The 29th Annual Laughlin River Run, the largest motorcycle event on the west coast, just got started (April 27th – May 1st, 2011.) An opportunity for many to see the historic US Route 66 the way it was meant to be seen, to turn back time as you ride the hills from Kingman to Oatman, AZ, to cool off in the Colorado or test lady luck at any one of the casinos located on the strip. But did you know that:
1- Laughlin’s current location was established in the 1940’s with the South Pointe due to its proximity to Nevada’s southern tip. The settlement consisted of a motel and bar that catered to gold/silver miners and to the many construction workers who built the Davis Dam. 2-The name Laughlin comes from Don Laughlin, a Minnesota, native who purchased the southern tip of Nevada in 1964. At the time, Don Laughlin operated the 101 Club in Las Vegas. He opened what would become the Riverside Resort, offering all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents, 12 slot machines and two live gaming tables, along with eight motel rooms (although four of the rooms were occupied by Don Laughlin’s family). He wanted to call the community Riverside or Casino but the post office opted for Laughlin instead.
3- The “run” was the idea of Harley-Davidson dealer Dale Marschke who thought it would be fun to take a ride from his shop in San Bernardino out across the desert and head out for Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort. 4- As the small event attracted more riders across the nation the River Run began to swell in numbers of attendees. Soon it became a money maker and Marschke and fellow Southern Californian, Joe O’Day, set up a production company to organize the run. Their Dal-Con Promotions took over control of things and soon expanded events from just the Riverside Resort to include the other casinos. 5- Today Laughlin offers more than 10,000 hotel rooms and amenities although the last census counted only 9000 permanent residents (most locals live in Bullhead city). 6- The Run attracts more than 70,000 bikers with top name motorcycle manufacturers and vendors and entertainment set up just front of their hotels. 7- Although the event counts many attractions, a lot of night entertainment inside and outside hotels, a sought after bike show, favorite pastime for those attending the “River Run” is simply watching bikers riding up and down the strip. Laughlin River Run.
By the way. Helmets? They are required in Nevada and California. They are not required in Arizona nor the Avi and its surrounding Fort Mojave Indian Reservation.