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 

Below are the winners of the 2013 All-American Motorcycle Show - Awards Ceremony, and make sure to also check out our Awards Ceremony Video (1 of 2) and Awards Ceremony Video (2 of 2)


2nd – Wayne Keeler

1st – Wayne Kozak


2nd – Randy VanMeter

1st – Danny Clark


2nd – Kate West

1st – Kristi Stennet

Dresser Mild

2nd – Anthony Hollinger III

1st – Joe Rooney

Dresser Street

2nd – Jeremy Nash

1st – Kent Byers

Sportster Mild

2nd – Tim Childers

1st – Tony VanMeter

XL Radical

2nd – Tony VanMeter

1st – John Sparks

Softail Mild FX

2nd David Reid

1st – John Shram

Softail FX Street

2nd – Hellraisers fabrication- Wayne Dilday Sr.

1st – Steve Miller

Softail FL Mild

2nd – Nicholas Wampler

1st – Charlie Cook

Softail FL Street

2nd – Tony McMackin

1st-Ted Haase

Dyna FX Mild

1st Rick Trumble

Dyna FX Street

1st – Roger Taylor

Pre Evo Mild

1st – Steve Miller

Big Twin Radical – Rigid

2nd –Chris Butterfield

1st – Ken Orem

Big Twin Radical Softail

1st – John Rodecap

Production Custom

2nd – Roger Lumley

1st – Kevin McCarthy


1st – Forrest Oneal

Antique Custom

2nd – Mark Kozak

1st – Mark Kozak

Big Twin Radical Rubber

1st – John Sparks

Dresser Full

2nd – Ron Shryock

1st – Turkey Creek-Kevin Berry

Ultimate Bagger Mild

2nd – Dan Dalrymple

1st – Donnie Houk

Ultimate Bagger Radical

2nd – Turkey Creek – Paul Harper

1st – Turkey Creek – Denny Smith

Best Engine: Kevin McCarthy

Best Paint: Donnie Houk

Best Display: Ron Shryock

Best of Show: Turkey Creek- Denny Smith

(Team Gail’s) Employee Bikes

3rd – Aaron West

2nd – Robin Thiem

1st – Chris Cardello

Shawnee Cycle Plaza’s Open House was held on March 16, the day before Saint Patrick’s Day, and the slogan was, “Wear GREEN, Save GREEN!” Special values during the event included 10% off on parts and accessories (excluding sale items), 10% off service scheduled that day, and 50% off labor for oil changes on that day. Anyone buying a bike at the regular price during the open house event received a guitar or bass package. Hourly drawings were held for door prizes.

As customers arrived, they were cheerfully greeted by members of the Eastern Kansas Tour Riders Chapter B of the Gold Wing Touring Association. Membership information and applications were available as were flyers promoting the chapter’s May 4 poker run supporting the Ride for Kids fundraiser for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. I had the pleasure of interviewing chapter president John Wehr for a Cycle Connections bike club review. The chapter served lunch including hot dogs, chips, cookies, and soft drinks. There was no charge for the food. Instead, donations to Ride for Kids were accepted.

Shawnee Cycle Plaza is located at 13020 W 63rd St in Shawnee Mission, Kansas (phone 913-631-1111). It’s a great place to shop for ATVs, cruiser motorcycles, dirt bikes, and scooters from Honda, Kawasaki, Victory, and Yamaha. Apparel, parts, and service are also available.

Gailapalooza at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandviw, Missouri, is the event that annually marks the beginning of the motorcycling season in the Midwest. The morning of April 4 started with a thick overcast and blustery winds, but the sun broke through, and conditions improved throughout the day. As the weather got better, more and more people rolled in to check out the bikes and merchandise inside the dealership as well as the more than 30 vendor booths that filled the parking lot out front. Several charities also had booths to promote upcoming rides such as the City Union Mission ride and Bikers for Babies®.

Visitors to Blue Springs Harley-Davidson during the dealership’s 15th Anniversary Celebration had the opportunity to take demonstration rides on brand new motorcycles. There was a large selection of Harleys from which to choose. The route covered more than 20 miles north and east of the dealership and offered riders the chance to experience the bikes at highway speed. The curvy roads allowed participants to evaluate the handling characteristics of the various models. Demos were conducted on both Friday and Saturday.

Requirements for the ride were: age over 18, current motorcycle license, eye protection, long pants, closed toed shoes with heel strap, and a helmet meeting D.O.T. standards. Loaner helmets of all sizes were available. Following a safety briefing, each rider straddled his or her bike of choice while escort riders wearing highly-visible fluorescent orange or green vests climbed aboard the remaining bikes. Experienced road captains from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Harley Owners Group took turns leading the group rides. The standard staggered formation for group riding was strictly adhered to in the interest of safety. During the pre-ride briefing, it was pointed out that anyone who became uneasy about the ride for any reason could stop, and arrangements would be made to transport the rider and bike back to the dealership. I noted that a young man who was a new rider and had recently completed a rider safety course and a lady who mentioned that she was not comfortable riding in a large group were each given individual rides accompanied by only one escort rider. I was in a Softail mood and tried out the new Breakout, the Fat Boy Lo, and the Softail Slim.

There were several other bikers who took multiple rides. One lady told me that she was nearly ready to trade her Sportster for a big twin, possibly a Heritage or Softail Slim. The demo rides gave her the perfect opportunity to evaluate each bike before making her selection. During both the Friday and Saturday rides, the H.O.G. volunteers did a great job with their registration, traffic directing, and escort responsibilities. Scott, the Harley-Davidson truck driver who delivered the demo bikes mentioned that he was very impressed with the group.

List of motorcycles available for demo:


Night Rod Special


Anniversary Heritage Softail Classic

Fat Boy Lo

Softail Slim




883L Superlow

1200 Custom

1200V Seventy-Two


Street Bob

Fat Bob

Wide Glide



Road King


Street Glide

Electra Glide Ultra Limited

Road Glide Custom


Tri Glide Ultra Classic

The 2013 version of Oklahoma Bike Week at Sparks America Campground ran from June 14 through 23. As usual, my schedule did not permit me to attend the entire event, but I was able to get away on Thursday, June 20, for a long weekend. This year, I was pleased to have editor Mike join me for his first visit to Sparks. With Mike on his Fat Boy and me on my Wide Glide, we headed south late in the morning.

After a gas stop in Joplin, we decided to drop by the local Harley dealership. We discovered that the name had changed from Cycle Connection to Hideout Harley-Davidson. That should eliminate occasional confusion resulting from the similarity of the names of the dealership and our magazine. We had planned a late lunch at the huge McDonald’s that straddles the Will Rogers Turnpike near Vanita, Oklahoma, but were disappointed to discover that the whole service plaza including the restaurant was closed for renovation. When we stopped at the nearby tollbooth, we agreed to look for a good place to eat in the Tulsa vicinity. Our meal was further delayed as we endured a major traffic jam on Interstate 44 near the east edge of Tulsa. After a fuel stop in Sapulpa just southwest of Tulsa we found a nice Mexican restaurant where our meal was more like dinner than late lunch thanks to the traffic delay. Arriving at Sparks America with plenty of daylight remaining, we made a quick stop at the campground office where I introduced Mike to Robert Butler, the owner of the facility and the host of Oklahoma Bike Week. After stetting up camp, I gave Mike a quick tour of the area including a ride on the Magic Bus, a retired school bus that provides transportation around the grounds throughout the event. We listened to live music for a while before calling it a day and retiring to our tents.

At Sparks America, it’s not the crowing of a rooster that greets a new day. Instead, we were awakened Friday morning by the shrill cry of the resident peacock. It’s a beautiful bird, but its voice is not pretty. Other close neighbors were a llama and a tame deer. It was my birthday, and I was happy to be spending it in the company of Mike and other friends. Daytime activities on both weekends of Oklahoma Bike Week centered around the “playground” where bike games and people games provide great entertainment for participants and spectators alike. Friday’s scheduled games included: plank race, drunk driving (not really drunk, just drinking a beer or water while riding a short distance between two kegs), blind man’s bluff, dizzy race, tampon race, quick start (find and start your bike while blindfolded), straw in the bottle, potato race (using tennis balls), pickle licking, tittie licking, newlywed game, Twinkie eating, and buff the woody (sand the paint off the handle of a plumber’s helper held between partner’s legs). Considerable riding skill was demonstrated during the bike competition, and the people games were just plain crazy! The Sparks America crew always does a great job of keeping the games organized and on schedule, and nice plaques are awarded to the first place winners.

After the games, Mike and I decided to ride to nearby Chandler and enjoy a meal in air-conditioned comfort, although there are very good food options at the campground. We made a quick stop at the local Wal-Mart for sun block, bug spray, and a few other items we had forgotten to pack for the trip. Mike also acquired a flotation device for use in the pond where many of the bikers gather to cool off during the rally. Live music began in the evening and continued into the night, and some adult on-stage competitions provided entertainment during the breaks. For me it was a great way to celebrate a birthday!

First on the Saturday schedule was a bike show put on by volunteers raising funds for the Motoring for Marfans charity seeking a cure for Marfan syndrome. There were lots of great entries in every class. I was particularly intrigued by the V-Rod that won the American Custom class, and I enjoyed visiting with owner Clint Loveland

The Saturday game schedule included the following: slow race, double slow race, men’s and women’s keg toss, men’s and women’s keg roll, weenie bite, cherry bite, and balloon toss. When the time came for the panty slide, there were not enough competitors entered to justify the effort required to roll out the slide, so that event was scratched. Bummer!!!

Everyone migrated from the playground to the dirt drag strip where lunatics, some dressed in shorts and flip-flops, competed in 100-foot drag races and tire drags. Following that wild competition, the crowd returned to the playground for a solemn ceremony, a memorial service for biker Bobby Jack Jackson, Jr. In accordance with his final wishes, Bobby’s vest was ceremoniously burned, and a container filled with his ashes was dragged around the Sparks America Campground behind Robert’s trike.

Prizes were awarded for longest hair (men and women), longest beard (men only), and best tattoos (men’s single color, men’s multi-color, women’s single color, women’s multi-color, and best overall). There were awards for longest trip to the rally and longest ride to the rally.

The final afternoon event was a charity auction of chainsaw art by Woody and an associate. Funds were raised for tornado victims in nearby areas. There was also a 50/50 drawing benefiting Bikers Against Child Abuse. The festivities beginning at 8 p.m. included more live music and craziness on stage.

The ride home on Sunday was hot but uneventful. An early start got Mike and I back home to the city early enough for us to get some work done on the July issue of Cycle Connections.

Sparks America hosts several big events each year. The biker Halloween party coming up October 24 through 27 features more of the same brand of fun enjoyed during Bike Week plus a costume contest with cash prizes. There will be a drawing for a 2014 Yamaha Bolt (950cc) from McAlester MotorSports with custom paint by Passionworks Body Shop. The winner will be drawn from the gate tickets on Saturday after Woody’s auction. You must be present to win, so come on out for a great time and a chance to take home a brand new ride. See photos on Sparks America's website .

Photos by Mike Schweder and Stripe.

Dedicated to the memory of B.J.

I arrived at the A.B.A.T.E. of Kansas rally area at Paradise Point, Perry Lake, about mid-afternoon on Friday, August 30. The weekend weather forecast calling for extreme heat proved to be accurate. Free bottled water and a mist tent provided welcome relief for bikers at the end of their ride and the beginning of their party. After getting registered, I joined several friends who had arrived earlier from southeastern Iowa. As usual, they had set up camp near the area always occupied by A.B.A.T.E. District 7 from the Dodge City area, my old stomping grounds. After hanging out in the camping area for a while, we headed over to the vendor area and spent some time at the beer tent. Friday evening’s musical entertainment included Last Chance Flight, Final Drive, and Led Astray.

The Heartland Police Motorcycle Association was formed in September 2010 with the goal of emphasizing the importance of continued training in an effort to improve the safety of police motorcycle operations in conjunction with raising money for various charity organizations or groups. Each year the association conducts a police motorcycle training seminar/competition. The event gives motor officers an opportunity to hone their riding skills while providing the general public with a chance to observe and appreciate the amazing way the competitors are able to maneuver their police bikes. The large parking lot outside the Macy’s store at the Independence Center becomes a sea of orange cones marking the courses for the competition.

For ten years, people who share a passion for their religious faith and the love of motorcycling have gathered on the campus of Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary on a Saturday early in January for a Christian Biker Workshop sponsored by the Kansas City Chapter of Cycle Disciples M/C .

On September 7, thousands of motorcyclists gathered at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview-Missouri to honor the memory of the 9-11 victims and to show appreciation for veterans, those currently in military service, and people who work in law enforcement and emergency services. The day began with free biscuits & gravy. There were activities for the children and various displays to see including first responder vehicles, antique military vehicles, police cars and motorcycles, General Tommy Franks Traveling Museum, and dozens of vendor booths.

Witches are said to ride broomsticks. As it turns out, some ride motorcycles. So do ghosts, vampires, knights, naughty nurses, doctors (with questionable credentials), and various other costumed characters. Around Halloween, they all head for Sparks America Campground near tiny Sparks, Oklahoma for a long weekend of partying, playing games, listening to live music, and celebrating the biker lifestyle. Robert and Brenda Butler are host and hostess for these festivities and many other events at Sparks America.

The campground has a large wooded area where the office, shower house, vendors, and much of the tent camping are located. South of the vendor area, there is a large stage next to an open area commonly referred to as the Playground where most of the bike and people games are contested. Nearby is the dirt drag strip where the 100-foot drag races and tire drags take place.

The weather for the 2013 Halloween Bash was not bad considering the time of year. Nights were cold, but the temperature during the days was moderate, and the sun was out at least part of the time. There were enough games on the schedule to keep everyone entertained until late each afternoon. Friday’s lineup included slow ride practice (solo and two-up), plank ride, keg roll, keg toss (men’s and women’s), straw-in-the-bottle, drunk driving (to see how much beer or water a rider can drink while riding a short distance marked by two kegs), buff the woody, sex positions (clothed on an air mattress), potato race (substitute tennis balls for spuds), butt darts, dizzy race, 100-foot drags, and tire drags. After dark, partiers enjoyed hanging out around two bonfires while listening to live music. Some were already in costume while others chose to defer dressing up until Saturday.

Saturday morning’s bike show, as always, was put on by a group of volunteers who raise funds to fight Marfan’s Syndrome. There were lots of cool rides, and the judges did not have an easy task deciding who would take home the awards. Immediately following the bike show, games resumed with the schedule including slow ride (single and double), newlywed game, weenie bite, cherry bite, tittie licking, Twinkie eating, blind ride, tampon race, pickle licking, and quick start (while blindfolded, find your bike and get it started). There were prizes for best tattoos in several classes and longest beard.

When the games were done, chain-saw art by Woody was auctioned as a charity fund-raiser. Next was the selection of the very first Miss Sparks America who will be featured in Sparks event advertising and will travel to other rallies to help promote Sparks America. The field of competitors had been narrowed down to five based on how contestants answered several questions. In turn, without being able to hear the other contestants’ answers, each was asked what it would mean to her if she were chosen to be Miss Sparks America. After hearing their answers, audience chose the winner by their applause. Any of the five would have been a fine choice, but the winner was Biker Red, a pretty lady who has attended numerous Sparks rallies, rides her own bike, and always competes in the games. Congrats, Red!

Next was the much-anticipated drawing for a new motorcycle, a 2014 Yamaha Bolt with a special Sparks America custom paint job by Passionworks Body Shop. Everyone who had purchased a ticket to attend the party was entered, and attendance at the drawing was mandatory to win. Red’s first duty as Miss Sparks America was to draw tickets from a large drum. Tickets were drawn until there were 25 finalists on stage. All of their tickets were placed in a box, and Red reached in to pull one out. That ticket belonged to Jessi Allegre who was absolutely thrilled to be the winner. Not currently a motorcycle rider, she expressed her desire to start learning right away.

The evening activities included more live music and a costume contest with cash prizes for best men’s, best women’s, best couple or group, and most original costume. Each category filled the stage with costumed characters. Captain Spaulding (from the Rob Zombie movies), a dead doll, and a cave-couple were the winners from the first three groups. As the competitors for most original took the stage, one was dressed in ordinary clothing and carried a laptop computer. He would appear to type on the keyboard and then stomp his foot in disgust. He explained that he was a “government employee on furlough trying to enroll in Obamacare.” The audience roared its approval, and the prize was won.

Whenever an event takes place at Sparks America, it is certain that great fun is in store. The main motorcycle-oriented events are the Halloween Bash and, in June, Oklahoma Bike Week. It’s about a 700-mile round trip from my home in Kansas City. I’ve been attending Sparks events for years and have always considered it well worth the trip.

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