Annual ‘River Run’ motorcycle rally cruises down FM 170

Manuela Pando joined the annual “River Run to the Post” motorcycle rally on Saturday. Staff photo by Sam Karas.

PRESIDIO — On Saturday, the Presidio Trading Post kicked off their eighth year in business with their annual “River Run” motorcycle rally. Around two dozen bikers participated, taking in the breathtaking scenery of the road between Presidio and Terlingua — as well as a fiesta and a spread of home cooking to cap off an epic day. 

The rally is a triple threat: a celebration of local bike culture, the Post’s loyal customers, and of Mexican Independence Day, which fell on a Saturday this year. The ride itself is also called the “Poker Run” by its participants — riders can register before the event to take part in a game of poker, which plays out stop by stop along the scenic route. 

The River Run has been an annual event since 2016 — a handful of the Post’s first customers were avid bikers, and owner Rafa Carerra had recently gotten into the wild world of motorcycles as well. For their grand opening event, Carerra and his friends decided to celebrate by cruising to Terlingua and back —  the rest is history. 

While around half of the crew consisted of full-time locals, the event also draws riders from all over the region. Nellie and Raul Pando, who have roots in Ojinaga and Presidio, came all the way from Midland to take part. 

For the Pandos, the scenery along the open road is just part of what makes biking so magical. “It’s about the people,” Raul said. “And, also, making new friends.” 

Lalo Valles and Betty Lara came all the way from Camargo — about two hours south of Chihuahua City — to become part of the River Run family. 

Getting to ride has been a longtime dream of Valles, who picked up the hobby four years ago. That hobby quickly spiraled into a full-time obsession. Just before the River Run, Lara and Valles had just gotten off a 15-day trip to Phoenix to see a Metallica concert, covering over 300 miles across Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. 


Riding that many miles in a short span of time takes a toll on the body, but Valles said the sense of freedom and the sights along the way made being a little saddle sore worth it. 

He’s also quickly learned that being a biker means having to be self-sufficient — to have all the tools and the knowledge to make repairs by the side of the road. Working on motorcycles is a skill of its own, even for those handy under the hood of a car. “It has all of the same parts but in a very small space,” he said. 

Valles said that he goes to rallies in his native Mexico, but that the scenery is what makes the River Run — particularly the big climb up Santana Mesa halfway through the route — stand out from the rest. “It’s a very, very nice road,” he said.