For organizers of a new motorcycle event that launches Friday, May 24 in Moab, it’s all about the ride. The Nut-Up or Shut-Up Moab to Monument Valley Riding Rally in not a traditional motorcycle rally, said organizer Samantha Bonsack of Just Nut-Up! LLC, a motorcycle tour company based in Moab.
“Motorcycle rally events traditionally are a single geographical location where riders get off of their bikes to enjoy music and a vendor expo, with some optional local rides. As the motorcycle industry has grown to include more mainstream riders, and with women riders as the largest new bike purchasers, the NUT-UP event organizers saw a lacking in the market,” Bonsack said.
The event is capped at 100 motorcycles, and is focused almost entirely on enjoying the scenery and the riding experience, Bonsack said.
“There really isn’t anything at a traditional motorcycle rally event that attracts us,” Bonsack said. “We buy our gear online, don’t like huge crowds and rarely do they have music we want to pay to see. We just like to ride, all day and every day. We wanted to create a new concept of a riding rally.”
There will be none of the traditional vendor expos, concert scene or ‘biker party’ at the NUT-UP event. Just riding, and lots of it, Bonsack said.
“Over the weekend, riders will be treated to over 500 miles of spectacular National, State and Tribal Parks spanning from Moab down to Monument Valley,” Bonsack said. “We figured there had to be other riders that enjoyed long distance riding, so we created a weekend full of our favorite routes and invited a few friends.”
Hoping for a few dozen participants, Bonsack said registration closed in early February at 100 motorcycles to keep the event manageable and the experience authentic.
“We easily could have had 300 bikers here, but we’re not looking for quantity, we’re looking for quality,” Bonsack said. “There will be far more time on the bikes than off of them, and most riders simply don’t like that much pavement time. We didn’t know we were attracting an untapped market when we started, and were shocked at the response.”
The event begins as soon as riders hit town with a full moon night ride through Arches National Park. The next day routes go south to Gooseneck State Park and into Monument Valley for a special sunset ceremony set against the red rock buttes.
Sunday has riders coming back into Moab then out to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park for another special ceremony at the overlook. Due to time constraints, riders will then return to Moab and go directly to the evening’s festivities at the Elks Lodge, where locals – especially riders – are welcome to attend, Bonsack said.
Because the event falls on Memorial Day weekend, organizers are encouraging local residents and visitors to be cautious and watch out for motorcycles while driving on area roads and in the national parks.
“We schedule our events around the full moon for those magical night rides. This year, it happened to land on Memorial Day weekend, so we’re asking all motorists to please keep a watchful eye out for us,” Bonsack said. “With the recent motorcycle accidents, it’s a good reminder that motorcycles don’t have a reinforced ‘cage’ to protect us in an accident.”
Bonsack said Just Nut-Up has also raised funds to help a Navajo family after one of the family members was killed.
“Carlos Mose was a friend and helping us with the rally but was killed in a random act of violence,” she said. “We collected donations and were able to cut a $1,000 check to [the] Harley-Davidson Financial Corporation last year help keep his motorcycle in the family.”
Any local rider who wishes to participate in the Moab to Monument Valley Riding Ralley can join without charge but must register for insurance and permit purposes, according to Bonsack. Contact IwannaRide@JustNutUp.com, call 334-245-3688, or visit NutUpRally.com for more information.