Skip to main content

Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Six residents are asking Durango to withhold a parade permit for the annual Labor Day Iron Horse Motorcycle Rally. The county and the cities of Durango and Ignacio have little to say about the rally because the tribe is the official host. The rally's main venue is Sky Ute Downs in Ignacio, at least through 2005. This year's rally drew about 30,000, eight years after Harley-riding U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., helped launch it. The rally swamps tiny Ignacio's 845 residents and nearly doubles the population of La Plata County for a few days. "All the revenues go to the rally and the tribe. But the town's official position has been to coordinate and cooperate until there's a big ground swell of opposition from local people," Ignacio Town Manager Balty Quintana said. The nonprofit rally, which has raised more than $400,000 for charity since 1993, has had to start compensating its busy board members and hire a full-time manager. Judy Sumption of Sturgis, S.D., said about 700,000 bikers attend the 60-year-old rally there in early August. "The town pretty much shuts down for the regular citizen. But I don't think the town could ever stop the rally if it wanted to. The people would still come.''