Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

21st Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa Freedom Rally

Written by  August 31, 2005

The members of A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa really know how to put on a great rally, and they do it every year during the Independence Day holiday weekend at their 140-acre Freedom Park about 7 miles northeast of Algona, Iowa. It’s always a wild party with great music, more than forty vendors, and a wide variety entertaining events. Bands performing at this year’s rally included Midnight Express, 2 for 1 Band, Mindy Gunn, Crow, Porkchop, Andy Durand & Jeff Mark, 2 Brickshy, Tantrum 2 Blind, Mark Jungers & the Whistling Mules, Great White, Geneva, Ernie Peniston Band, House of Cards, Buffalo Alice, the Magnificent Board of Directors, Eric Sardinas, and Cottonmouth. Ongoing activities included arm wrestling, mechanical bull riding (clothing optional), smoking the tires in the burnout pit, and beer drinking at $2 a pop. Single admission fee was $40 and $60 for members and non-members, respectively. Couples admission cost $60 and $95. Sunday-only passes were available for $30. These are reasonable prices for a lot of entertainment.

The bike rodeo, featuring slow ride, keg roll, wienie bite, ball snatch, plank ride, and tire toss competition, began at 1:00 Saturday afternoon. Thanks to lots of participants and a well-organized staff, the audience and competitors had a great time. For the second consecutive rally, I had excellent luck in recruiting a partner. Terry from Minnesota was kind enough to let me borrow Darla to compete in the two-up events. She was a beginner, but did well enough to earn us a couple of plaques. With lots of friends in the crowd, Darla had her own cheering section. Her “fan club” gained even more members when she was persuaded to go topless during the wienie bite competition.

At the conclusion of the rodeo, it was time to head for the main stage where the formal opening ceremonies took place at 4:00 p.m. Attendees were welcomed by A.B.A.T.E. State Coordinator Steve Rector and local dignitaries including Algona’s mayor and Chamber of Commerce director and a V.F.W. representative. The rally committee was recognized and received a well-deserved round of applause. Then the stage was turned over to Moody and his team of water pourers for the traditional “cool-down” that is Algona’s version of a wet T-shirt contest, held each afternoon during the rally. Beer boxes were circulated through the crowd to collect donations resulting in a huge pile of cash to be divided among the top three contestants in two classes, “Sportster” and “Big Twin.” Before long the stage was filled with uninhibited ladies who did their best to capture the attention of the audience with a display of dance moves and bare skin.

At the end of the competition I had a chance to visit with one of the contestants who
agreed to an interview on the condition of anonymity. Her name is not Emily.

CC: What made you decide to enter the “cool down” contest? Did you plan ahead or was it a spur of the moment decision?
Emily: I planned to enter it ahead of time. I saw it in Algona last year and thought it would be a lot of fun.

CC: Were you surprised at the number of contestants?
Emily: Not really. Bike rallies tend to bring the wild out of people.

CC: How did you place and how much did you win?
Emily: I placed 3rd and won $170

CC: Was it a good experience and will you enter again next year?
Emily: I had a blast and definitely plan to enter next year!

CC: I couldn’t help but notice you and your guy riding through the campground in the nude. Please comment on that experience.
Emily: We’re known for our exhibitionism and we can’t let our reputation down. It is too much fun!

CC: You were in lots of photos. Are you worried about people seeing them on the Internet?
Emily: Not really.

CC: What’s the reaction of your family and friends with regard to your exhibitionism? How about your boss?
Emily (with a sly smile): Shhhhhhh. . . .some don’t know.

CC: What was your overall impression of the rally?
Emily: It is such a good time! The people are really nice. I plan to return for more fun next year.

CC: Me too!

There is a lot to see at the Freedom Rally. The beautiful avenue of flags always inspires patriotism. This year the Iowa Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was on display all weekend. In the vendor area, Tracy Daniels of Get a Woody demonstrated his ability to produce awesome sculptures using a chain saw. P.B. Choppers and Kickass Kustoms had some very cool custom motorcycles on display. The Iowa natives from Performance Barn, Inc. were proud to show off their “Yellow Monster” bike that was featured on the cover of the July, 2005, issue of Biker.

It’s not just the events that make a rally enjoyable; it’s the people. I enjoyed spending time with friends I had met as previous rallies as well as folks from my home area who made the trip. My buddy J.O.
and I somehow managed to get together in the crowd during one of the night concerts. We were in contact by cell phone, but the crowd was so thick and the music so loud, it was not an easy rendezvous. Janis Consolver rode from St. Joseph, Missouri, with her husband Rick and several friends. I was pleased to have the chance to visit with Janis, a new rider, about her first lengthy road trip on her own bike.

CC: What made you decide to attend a wild and crazy event like this?
Janis: When I was invited to ride to Algona, I was a little leery because of all of the stories I had heard. I thought it might be like going to a nudist camp and being the only one with clothes on! But I love doing something totally different and stepping “out of the box.” This trip was a lot like that, and it was a lot of fun. Let’s say I didn’t get sunburned in normally hidden places like some girls did, but I enjoyed watching everyone having so much fun.

CC: How was the ride up?
Janis: I earned a new nickname, “Ninety mile-an-hour Janis.” I got that handle while trying to keep up with “Hundred mile-an-hour Bob.” He asked me how fast I felt comfortable riding, and I said seventy, so we did that plus some. I saw ninety a couple of times while passing cars. I even passed a guy on a Harley. That made me feel pretty cool! Taking on a weekend round trip of nearly a thousand miles on my new Sporty has also build some additional confidence in my riding abilities. I’m ready for the next long ride to Branson in August. Heck, I may even ride to Sturgis so I can get the “I rode mine” patch. It’s a really good time whenever you are around bikers--young or old, clothed or otherwise.

CC: Any advice for other women who are thinking about becoming motorcycle riders?
Janis: I would encourage any woman that is thinking about learning to ride or getting a bike of her own to give up that monthly nail and pedicure appointment and spend the money on a bike payment instead. You’ll feel just as “hot.” The guys will be more impressed with you on a bike than with those pretty nails. I do my own nails now!

CC: Thanks, Janis. I’m glad to hear that you and your group are enjoying the rally.

Other than a little rain on Sunday morning, the weather was much better than it had been the previous year. The events on Sunday’s schedule included sled pulls and a tattoo contest. I hooked up with some friends for the ride back to Kansas City to close out another terrific Independence Day weekend. My hat’s off to the many A.B.A.T.E. volunteer workers whose dedication and hard work make the Freedom Rally possible. Special thanks to Jim “Viper” Benford for the hospitality and assistance in providing information for this article. Also, thanks to Perry Hoemann for the photo he contributed.

Story and Photos by Stripe