Waynoka is a sleepy little town with a population just under 1,000 in north central Oklahoma, but each year during the weekend after Easter, the population increases dramatically. Hordes of rattlesnake hunters, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, and bikers converge on Waynoka making it a beehive of activity and a great weekend destination. Since I lived in southwest Kansas for many years, it’s a great opportunity for me to get together with old riding buddies.
There are a couple of motels in town and more in nearby Alva and Woodward, but most of the off-roaders camp out at the Little Sahara, and most of the motorcyclists occupy the city park. The small downtown area is closed to traffic other than motorcycles which park Sturgis-style at the curbs and in the middle of the street. There is a carnival for the kids, and vendors sell everything from Harley t-shirts to snakeskin hatbands.
A mid-morning departure on Friday allowed me to complete the 350-mile ride in plenty of time to pitch my tent at my favorite spot next to the basketball court (temporary motorcycle parking lot) in the park. After getting set up, I spent the remainder of the day visiting with friends and taking pictures. Sleep is not easy to come by at the park. First there are the usual noises associated with rowdy bikers. Then there are the trains. The park is located right beside a busy rail line, and trains roar by with whistles blaring at least every 20 minutes 24/7.
I spent Saturday morning at the dunes and the afternoon at the rodeo grounds. The evening was split between more fireside storytelling and partying at Harley’s Neon Moon bar. There was a spirited burnout contest on the patio at the bar. There was to be a wet t-shirt contest at the bar sometime Saturday night, but my patience ran out before that event was staged. I heard distant hooting, whistling, and hollering late that night, so I’m assuming that the contest did take place.
There wasn’t much on the schedule for Sunday, so I got up early and packed the Wide Glide for the trip home. The wind had blown steadily all weekend, and it seemed to save its strongest gusts for those times when it was a direct crosswind. With the increased profile and high center of gravity due to my baggage, it was all I could do at times just to stay in my lane. Fighting the crosswind made the trip pretty tiring, but at least there was no rain. It was a great weekend and definitely worth the trip!
This year was the 58th anniversary of the Waynoka Snake Hunt organized by the Waynoka Saddle Club.
The Little Sahara State Park, located just south of Waynoka, has 1,600 acres of dunes up to 80 feet tall.
The biker rodeo, put on by ABATE NW #69, is always the highlight of my Waynoka trip.