Redwood Run – The Last of the Old School Biker Parties

For over 30 years, bikers have made their way to a small dot on the map in Northern California to attend what may be the last old school biker party in the country.

In early June of each year a group of some  four to five thousand bikers from all over the west, both high and low, converge on a tiny little spot on the map labeled Piercy, California for a little family get together better known to those who attend as the Redwood Run!  What is probably the very last of the real old school biker parties, the Redwood Run is more an annual reunion of close friends than a motorcycle rally.

A Little History
The idea to organize this fund raising event happened sometime in the mid-1970’s by members of the Kiwanis of the Redwood.  The very first Redwood Run planted its roots in 1977 on a small open field at French’s Camp, just a few miles south of Garberville, California.  It started out as a pretty modest gathering of bikers and slowly grew year after year.  The event was eventually moved to the Riverview Ranch property, a picturesque canyon side property in Piercy, California, just a few miles south of the original location.  Poised right on the Eel River, this new location would be the home for the annual Redwood Run for many years to come.  Many clubs and organizations helped along the way and eventually, the Redwood Run grew to the point that the Kiwanis made the decision to hand things over to a management group better suited to plan and organize the event.  The production grew even larger as did the cost and along the way the original intent of the Redwood Run was lost as there was no money left to give back to the charities the run had supported so well for so many years.  There was talk of problems and in 2010 the rumor proved to be true and the Kiwanis announced that the Redwood Run would be no more.

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But all good things don’t always come to an end and the outcry from bikers who had supported the Redwood Run for years was heard.  The Kiwanis stepped back up to the plate, took the run back, found a new location and in 2011 the Redwood Run went off without a hitch.  The new location was just a couple miles north of the Riverview Ranch and had mixed reviews but all were just happy that the Redwood Run continued on.  Maybe the biggest issue with the new location was size and because of the anticipated attendance for the 2012 run, the Kiwanis managed to negotiate a deal to bring the Redwood Run back to its long term home at Riverview Ranch.

The Redwood Run remains as it has since its humble beginnings, as a pure and simple old school biker party.  Only 2 wheeled transportation is allowed through the gate, in fact it has only been in the past decade that you could get anything through the gates other than a Harley.  This is a tent camping event, you bring in what you can strap to your bike, just like back in the day.  There are all the amenities you need to make it through the weekend, right on the grounds, so you have no real need to leave unless you choose to.  Many simply park the bike and not take another look at it until it is time to leave on Sunday.

World Class Setting
The Riverview Ranch is an absolute perfect spot for an old school biker party.  Located right on the Eel River, the location sits on a canyon side.  With plenty of large clearings or “flats” as they are called, there is plenty of open space for camping and parking.

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All those that have attended more than one year has found their favorite spot and return to it each year, making it very easy to find old friends.  A very narrow paved road encircles the grounds which makes for lots of great burnouts and biker style entertainment as bikes parade around the loop.

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 Across the Eel River is a shear stone wall that creates a natural amphitheater that amplifies the music being played throughout the Ranch.

World Class Stage
The “Pit” is where all the planned activities take place at the Redwood Run and the stage is the focal point for most of these events.  They spare no expense in making sure that bands and other activities that play and entertain at the Redwood Run have a first class platform to perform on.  It is the one piece of the Redwood Run that does not look so “old school” but certainly helps to make the party a success!

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World Class Wet T-Shirt Contest and More!
The Redwood Run plays host to a wet t-shirt contest that compares to no other.  Not filled with your typical ringers and pro-models, the gals that hit the state and entertain the crowd at the Redwood Run are bikers through and through.  All the ladies up on stage rode in like real bikers should, some even on their own.  The contest is always well attended with a couple dozen ladies volunteering to allow themselves to be doused by ice cold water to the delight of thousands of boisterous onlookers.  Lady bikers of all shapes, sizes and ages hit the stage for a no holds barred, kick ass old school wet t-shirt contest.

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The bike games also take place down in the pit, which include the typical slow race and weenie bit.  Both of these events are highly entertaining and of course, most of the ladies participating in the weenie bite contest do so in various stages of undress.  Once upon a time the run hosted a burnout contest but it’s been over a decade since the last one was held although there is rumor that they are trying to bring it back.  We’ll see what the future years hold for a sanctioned burnout contest.  The ride-in bike show is truly that as nothing gets trailered to the Redwood Run.  Bikers ride them down to the pit and line them up, bugs and all.

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World Class Biker Party
Of course bands are a major part of any good biker party and the Redwood Run does a great job in getting some known talent up on stage as well as providing opportunity for smaller and more local bands to gain some stage time and recognition.  There are plenty of great roads to ride in the area and the town of Garberville offers a few places to visit but all in all, the party is at the Riverview Ranch where most just hang out and enjoy real old school brother and sisterhood.

And while the rumors are true and there is a great deal of bare skin revealed by many who attend the Redwood Run, this is by no means what this run is about.  Unlike many of today’s adult motorcycle rallies where the focal point seems to be nudity and exhibitionism, the Redwood Run is again, an old school biker party where the ladies and men alike are their just to kick back and enjoy the freedoms that the biker lifestyle affords them in an environment free of “police protection” and societal persecution.

And so, each June, the same several thousand bikers load up the bike and hit the roads that lead them to the small little piece of property on the Eel River to visit and party with their extended biker family.  The Redwood Run is not a rally nor is it a motorcycle event, it is a pure and simple old school biker party!

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