The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jul. 10, 2020

Rally in the Corn organizers provide info

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Rally in the Corn organizers CJ Van Wart (left) and Tony DiLalla talk about their event, to be held June 14-17 at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Everything is big in Texas, including an idea a couple of Texans have for a classy motorcycle rally in Van Wert this summer.

C.J. Van Wart, a descendent, he has said, of the Revolutionary War hero for whom Van Wert is named, and Tony DiLalla, co-organizers of the Rally in the Corn coming to the Van Wert County Fairgrounds June 14-17, talked about the event they’re bringing to Van Wert during a news conference held Friday in the Fair Administration Building.

DiLalla told biker magazine Thunder Roads Ohio that it was nice to do something in rural Ohio. “I’m excited about the opportunity to bring a large rally to the west edge of Ohio,” he said. “Plus, it’s a great ride to Van Wert, no matter where you’re coming from.”

Activities planned for the event, which will include three days for those 21 and over and a Family Day on Sunday, June 17, include live entertainment from local and not so local bands, food vendors and exhibitors, a custom bike show, a tattoo competition, a $10,000 one-chance giveaway, a stunt show and world record ATV jump attempt by Ohio City native Henry “The Pit Bull” Rife, and a poker run.

Van Wart answered a concern raised during the news conference about why three of the four days of the event are for those 21 and older, noting that he felt having young children on the grounds while beer is being sold by several vendors is not appropriate.

“Kids and beer don’t mix,” Van Wart noted, adding that only one beer vendor will be on the grounds on Sunday and that will be a very controlled situation.

Family Day events include a Country band, a church service and “Blessing of the Bikes” and kid-friendly activities and games.

Prices for the event have also been priced with the economy in mind, DiLalla said, noting that advance tickets for all four days are $30 at Discount Drug Marts and only $5 more at the gate. Tickets for the biggest day of the rally, Saturday, are going for $20 in advance ($25 at the gate), while adults can attend Sunday’s Family Day event for $5, with children under 12 getting in free.

There will also be 1,200 available spots for recreational vehicles, and a free primitive camping area will also be available, with the option of an electrical hook-up for $15. Both organizers say they feel motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country will attend the rally, which will be similar to one the two men have held in Houston, Texas.

In addition to developing a great line-up of events, Van Wart and DiLalla have also lined up a list of sponsors for the rally. Sponsors include a number of Harley-Davidson dealers (several based in Ohio) and national companies such as Budweiser, Playboy Energy Drink, and Original Spirits. Regional RV dealer Tom Raper is also a sponsor.

Van Wart also expressed his wish during the news conference that the rally be a moneymaker for the community as well as organizers, and that it turn into an annual event.

“I want nothing more than for this event to be successful for everybody involved,” he said, while DiLalla said the event would be clean and customer-oriented.

“There are two things CJ and I believe in: customer service and cleanliness,” DiLalla told those at the news conference. “We didn’t want to bring in or change anything, or do anything that wasn’t true to Van Wert.”

Several local officials, including Van Wert Mayor Don Farmer, who read a proclamation created for the Rally in the Corn; County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger; and several fair officials, were also on hand to add their support for the upcoming event.

Among the most enthusiastic was Fair Manager Denis Ellinger, who said his biggest concern is that the event will grow so much that it will eventually be snapped up by a larger community.

“…that’s my concern, that we’re going to lose this in a couple of years; it’s going to be too darn big,” Ellinger noted.

All of those involved were also complimentary of the job Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Larry Lee has done in bringing new events to the community. Lee received applause from all those who attended the news conference for his efforts.

In addition to providing information on the rally, organizers also were looking for volunteers to help with set up and operation of the four-day event.

For more information on the motorcycle rally, go to the event’s website at

POSTED: 04/28/12 at 7:03 am. FILED UNDER: News