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37th Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas Labor Day Rally - Perry Lake, Kansas

Written by  October 1, 2012

If you are a rider who traveled from anywhere east to Paradise Point at Perry Lake to attend the 37th Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas Labor Day Rally, chances are you had to endure some rain. The remnants of Hurricane Isaac had arrived in the Midwest producing a broad band of wet weather.

There was rain at the rally site overnight on Friday, but the weather for the remainder of the holiday weekend was dry and comfortable. Luckily the edge of the rainy area was around Kansas City where rain fell all day Saturday less than 50 miles to the east.

The gates opened at noon on Friday, August 1. Admission was $25 for members of A.B.A.T.E. or other motorcycle rights organizations and $35 for non-members, plus $20 for R.V.’s. When I arrived, I was greeted by Zick and several other friends who had made the ride down from Washington, Iowa. Also joining the group were Mouse and Rhonda from my old stomping grounds in Dodge City. I enjoyed hanging out with these friends all weekend when I wasn’t busy photographing various rally activities.

The ground had been so dry that Friday night’s rain soaked in quickly and had little effect on the Saturday field events. The only adjustments required were starting an hour later than scheduled and orienting the field south-to-north rather than the usual east-to-west. Contests included slow race, balloon toss, weenie bite, tire toss, potato pick-up (using tennis balls instead), keg push, and tire drags. Nice plaques were awarded for first and second place in each event. The 5-man shuffle was the only “pedestrian” event and gave the contestants a chance to display their teamwork and coordination while walking in unison with their feet strapped to long planks.

Judges for Sunday’s bike show had a difficult task with so many cool sleds in the competition. First and second place plaques were presented for Antique, American, Asian, Classic, Custom, Rat, Sportster, Touring, Trike, People’s Choice, and Best of Show. Photographers who lined up ladies to pose on some of the show bikes had to work around large crowds of spectators and other photographers, professional and amateur.

Other entertainment on the schedule included live music with Revolver, Final Drive, and Southern Reign on Friday, The Breeze, Double Vision, Change of Heart, and Josh Vowell & The Rumble on Saturday, and The Dry White Toast Band, James Wesley, and Shawn Ward on Sunday. Laurie Frank presented her comedy act on Saturday and Sunday.

Unofficial entertainment was provided by ladies participating in a constant parade, cruising through the campground on motorcycles or quads collecting beads in exchange for brief (or sometimes prolonged) views of anatomical features normally not exposed in public places. Some of those features were enhanced with body paint applied by an airbrush artist. Some were otherwise enhanced.

A good selection of vendors had merchandise or food to sell to the bikers. The dunk tank was a popular attraction, and the beer tent was a popular gathering place.

As they do every year, the A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas volunteers worked around the clock performing all of the up-front and behind-the-scenes tasks required to put on a major motorcycle rally. My friends and I all had a great time and look forward to doing it again next year.

Article and photos by Stripe


Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at