Rides, Rallies and Events Recap


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 

Oklahoma Bike Week at Sparks America Campground ran from June 19 through 29. Doc Lonnie Blum and I decided to make the trip from Missouri to Sparks on Thursday, June 26. After checking in and setting up camp, we headed for the “playground” area that is the center of many of the rally’s activities. A couple of major changes were immediately apparent. The sound system is now controlled from a tower in front of the stage instead of from a cubbyhole at the side. The stage has been rebuilt and is now two stages in one, separated by a wall in the center. That facilitates having the equipment for the musical entertainment separated from other on-stage activities.


On July 4 the sport of motorcycle racing returned to Dodge City, Kansas, on a very small track but in a very big way. When the organizers of the Dodge City 300 Centennial celebration began drafting their schedule of events, it was only natural that racing would be included. Initially, the plan was for the competition to take place on the 1/8-mile clay oval at Dodge City Raceway Park, but a scheduling conflict developed with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, so an alternative location was required. After some imaginative planning, it was decided that the Dodge City Roundup rodeo arena could be adapted for a short track racing event. Hay bales were laid out in an oval pattern to mark the inside of the racing surface, and more bales were set up to keep the competitors separated from the steel fences around the arena perimeter. The surface was soft and sandy, and the term “flat track” racing was never more appropriate since there was no banking at all. It was a unique setup to test the considerable skills and adaptability of the racers.

A century ago, Dodge City, Kansas, was the site of a world championship 300-mile motorcycle race on a 2-mile dirt oval on the northeast corner of town. The field included motorcycles manufactured by Indian, Thor, Excelsior, Pope, Flying Merkel, Harley-Davidson, and others. The race, sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcycles, took almost 4-1/2 hours to complete with speeds reaching nearly 100 miles per hour. The winner was factory Indian rider Glen “Slivers” Boyd. Bill Brier finished second on a Thor, and Carl Goudy came in third aboard an Excelsior. Dodge City racing continued for many years, but was suspended during times of war. Later championship racing moved on to other locations and shorter tracks. Races sponsored by the Jackpine Gypsies became the nucleus for South Dakota’s famous motorcycle rally at Sturgis.

Rain during the morning of June 7 hurt the attendance at the 12th Annual Ride for Ryan at St. Joseph, Missouri. Still, many riders suited up in their rain gear and headed for St. Joe Harley-Davidson for the ride to honor the memory of Ryan Consolver who lost his life on August 11, 2002, at the age of 24 in a motorcycle accident in North Kansas City. Funds raised by the event are used for a scholarship fund dedicated to students who, as Ryan did, have chosen to pursue careers in the construction industry. This year 19 students received scholarships from the fund. The 12-year total amounts to more than $130,000. There were 105 bikes in the ride this year, and about $35,000 was contributed.

Blue Springs Harley-Davidson in Blue Springs, Missouri, was the starting and ending point for the 8th Annual Wheels for a Cure ride on June 14. Riders each donated at least $25 and passengers $10 with the proceeds going to ArtBra KC, an organization whose, “mission is to uniquely celebrate breast cancer survivors and provide funding for Kansas City area organizations that provide life-empowering services to uninsured and underinsured individuals who have been touched by cancer.” According to the organization’s website, “Missys’ Boutique Patient In Need Fund at The University of Kansas Hospital in The Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion and the new cancer appearance center at the The Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Center at Truman Medical Center are accredited appearance centers dedicated to helping patients overcome obstacles with dignity and style. These centers offer services and select products designed just for cancer patients and survivors – to help them through their cancer journey.  ArtBra KC is a major benefactor of Missys’ Boutique, named in memory of Melissa Malter Newell and Ann Wilcox O’Neill, both affectionately known as Missy.” Each year, the organization hosts an auction event featuring work-of-art bras, and the models are breast cancer survivors. Much more information is available on the Art Bra KC website.

Sunday, May 4, 2014 was a beautiful day, and as the 25th Annual Bikers With a Mission Ride was winding down, I decided to give Cycle Connections Editor Mike Schweder a call to see how things were going at Reno’s Powersports KC. He informed me that plenty of people had come out to take advantage of the opportunity to test ride their demo ride fleet of Can-Am Spyders. Since it was a relatively short ride to Reno’s, I decided to head that way and possibly take a Spyder for a spin. Since I had not pre-registered, I would have to wait a couple of hours for an opening. Mike had already left due to a prior commitment; however, there were lots of other folks around to chat with, and I had the opportunity to take some photos of the Spyder fleet while others were riding, so I decided to sign up and wait my turn.

The party that annually marks the beginning of the prime riding season in the Midwest is Gailapalooza. The 2014 event was the 8th hosted by Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri and took place on Saturday, April 12.

The 25th Annual Bikers with a Mission Ride to raise funds for the City Union Mission took place on Sunday, May 4. The ride began at the mission as usual, but there were numerous changes from the way the event has been conducted in recent years. There were no outdoor activities at the mission, so the familiar large tent was missing from the parking lot.

The 54th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels Show drew big crowds of auto and motorcycle enthusiasts to Kansas City’s Bartle Hall during the weekend of February 14-16. A special added attraction at the show every year is the All-American Motorcycle Show presented by Gail’s Harley-Davidson .

If you frequently or even occasionally ride in traffic, it is a safe bet that there has been a time when another motorist has done something that made you angry. Maybe you were being followed too closely. Perhaps you were forced into another lane or even onto the shoulder of the highway. The natural reaction in such situations is to instantly become very angry at the person who seems to have so little regard for your well-being. The way you deal with your anger could become a matter of life or death.

Several years ago, I was riding with a small group of friends on a two-lane highway with a very narrow shoulder. As we approached an intersection, a car came from a country road on our left and turned onto the highway ahead of us. All of the riders in the group had to brake heavily to avoid rear-ending the vehicle. At that point, none of us was holding that driver in high esteem. The leader of our group (I’ll refer to him as Sam, not his real name) apparently decided that, due to his position at the front of the pack, it was incumbent upon him to express our joint disapproval to the offending motorist. Sam passed the car with pipes roaring and then slowed down to make sure the driver got a clear view of the gesture that was intended to convey our disdain for that idiot’s driving skill or lack thereof. For emphasis, he turned in the seat in an effort to glare at the driver. In the heat of the moment, Sam had failed to notice that the road curved sharply to the left just ahead. By the time my friend had both hands back on the bars and his eyes back on the road, rage instantly gave way to panic as his motorcycle transitioned from pavement to grass. Through a combination of riding skill and incredible luck, our group leader managed to avoid crashing his motorcycle. This event happened very quickly, but the lesson I learned from it will stay with me as long as I ride. Anger has no place on a motorcycle!

Aggressive and inattentive drivers are everywhere. As a motorcyclist, be prepared for even more exposure to their unpredictable behavior than you experience in your car. As amazing as it may seem, aggressive drivers tailgate motorcycles just as closely as cars. Don’t they realize that the same following distance that often results in a fender bender with the car ahead can be deadly in the case of a motorcycle? My friend Mike (his real name, used with permission) tells of an experience he had a few years ago with a tailgater. Mike and his girlfriend were in an unfamiliar area riding on a two-lane highway at about dusk when a car came up behind them and began following at a distance that was much too close for comfort. Both Mike and his girlfriend repeatedly made gestures to try to get the driver to either pass or back off but to no avail. What would you do in this situation? Mike decided to flip a coin, actually several. He reached into his pocket for a handful of coins and tossed them over his shoulder. He could hear clinks and tings as the loose change found its target. The car’s headlights soon faded in the distance. Mike says he knows a biker who always keeps a few small ball bearings in his pocket to casually drop on the highway in front of a tailgater. He calculates that they will bounce high enough to get the attention of an offending motorist. These approaches, although sometimes effective, are NOT recommended! Remember, the other driver could be armed!

Lane changes that force a motorcyclist to take evasive action are often due to carelessness but are sometimes due to the bike being in one of the other vehicle’s blind spots, sometimes referred to as the “no zone.” Shortly after I got my driver’s license, I was driving on a family trip to Arizona to visit my sister. On a four-lane highway somewhere in New Mexico, I glanced at the rear view mirror, signaled, and pulled into the left lane to pass a slower vehicle. After I returned to the right lane, a motorcycle pulled up beside me. The rider glared at me for a moment and then blasted on past. I realized that I must have cut him off, but I had not seen him at all. I had no intention of endangering that rider. Obviously I should have been more careful, checking the rear view mirror more frequently and looking over my shoulder before pulling out. I was sorry it happened, but it was too late to do anything about it other than to be more careful in the future. I have a feeling that most of us motorcyclists have had a careless moment or two when driving our cars and possibly have crowded a motorcycle.

Each year in the United States, there are more than 300 “road rage” incidents that result in serious injuries or fatalities. Over 1,200 incidents are reported annually. Here are a few points to consider in order to avoid becoming a statistic:

1. Avoid aggressive motorcycling. Ride with courtesy in order to avoid triggering aggressiveness in the drivers around you.

2. Avoid placing your motorcycle in a situation that is likely result in a road rage incident. Avoiding the “no zone” will dramatically reduce the likelihood of your being cut off or forced to take evasive action.

3. Remember that it’s quite likely that the motorist didn’t intentionally put you in danger. Motorcycles are easily overlooked. Give others the benefit of the doubt.

4. Be aware that a calm rider is a lot safer than an angry one. If you let your anger get the best of you, you may put yourself in a situation worse than the one that made you angry.

5. Anger can be contagious. The driver that ticked you off could be a psychopath with a gun. At the very least, he has at his disposal a 3,600-pound, 4-wheeled battering ram. Let it go.

6. No form of revenge or “special recognition” will change anything that happened. It just makes things worse. It has often been said that two wrongs don’t make a right. If your rage causes an accident, the fact that someone angered you will not be much of a defense in court.

In conclusion, I encourage you do your best to keep your temper under control when you ride. You'll be a lot safer, and so will those around you.


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