Thunder Valley Rally

Cottonwood, AZ

Story and Photos by Koz Mraz. 38 Special photos by Vyto Starinskas. 


Thunder Valley Rally held this year on September 20-21 in Cottonwood, Arizona, has everything.  The amazing riding through the Highway 89A twisties from Prescott to Jerome or Sedona is downright spectacular.  The fifteen restaurants and wine tasting rooms in Old Town Cottonwood offer everything from burgers and beer to fine dining.  Gayle’s Chocolatier and Violette’s Bakery, The Patisserie is perfect for your sweet tooth.  And Riverfront Park is an excellent space for concerts and vendors.  In a world of crowded, over-blown motorcycle rallies, Thunder Valley Rally feels like a party with friends.

Attendance is generally around ten thousand and fills Riverfront Park perfectly.  Riding with the thunder of bikes from the park to Historic Old Town Cottonwood feels like you’re on the movie set of “The Wild One.”  The local shops and restaurants were all open for business with “Welcome Bikers” signs. This city knows how to put on a successful motorcycle rally. Security was present but almost invisible.

The several hotels in Old Town sell out far in advance of the event. There are tons of options in Cottonwood and the surrounding cities. Add AirBnB and the camping that was available right there at the event, and lodging is never a problem.

The long list of vendors merged with riders from California, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. It seems that Cottonwood is centrally located and easily accessible by motorcyclists.

Miss Crash Mama (Desirea Happel) was chosen as the 2019 TVR Pinup Girl. The competition took place at the Main Stage Bar in Cottonwood. The winners were announced on stage just before the main act and the new Miss TVR 2019 was crowned.

I loved that there was music everywhere, all the time. There was a long list of acts over the two days on the main stage. There was also music on stage at the poker run end stop, and in many of the bars and restaurants in Old Town.

The band Mogollon warmed up the audience before 38 Special, and they really know how to rock the house and get the crowd going.  38 Special was the highlight of the event, rockin’ the crowd with all their signature hits.  With twelve albums and twenty million in gold and platinum-selling albums, the crowd was dancing and singing to their songs all night.

Although there was no “official” bike show, “Kozmos Choice“ deemed this 2012 Road King, owned by Jason Henrichsen, the winner of the 2019 Thunder Valley Rally King of the Road award.

Anyone who has attended the Thunder Valley Rally will probably agree that bang for buck,  it may very well be the friendliest, most hassle-free  motorcycle event in Arizona.

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