for a few days.

  2. zero Says:

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 Laughlin River Run has been canceled.

  3. mad midget Says:

    @ oldskewl
    The cocksucker just can’t take a hint can he? fuck him

  4. oldskewl Says:

    LMFAO. Gandalf, the “jackoff” is criticizing me. Wow, just wow.

  5. Dasein Says:

    Gandalf? Weren’t you the banjo player in “Deliverance?” Daddy Trump loves you anyway.

  6. Gandalf Says:

    Did thst fucking Trumper just spew 500 words blaming Obama (Osama) then say, “I’m sick and tired of the blame game.” Easter can’t come soon enough for oldskew. I recommend the Royal Caribbean Sicily cruise. RT airfare to Rome is cheap. Bon Voyage

  7. oldskewl Says:

    H1N1 killed 12K Americans and yet we didn’t have the strict lockdown controls we have now, Osama golfed while the virus killed thousands. The respirator stock once held by the US government so badly needed now was depleted and never restocked due to the sorry ass job Osama did with the economy.

    Now here we are again, desperately (could be a lie) needing supplies that are “Hecho in China” and they don’t have any left. NAFTA killed our economy and left us in debt, imagine becoming president and not knowing we don’t have respirators in stock because nobody ever mentioned it nor imagined this would happen but you’re responsible for the lack of supplies.

    I’m sick and tired of the blame game. If you feel sick, stay the fuck home. If not then go about your normal day. This is blown out of proportion, just look at the real numbers coming out now, less than 1% will die from the virus, that’s less than our normal flu.

    Stop already.

  8. SIG 45 Says:

    Been riding for 40 years. Pack 45acp every day. However I work in a hospital and I am amazed at the people who post here defying what is happening globally. This is a challenge to the Western world and idiots are still comparing it to the flu. When that pink froth comes from your or a relatives mouth maybe you’ll understand. Love for the great leader is blinding people to truth. I leave with Nicholson’s speech from a few good men,

    “ You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall — you need me on that wall.

    We use words like “honor,” “code,” “loyalty.” We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line.

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.

    I would rather that you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand the post. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN what you think you’re entitled to!

    I have a donated homemade face you can use.

  9. Gandalf Says:

    @ed Italy, Spain, UK, China, EU, South Korea…. Are they ALL in on the game against Trump? Do ALL their Media work with ours to sabotage our Economy (Trump) at the expense of their own?? No my friend… IMHO This is different.

  10. ed Says:

    This whole panic craze was initiated by the money grubbing attention seeking bullshit news media and then exponentially expanded on by the dumbass politicians that run this country. Uh, anyone remember the Swine Flu, Sars , then the swine flu again known as HINI. No government panic then. I ride a fucking motorcycle amongst motherfuckers that can’t see me; They could paste my ass at any given second. I ain’t got time to worry about the fucking cold bug making me sick or killing me.

  11. Gandalf Says:

    We put a man on the moon but can’t get everyone tested. Can’t get everyone masks and gloves for everyone. the fact of the matter is; If in 1 magic second everyone was tested and everyone had gloves and masks some people could go back to work… Some stay home. Epic Fail. NOT KNOWING is why we suffer.
    Now we are finding out some politicians knew and sold their stocks. D or R hang the SOBs who profited. Let the “Innocent” and Guilty swing together. I’m tired of hearing, “I didn’t order the stock sale” BS! How many 1%ers are locked up who claimed not to know what his brother was doing?

  12. white witch Says:

    laughlin was a good run back in the 90’s. to corp. now have not been since 06.

    ride free white witch

  13. rookery Says:

    Dear straight shooter

    suggest you take a look at the health systems, good health systems, that have been brought to there knees in Italy and Spain in just 3 weeks!.
    The US is/was 3 weeks behind them. Thanks to that fool you have in the white house prioritising the stock market instead of the nations health your country is badly behind the curve of infections. The US health system is quite possibly going to implode with devastating consequences because imbeciles like your self just don’t get it and are cheerfully hanging out with their friends and family spreading the infection. State sponsored propaganda..? your a moron. Here in Europe the median age of people that need ICU care is dropping fast because of the numbers infected. This in turn means that allocating ventilators, ICU care etc is slowly being done on an age basis as younger people have a better chance of survival… The only proven method of slowing the curve of infection (at the moment) is a total lock down ala Wuhan…….. which given that many on this list are 2nd amendment enthusiasts could be an interesting scenario for many of you folks. I wish you all luck cos your probably going to need it.

  14. Stevo Says:

    If the restrictions are lifted by then it may well become a huge celebration party…

  15. Straight Shooter Says:

    These once giant events became human cattle drives. $$$. Pick a year when it truly ‘Jumped the Shark’. This whole national panic/pandemic/pandemonium is state sponsored propaganda. Fear. Its the freaking flu season & annually how many die each year? And what age group is predominately at risk? Old folk w/weak immune systems. Worse when your diet of dead, processed foods and poison meds are shoved down the gullet for a lifetime.

  16. Mac Says:

    It is what it is in the year of the plague.I was at Daytona and now I keep waiting for the symptoms to come up.
    Leesburg bikefest and the spring Panama City Beach Motorcycle Rally have been cancelled. After they made the Leesburg announcement, I cancelled my hotel reservation and they told me “tough shit, no refund”. They haven’t heard the end of that.
    Stay safe out there. What does not kill us makes us stronger. I’ll see you somewhere down the line, or in Valhallah.

  17. Paladin Says:

    There is nothing more unpredictable and therefore more dangerous than a large gathering of people.


  18. Thump Says:

    Since the world is canceling anything fun I thought I’d share this. Just saw a real good flick on Amazon called “Rebel on the Highway”. Made by bikers for bikers. Has the Louisiana Bandidos, Boozefighters, the ghost of Injin Larry and a bunch of great blues artists. It’s not a bikers bad, cops good movie. Very uplifting and lots of bikes.

    Stay safe out there

  19. Dasein Says:

    Never understood the appeal of crowds. I’m always like, “They’re all over there? Then let’s go this way.”

  20. rookery Says:

    no vaccine – no run. Stay safe…

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