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33rd Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa Freedom Rally - Algona, Iowa

Written by  October 23, 2017

The 33rd Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa Freedom Rally took place at Freedom Park near Algona, Iowa, on June 29 and 30 and July 1.  Thursday was my travel day and a great day to be on a motorcycle.  I had missed this rally for the last few years due to schedule conflicts and was really excited to be back. 

Arrangements had been made to rendezvous with friends from Washington, Iowa, and Dodge City, Kansas in the RV area.  One of my friends had brought his conversion van pulling a trailer loaded with his motorcycle and a generator.  We expected to have electricity to power his C.P.A.P. machine and mine, among other things, but the plan ran into a snag when the generator defied all of our efforts to get it running.  We were fortunate to have Joe from Minnesota for a neighbor.  He was kind enough to run a long extension cord from his motor home to provide power for us.  Thanks, Joe.  I didn’t arrive early enough to get in on the scheduled Thursday activities that included sled pulls, duck races, biker games, opening ceremonies, and the famous cool down contest.  Thursday’s musical entertainment included Rukkus, The Jimmys, The Goddesses of Rock, and Taint’d.

First thing Friday morning, the event’s media director Eric Ross provided a tour of the facilities, loading Mouse, Zick, and I into his four-wheeler.  There is a 160- by 260-foot slab that was put in for Rider’s Ed courses that are frequently held there.  It comes in handy for car and truck parking during the rally.  There is also currently vacant land that will be used in the future to expand tent and RV camping.  We appreciated the tour.

People gathered at the rodeo grounds to watch the sled pull, but they were disappointed.  A storm had blown through during the night and had left the field much too wet for pulling.  The event was postponed until later in the day.  Other events on the morning schedule were the Run to the Grotto and Bike Blessing and duck races.

The bike rodeo began at 1:00 p.m. in the open area near the main stage.  The events included a plank ride, slow race, keg roll, tennis ball pick-up, weenie bite, and balloon toss.  There was also a contest I had not seen before.  As the bike rolled over a short distance, the passenger had to leave her top on but remove her bra and hang it on a hook.  There were several couples who successfully completed the task, so the distance was shortened until a winner was determined.   Nice trophies were awarded to the top three in each event.

At 4:00 p.m. the daily cool down contest took place on the main stage.  There are really two contests, as the ladies who enter are divided into “Sportster” and “Big Twin” classes.  Moody is still the emcee for the event having unsuccessfully tried to retire a few years ago.  It’s like a wet T-shirt contest with the pourers dousing the ladies, filling their pitchers from barrels of ice cold water.  The T-shirts don’t stay on long, and many of the contestants shed their remaining clothing as well.  The top three in each class are rewarded with cash donated from the appreciative audience.  The day’s music was provided by Iron Cowgirl Missy, Dustin Bogue, and Chris Janson.

Between events, I always enjoy walking around Freedom Park where the rally has been held since 2002 having moved from Humboldt.  I was fortunate to encounter Phil McCormick, Dean Shawler, and Amy Irene White.  I hitched a ride in their four-wheeler and had a very enjoyable conversation.

 I missed Saturday’s ride-in bike show, but arrived at the food court in time to get a good spot to photograph the tattoo contest that was a big enough deal to rate a separate article.  Other Saturday attractions included more duck races and wrestling put on by the Micro Wrestling Federation.  There was another 4 p.m. cool down contest with the wrestlers helping out as pourers and having a ball.  Saturday’s main stage bands were Iron Cowgirl Missy, Jasmine Cain, Hairball, and Jammer.  Also on the schedule were a Fire Eating & Hoop Show (that I missed) and fireworks. 

Helicopter rides and dyno runs were available all during the rally.  There were plenty of vendors providing food and all sorts of motorcycle-related merchandise.  Admission for the rally was $45 for members of A.B.A.T.E.  and other motorcycle rights groups, $70 for non-members, and $40 for Saturday only.  There was much to enjoy at the Freedom Rally, and it was well worth the price of admission.  There were scattered rain showers all along the Iowa portion of my trip home, but I somehow managed to avoid them and stay dry.  I’ll be looking forward to my next trip north. 


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