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42nd Annual ABATE of Kansas Labor Day Rally - Lake Perry, Kansas

Written by  October 25, 2017

Every year during the Labor Day weekend, Lake Perry’s Paradise Point becomes Kansas’ center of motorcycle activities.  Rally gates opened at noon on Friday, September 1.  Admission was $30 for members of A.B.A.T.E. and other motorcycle rights organizations.  Non-member’s paid $50, and a Sunday only pass was $20.  Active and retired military discount was $10.  Bands on the schedule for Friday were Mike Powers Trio, Double Vision, and Eleven After.

I made the short trip from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, to the lake on Saturday morning.  Friends from Iowa had arrived on Friday and had saved a space for my tent.  They brought a generator that, unlike the one brought to the Iowa Freedom Rally, actually ran, providing power for C.P.A.P. machines and charging camera and cell phone batteries.  Also representing Cycle Connections at the rally were Doc Lonnie, Melissa, and Editor Mike. 

Riders who signed up for the bike games, known here as Motorcycle Olympics, paid a $5 entry fee per game or $15 for all games.  Starting at noon and running through most of the afternoon, the games included Slow Race, Weenie Bite, Tire Toss, Potato Pick Up, Keg Push, Tire Drags, and Barrel Race as well as mini-bike races.  For some reason, a few of the competitors gave little priority to being ready when it was their turn resulting in the program taking longer than it should have.  Overall, the games were entertaining, but I didn’t stick around for the mini-bike races or anything that may have followed.  Instead I returned to the campsite to hang out with my pals.  Also present were old friends from Dodge City and new friends from the Wichita area.  We traditionally camp behind a row of trees that separates the relatively narrow area where we camp from the main camping area.  At past rallies, vehicles and campers have sometimes blocked one or both of the breaks in the tree line that provide access to this area.  Having been contacted by members of our group and others, the A.B.A.T.E. staff did a good job of keeping these passages open.  Much appreciated!

Another Saturday afternoon feature was Wrestling-A.B.A.T.E. Anarchy.  Saturday’s musical entertainment included Ryan Manuel & The Gateway, Scott Heidner & The Nashville Connection, and Reverend Horton Heat.  As with every night of the rally, there was a good crowd in the beer garden at the vendor area.

My group enjoyed Sunday breakfast at the American Legion Post 225 only three miles from the rally area.  The bike show registration began at 10:30 with judging at noon.  There was a $10 entry fee, and classes were Sportster, American, Custom Antique, Metric Sport, Metric Cruiser, Custom, Antique, Rat, Touring, Trike, Small C.C., Best of Show and People’s Choice.  Lots of fine rides were on display.

After the bike show, the crowd migrated a short distance to the west to see wild dirt drags.  Riders competed in Street Tire, Knobby Tire, Metric Knobby Tire, and Open classes.  There were 37 racers entered representing four states.  Sunday’s musical performers were Stone Breakers, Goddesses of Rock, and Shawn Ward & Straight Shot.  All weekend, several additional bands performed on the second stage. 

 I headed home Sunday afternoon following the dirt drags.  It was a good time, and I will look forward to the 43rd annual event next Labor Day. 


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