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 

If you are a rider who traveled from anywhere east to Paradise Point at Perry Lake to attend the 37th Annual A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas Labor Day Rally, chances are you had to endure some rain. The remnants of Hurricane Isaac had arrived in the Midwest producing a broad band of wet weather.

This is where I get to share some of the experiences of the 72nd Annual Sturgis Rally and Races that were outstanding to me. The following chronological summary, along with the accompanying photos, represents my “show and tell” on the 2012 event.

The 2012 Freedom Rally was scheduled for July 5, 6, and 7 due to the mid-week Independence Day holiday. As I rode north, it was apparent that those who were heading for the rally had better be prepared for hot weather. I passed a time-and-temperature sign that indicated a sizzling 102 degrees. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had missed the 2010 and 2011 events at Algona. Knowing that the Iowa A.B.A.T.E. organization constantly strives to make improvements at the rally grounds, I was expecting to see some changes. Sure enough, some significant enhancements had been made at Freedom Park during my two-hear hiatus.

July 28 was the date for the inaugural Spirit Ride to raise funds for the National World War I Museum at Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial. The event began with a rally at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview where registration opened at 11:00 a.m. The registration fee was $40 and included a goodie bag, participation in the escorted ride to Liberty Memorial, admission to the museum, picnic dinner, and concert admission. While waiting for the ride to begin, participants visited vendor booths at Gail’s and listened to the music of the Jeremy Nichols Band.

The Kansas City area was in the grip of a major heat wave, but the soaring temperature did not deter more than 120 generous motorcycle enthusiasts from showing up on Saturday, June 30, at Blue Springs Harley-Davidson to participate in their annual breast cancer fund-raiser.

I was pleased when my Cycle Connections colleague Doc Lonnie informed me that he and Donna planned to attend the 2012 Oklahoma Bike Week at Sparks America Campground. With my camping gear riding in their toy hauler/camping trailer, my Wide Glide would have a lighter load for our June 21 ride to the rally, and the magazine would have the benefit of two photojournalists providing double-coverage. Our plan was to rendezvous at Peculiar, Missouri, on Highway 71 to begin the trek. Due to my faulty memory of Missouri geography, I turned left at the intersection of 291 and 71 at Harrisonville and headed south.

Bikers gather every year at Sparks America Campground near the tiny town of Sparks, Oklahoma, for a huge Halloween Biker Bash. The 2012 party was the second big motorcycle rally hosted by Robert Butler who acquired the facility prior to Oklahoma Bike Week in June. Robert continues to look for ways to make sure everyone who comes to Sparks America has a great time.

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always a good time for me to head for Iowa. On May 24, Kansas City weather was warm with the wind absolutely howling out of the south. This is not a bad thing when northbound, and at my gas stop in Osceola, I found that my gas mileage was well in excess of 50 miles per gallon.

Ryan Consolver would have turned 34 on June 9, 2012. Tragically, his life was cut short on August 11, 2002, as the result of a motorcycle accident in North Kansas City. His extended family found healing from their loss in the institution of an annual motorcycle ride called Ride for Ryan . To honor Ryan’s memory, the ride takes place on or close to his birthday each year. Proceeds from the ride go to provide scholarships for students pursuing their education in construction-related fields.

Nearly 150 bikes participated in this year's Tougher Than Hell Poker Run fundraiser for the Recovery Lighthouse women's shelter. Single women and their children are the fastest growing group among this country’s homeless population. Many are victims of abuse, and many have dependencies on drugs and/or alcohol. The objective of the Recovery Lighthouse is to assist distressed women in their recovery process. Services provided include assessment, development of a recovery plan, connections with helpful resources, mentoring, peer support, counseling, and family counseling. Locations are in Warrensburg (660-429-2222), Odessa (816-230-7720), and Sedalia (660-827-4357). Funds raised by the 2nd Annual Tougher Than Hell Poker Run for the Recovery Lighthouse amounted to more than $5,000.