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40th Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas Labor Day Rally-Perry Lake, Kansas

Written by  September 20, 2015

Dates for the 40th Annual Labor Day Rally hosted by A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas at scenic Perry Lake were September 4 through 7. Paradise Point, located on the east side of the lake far to the north, is a great location with an abundance of shaded camping. There were several new features this year including a vendor area, beer garden, and a day stage behind the showers, a zip line, and wrestling.

As always, live music was featured every evening on the main stage. Friday’s bands were Stoned Ground Rock, Chris Duarte, and Dust & Rust. On Saturday, Southern Reign, Nigel Dupree, and Jackson Taylor & the Sinners performed. Last Chance Flight, The Schwag, and Shawn Ward entertained on Sunday. Day stage bands included Black Water, Swift Kick, Lucky Bastards, Water Dog Nation, Blazing Mojo, and Empire. Night time entertainment also included 11 p.m. beauty contests (clothing optional) on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the outstanding features of the Labor Day Rally is the Motorcycle Olympics presented by A.B.A.T.E. District 5. Competitors paid $5 per event entered or $15 for all. A large crowd of spectators gathered to watch the games beginning at noon. The weather was dry and warm, perfect for a full afternoon of competition. Very nice plaques were awarded for first and second place in slow race, weenie bite, tire toss, potato (tennis ball, actually) pick-up, keg push, tire drags, and barrel race. The “potato” pick-up was particularly competitive with two teams making multiple perfect runs. Both teams began employing hilarious antics (including nudity) in the attempt to distract their opponents (to no avail). Finally it became necessary to add the element of time to determine the winning team. A non-motorcycle event with no entry fee was the 5-man shuffle with teams of five men and/or women with their feet strapped to long boards attempted to walk in a coordinated manner toward the finish line. If this sounds easy, just try it sometime. There were lots of falls and some exciting come-from-behind round wins.

The Olympics concluded with a new event, mini-bike racing over a course defined by barrels at both ends of the rodeo area. There were a 3-lap heat race and a 5-lap feature. Although there were a few minor glitches, the games were very entertaining and were completed in time for spectators to migrate to the area where the A.B.A.TE. Anarchy wrestling began at 4:00 p.m.  

Sunday morning’s bike show began at 10:30, again conducted by Tony and the hard-working volunteers from District 5. The entry fee was $10 with awards in the following classes: Sportster, American, Metric Sport, Metric Cruiser, Custom, Classic, Antique, Rat, Touring, Trike, and Small/Mini. There were also awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice. The Touring Class winner owned by Dave Stracke was also selected by the judges as Best in Show.

Following the bike show were dirt drag races put on by A.B.A.T.E. District 11 starting at 2:00 p.m. There were classes for bikes with street tires as well as those with knobbies or paddle tires. There was also an open class competition for all types of vehicles (motorcycles, quads, dune buggies, etc.) Blasting off the starting line, the bikes kicked up some spectacular rooster tails. It was great entertainment.

Throughout the weekend, I enjoyed hanging out with buddies who make the trip from eastern Iowa every year. Friends from my old stomping grounds in Dodge City were good company as well. Also there for the weekend were Cycle Connections photographer Doc Lonnie Blum and his friend Melissa. Editor Mike joined us for several hours during the day on Saturday. In addition to all of the events, there was time to browse at the many vendor booths in both locations, hang out at the beer tent, or sit by the roads and people/bike-watch. A couple of Christian motorcyclist groups were set up to provide free water, tea, and lemonade to thirsty bikers. A drawing was held at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday for a $10,000 grand prize. Some rain moved in Sunday night, but otherwise the weather was great all weekend.

According to the organization’s website, A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas is a non-profit lobbyist organization whose purpose is to “foster, promote, and encourage safe motorcycling in the State of Kansas and elsewhere. To engage in educational programs and other promotional activities in order to educate the public as to motorcycle safety and motorcycling in general. To encourage and stimulate public interest in motorcycling and to be an advocate for the interests of motorcyclists and motorcycling.” We encourage our readers to join and/or support the motorcyclist rights organization where they live.

We appreciate the countless hours worked by dedicated A.B.A.T.E. volunteers to prepare for and put on the rally. For this year’s event, members of A.B.A.T.E. or other motorcycle rights organizations were admitted for $25 and non-members paid $40. An additional $20 was charged for recreational vehicles, campers, and all-terrain vehicles. Members of the military were eligible for a discount. The Perry Lake Labor Day Rally is always an event that is more than worth the price of admission. We look forward to the 41st.

Photos by Stripe and Doc Lonnie

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 stripe@cycleconnections.com