When the first of the two Red River Gorge rallies for 2023 was announced – the one to be held during the Independence Day weekend – I thought that was a change in location and date for the annual eastern Kentucky MSTA gathering. Then a new hotel on the rally’s traditional mid-August weekend was announced – and I was very confused.
A brief email conversation with MSTA President and both rallies’ organizer Pat Mogavero helped clear things up for me.
Pat said the July rally – called, “Red River Gorge Rally Lite” – is intended to test the waters for putting on weekday rallies. The “Lite” rally starts on Sunday, July 2, and wraps up on Tuesday, July 4. He added that he was originally hoping to move the full rally to the July rally’s accommodations – the Lil Abner Motel – but it’s already booked every weekend for next year.
I’d never heard of the Lil Abner Motel, but it’s a known commodity for Pat. He said he’s stayed there multiple times during the past 40 years and his wife’s family would stay there during her childhood. Pat added that the hotel is no stranger to hosting motorcycle groups.
For those who enjoy riding on dirt more than pavement, the July rally is definitely for you. Pat pointed out that the Lil Abner’s location in Slade, Ky., is closer to the Red River Gorge’s dual sport routes. There’s also camping located much closer to the host hotel compared to the August rally.
“Let’s see if there are folks out there who a weekday rally works better for,” Pat said. “…This is somewhat of an experiment, and I’m not quite sure what we will find out. I expect it to be smaller than the standard rally, but it also might be more of an opportunity for the attendees to get to know each other.”
Pat also touched on the new location for the August rally, which is set to take place at the Comfort Inn that’s next door to the previous host hotel Aug. 10-13. When he organized the first Red River Gorge rally, the then-manager of the establishment, Ashley, was keeping the hotel in tip-top shape. She took another job after the first couple years of the rally, and the hotel’s condition began to worsen. When Pat went to check out the Comfort Inn as a potential rally venue, he was pleased to find out Ashley is the manager there now.
Pat added that the room rate will be the same at the Comfort Inn as it had been at the other hotel in recent years and he expects rallygoers will get to enjoy nicer rooms and a better breakfast for the same price per night.