BMW MOA National Rally to Celebrate 50 Years

It would be kind of hard to find a bad road to traverse the Arkansas or Missouri Ozarks, as long as you avoid the interstates, that is. The tree-laden roads, laced with rivers, hills, valleys, and traces of Americana in its eateries and rest areas, will be the welcome paths for motorcyclists making their way across the country to one of moto’s favorite events, the BMW MOA “Wander Farther!” National Rally.

The 2022 event, slated for June 16-18 in Springfield, Missouri, will culminate with a celebration in honor of MOA’s 50th year and a salute to the BMW Slash 5 in what Chair Brian Burdette calls “the biggest BMW motorcycle family reunion in the world.”

“Fifty years is a long time, and the BMW MOA and BMW Motorrad have seen amazing changes over that time,” he writes in his welcome letter.

In 1972, BMW produced a single basic motorcycle model, the Slash 5. The bike (then priced well under $2,000) came in three displacements; 500cc, 600cc, and 750cc, Burdette said. Organizers decided to pay homage to the Slash 5 because of the critical role the bike played in advancing the BMW motorcycle line.

“We really, really encourage you to bring your Slash 5 to the Springfield Rally,” Burdette said. “Ride it if you can, trailer it if you must, but we want to have your bike there regardless of whether it’s a 10-point restoration or if it looks like it’s never seen a bath or polish since it was uncrated.”The bikes will not only provide a backdrop for the planned antique bike show, but for a seminar about the development of the Slash series.

Adventure motorcyclists can plan on camping under the trees at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, visit nearly 100 industry vendors, attend seminars, and advance moto skills at a number of courses (priced separately from general admission).

Showers, phone charging stations, and volunteer opportunities are offered, along with areas for washing your bike and changing your oil.

The full rally registration fee covers admission to the rally for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, camping, entry into door-prize drawings, eligibility for grand-prize drawings, and the BMW MOA prize bike, a 1972 Monza Blue Toaster Tank R75/5.

Burdette said this year’s “Wander Farther!” slogan honors the part of BMW riding culture and MOA philosophy that compels riders to “go just a bit farther, whether it be over that next hill or into that next time zone.”

Besides, getting there is half the fun.

“Springfield is also the birthplace of Route 66, the “Mother Road,” and there are many historic Route 66 points of interest to explore,” Burdette said. “Many consider the Ozark region to have some of the best motorcycling roads in North America.”

MOA membership is not mandatory for attendance, although members do receive an entry discount. All motorcycles are welcomed, and approximately 5,000 attendees are expected.

MOA Members: $65 |
Non-Members: $85| (417) 833-2660
Children ages 6-15: $15
Children ages five and under: No charge
Saturday-only Day Passes: $35

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Marianne Todd has been a professional photojournalist and writer since 1987. Her career began in newspapers and rapidly spread into national news magazines. Her work has been featured on the pages of Time, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, where she was nominated for Photographer of the Year International. Todd became a publisher in 2009, creating titles reflecting the music, arts, and tourism industries of the South (she still sports the accent), and her work as the official photographer for Governor Haley Barbour led her to photograph everything from Hurricane Katrina to presidential visits. Since moving to New Mexico four years ago, she has left hard news coverage to travel on her trusty BMW F 750 GS, journeying the roads of America and beyond.