2018 marks the second year Mt. Beautiful has sponsored Backcountry Discovery Routes ("BDR"). (See the 2017 sponsorship post here)
BDR is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization whose mission is to establish and preserve off-highway routes for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel. They work with land managers, state tourism departments and rural communities to keep backcountry roads accessible to motorcyclists.
Being an adventure rider himself and someone who values access to off highway routes, it was a no brainer for Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins to once again support the Backcountry Discovery Routes mission via a wine sponsorship.
Robert Watkins, CEO of Mt. Beautiful
In addition to extending a year round discount to BDR members for wine purchases made from the online shopping cart, Mt. Beautiful sponsors the "happy hours" and Winemaker Dinner at BDR's annual fundraiser. Each year the fundraiser is hosted at a different location within the United States. This year it was located just outside Zion National Park in Utah.
In attendance were roughly 80 male and female adventure-hungry motorcyclists ready to explore the scenic byways and off highway roads in the area. Needless to say, there were plenty of routes to explore!
The routes varied in length from 100 miles to close to 250 miles, traversing incredibly scenic areas such as the rim of the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park to name a couple.
Prior to heading out on a ride, each rider would consult with BDR's Director of Route Development, Rob Watt, to discuss the routes and load up tracks in their GPS units. Riding in a group was highly encouraged, and many were able to find their riding partners over dinner or breakfast.
Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins and Marketing Manager Suzanna Mannion participated in this year's fundraiser, trailering their dual sport bikes from Northern California to Utah. There were others in attendance who drove even farther; some hailing all the way from Maine and even the southern tip of Florida!
Robert and Suzanna were there to represent the wines of course, but also to have some fun riding their dual sport bikes, as it's a shared passion of theirs.
Keep scrolling to view additional photos from this event.
To learn more about BDR or find out ways you can support them, visit BDR's website at ridebdr.com.
Suzanna Mannion, Mt. Beautiful's Marketing Manager (who may or may not have received a lot of flack for wearing her sun hat during the lunch break on the trail).
Paul Guillien, CEO of Touratech-USA + BDR Board President (bio)
Rob Watt - BDR's Director of Route Development (bio)
Tim James, Owner of James Howard + BDR's Creative Director (bio) with Inna Thorn, BDR's Director of Operations (bio)
L to R: Ron West, BDR Supporter, Tracy Jeffries, BDR Ambassador (SheADV profile) and Sterling Noren - BDR's Cinematographer (website)
Group shot of those who have attended all five BDR spring fundraisers.
Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc had never been to Zion National Park before, so Suzanna took a bottle for a ride on her 2001 Honda XRL.
Fundraiser participants seated around the campfire swapping stories about rides they want on that day, rides they plan on doing the following day and brainstorming ways to further the BDR mission.
L to R: Court Butler (BDR Board Member (bio) + Owner of Butler Maps), Rob Watt and Shawn Lupcho (Creator of MotoSkiveez)
L to R: Eric Hougen (Owner of Wolfman Luggage) and Jeff Anderson (Co-Owner of Southwest Motorcycle Tours)
Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir was a hit at each evening's happy hour and at the Winemaker Dinner, served alongside two other Mt. Beautiful wines.
Here is Bill Whitacre raffling off a Klim helmet. He is a BDR supporter who masterfully administers their silent auction during the fundraiser weekend. In half an hour's time, they raised over $80,000!
L to R: Tracy Jeffries, Suzanna Mannion and Inna Thorn holding up the "Ride Right" campaign sign.
TR, a BDR supporter / rider and paramedic, offered an hour discussion about what he packs in his emergency medical kit as well as how to use each item.