Laughlin River Run. Did You Know?

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.

13 Responses to “Laughlin River Run. Did You Know?”

  1. 1 DAHAMMER Apr 27th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I love this event went in 06 and 07 sent my Big Dog K-9 to National City San Diego VIA Pasha Hawaii shipping lines rode to Vegas then the next morning down to the river it was a blast cant wait to go again

  2. 2 Bruce Rogers Apr 27th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Interesting to know the story. Few know it, I bet.

  3. 3 burnout Apr 27th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I was there for the grasshopper invasion of 09!! peace

  4. 4 DJ Apr 27th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Enjoy it while you still can.. The regulators and legislators don’t like to hear about people having fun. It won’t be long and it will be shut down

  5. 5 ROGUE Apr 28th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    There may be some changes in the Nevada Mandatory Helmet Law if motorcycle journalist TigerLily of Las Vegas has any thing to say about it.
    There is currently a bill before the Nevada Legislature to make Motorcycle Helmets a Matter of Choice.
    She has been very busy fighting for its passage.
    As with any legislation she can use all the support she can get.
    For more information contact her.
    Southwest Ad Manager/Correspondent
    QuickThrottle Magazine

    [email protected]

  6. 6 john Apr 28th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    This event is expensive and full of cops – last few times I went down I felt very nervous because of the incredibly hostile police presence. No thanks – Laughlin I will keep my biker money closer to home.

  7. 7 DJ Apr 28th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Well said! All the rallies are getting that way. I think that Cillocothe Easy Rider is about the last anything goes bike event. Everything else you are hearded like sheep and preyed upon by the court system as if the revenue brought by commerce isn’t enough. R.I.P. Myrtle Beach, Laughlin, Redwood Run, Street Vibrations and I am sure there is more I am not thinking of

  8. 8 Wiz Apr 29th, 2011 at 3:13 am

    The coppers yelled at me to stop a couple of times out at Sturgis last year. I don’t think so! Jus’ blew right on by! Imagine, wanting to hassle a fine, upstanding, model of quiet citizenry like myself! Go figure! Yuk-Yuk!! Wiz

  9. 9 Just my opinion Apr 29th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    John is right. After the shooting the police presents has gotten out of hand. There seems to be as many cops in laughlin as there is bikers. And the hotels make you pay for minimum of 4nights whether you need the room that long or not. And it is hotter than HELL most years. But other than that it is awesome. LOL.

  10. 10 Eric O May 1st, 2011 at 12:09 am

    If you enjoy law enforcement it’s the place to go . No boobs , no burnouts , no anything unless you want to be hasseled .

  11. 11 JK May 2nd, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Just got home from Laughlin and in my opinion it was a BUST! I will not be going back. There was not one band that I have heard of before, all the parties-bars were less than half full. Not going back for sure.

  12. 12 Jim Gianatsis / May 3rd, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I attended the Laughlin Run all day on Friday April 30th.

    As a promotoer myself who knows how to count crowds, I was encouraged to see that crowds seemed to be up a little more than when the motorcycle event attendance bottom out last year. Since many of the big hotels still had “Rooms Available” posted on their marquis signs out front, I’d guestimate actual attendance for the 2-4 day weekend was realistically around 10,000 people total.

    What was disappointing to see was how many manufacturers and builders were gone/out of business. The only one name custom builder was in attendance with his trailer display. The biggest aftermarket presence there at one casino’s front exhibitor lot was the MAG Group with Kuriaykn, Performance Machine, Progressive Suspension and Vance & Hines. There were only 3 bike manufacturers there with there demo ride trucks: Yamaha, Kawasaki and Victory. No more Harley-Davidson, Honda, Suzuki. Dal-Con Promotions filled up all the half empty empty vendor lots with 3-5 huge Official Laughlin T-Shirt sales tents in every casino front lot, which in the past years had held hundreds of builders and manufactuers.

    The ground-up custom bike market is virtually gone, or they just can’t afford the exorbitant prices to attend consumer shows any more. And no one was riding a custom bike. If you aren’t building, selling and installing bolt-on parts for stock Harleys and Metrics, you probably aren’t in business any more. I only saw 2-3 custom choppers on the street or in the bike parking lots all day, and they were in the back of pickup trucks.

    There were virtually no police on the street during the day which suprised me, though there was a police hillicopter overhead all day, and law enforcement did come out in force at night. Surprisingly the Monguls were there in force in the casinos in their colors, though signs were posted at the casino doors “No Colors Allowed”.

  13. 13 74th Street Band Dec 4th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    We played at the Avi’s Thunder on the River event during LRR last year. It was an absolute blast and we’re looking forward to playing Casino Row at this year’s event!

Comments are currently closed.
Cyril Huze