STAR stands for Sport Touring Association Rendezvous, but may I humbly suggest that it be changed from Rendezvous to Reunion in the future? Because that’s exactly what it feels like. A family reunion. Sure, there is lots of riding. There are meetings for the members and for the executive committee. There are seminars and speakers. There are motorcycles everywhere. But most of all it feels like a family reunion. And not the kind of one that you see on reality TV either. But the kind that we wish every reunion could be like and the kind that you look forward to every year.
It starts off when the planners, organizers, and early volunteers arrive on Thursday and early Friday and begin to set up registration and other things.
It’s a chance for all of us to actually see each other after months of emails and phone calls. A chance to say hello, how’ve you been, and tell us what’s new. A chance to just enjoy seeing absent friends once again. It kicks into high gear when registration actually opens on Saturday morning and people begin to trickle in. By afternoon it’s a steady stream of old friends coming through, and the stories, laughter, and fun begins to flow like a fine wine. By evening time it’s like we haven’t been apart any time at all, and the event begins to take on a life of its own. Stories from the road are told, new bikes are ogled and discussed, riding plans begin to be decided upon, and late-night libations are consumed.
A flow begins to happen….Eat, sleep, ride, repeat. Throw in some socializing along the way and continue for 5 days. That’s STAR. More than just another rally. It’s really a family reunion. It’s the motorcycles that bring us all together, but it’s the feelings we have for each other that make it really different and special. We aren’t 250 strangers; we are 250 members of a family that all get along. It’s special in many ways.
During this rally/reunion there are evening entertainments included. The Monday evening Members Meeting was informational for sure. We found out lots about the club, its future outlook, its membership numbers, and its financial condition. It aLos included some awards and the announcement of the location and date for STAR 2024. (Kerrville, Texas and October 19-25, 2024) Sme fun was had with shouts out to the states with the largest numbers of members, and recognition was given to those that have done the best job of recruiting new members. Awards were given out to the oldest and youngest members and those that traveled the furthest to the event. A volunteer of the year was chosen, and the award given to a very deserving Jerry James. The whole thing was wrapped up in less than an hour and folks then returned to their social time around the hotel, the hotel bar, and outside among the bikes in the parking lot.
Tuesday evening offered us several different seminars to choose from. “50 years of learning what Not to do on a Motorcycle”, by Doug Westly. “Roads less traveled”, by Micheal O’Neill. “Accident Scene Management”‘ by Helene Vellimure. All were well attended and very well received by the attendees.
Wednesday evening, we have the final banquet, which includes a guest speaker (Micheal O’Neill), awards for the women of the year and the President’s award (Nancy and Scott Sneeden swept these two awards), major door prizes and raffle drawings. But what really set this banquet apart from many that have happened before was the Moose and Mike floor show! Don “Moose” Parish and Mike Morris, two long term members, teamed up to present a history of the Jean Monticelli Award, and of Jean Monticelli herself. I hope there is a tape of it somewhere because words can’t adequately describe the chaos and utter hilarity that were the results of these two characters being given microphones and carte blanche as after dinner entertainers.
Meanwhile, during the days, we ride. And when I say we ride, I mean that almost everyone is out everyday on the roads or trails, either singly or in small groups, riding one of the suggested routes or one of their own. The team of Roger White and Geoffrey Greene put together over 2500 miles of road routes and 1700 miles of adventure routes to choose from. Ride boards, with picture and descriptions, were placed in the cnetral area so that everyone could look at and decide which routes to ride. Norm Kern massaged them and got them into GPX form with suggested gas and lunch stops along the way. The Devil’s Triangle Route to the nort was very popular. That one, along with the Foothills Parkway, Deal’s Gap, and the Cherahola Skyway were the most well-known coming into the event. But Roger and Geoffrey were able to add hundreds of miles of other roads to the routes, so all attendees could also explore lots of new roads that they most likely hadn’t ever been on before. One local attendee from Knoxville remarked that even he didn’t know most of them! Riding is what we are all about, and the reason that we do the rallies that we do. I didn’t hear from even one person that there weren’t enough good roads to ride in the area. Nobody could have ridden everything there was to offer, even if the rally lasted two weeks. Oh well, guess we will have to return some year!
Riding great roads with great people. Spending non-riding time in the evenings going to good restaurants (there were several within walking or free shuttle distance). Socializing until late in the evening. Checking out hundreds of sport bikes, sport touring bikes, adventure bikes, and even a few cruisers. Meeting people from across the country and reconnecting with old friends you see only once a year or once every few years. Miles, smiles, laughter and good times. The only thing lacking for most was enough sleep. STAR, our club’s family reunion every year is something everyone needs to attend at least once. Will I see you next year in Kerrville, Texas? I hope so!
Words can’t show you the whole thing…..pictures do a better job. To see hundreds of pictures from the event go here.