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 

Some may wonder what Motor Boating has to do with a motorcycle poker run. Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. The Urban Dictionary defines motorboat (an intransitive verb) as “the act of pushing one's face in between two ample breasts, and rocking one's head side to side very rapidly while making a vigorous, lip-vibrating 'brrr' sound.” Friends of Margaret Liggett came up with Motor Boating for Margaret as a rather catchy and humorous name for a Sunday, July 28, ride to raise funds to assist her with astronomical medical expenses she has incurred in her battle with breast cancer. Having endured surgery and chemotherapy with more of both to come, Margaret’s out-of-pocket costs at the time of the ride were already in excess of $6,000. She is a long-time motorcycle enthusiast and has a multitude of friends in the motorcycling community.

More than 100 bikes turned out for the event that began at The Bar in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, with registration from 11:00 until noon. Two groups headed out on the route with the first preceding the second by about twenty minutes. Covering about 60 miles, the course included stops at the Daily Double Lounge in Raytown, the Ranch House Bar in Blue Springs, and Russo’s Pizza in Lee’s Summit. The ride concluded where it began at The Bar. Margaret had a good day and felt strong enough to join her friends on the poker run. She rode with Jeff Gamble on his Harley.

Margaret is thankful for all of the support she has received. She mentioned that Rich and Dana, owners of The Bar, did more than providing a start/finish location. They also “did the route, set up the bar stops, and donated proceeds from food sales.” Margaret has many friends in the Riders Of America’s Roads (R.O.A.R.) group and sends special thanks to Belinda, Donnie, Jeff G, Michelle, Donna L., Donna H., Vicky, Regina, Jane, Marian, Barb and Joe Walsh for his great music. Thanks also go out to Jenny Johnson and to those who donated raffle items.

Denise Dickerson won the 50/50 raffle, Guy Gamble drew the high poker hand, and Dylan Bunch had the low. All of the winners were quick to donate their winnings back to Margaret. A total of $4,460 was raised to help pay the medical bills. She asked me to send out a big THANK YOU to all who were involved and said, “Of all your possessions, family and friends are the most precious!”

During the course of the day, I did not observe any “motorboating” going on. What I did see was a bunch of generous people having a great time while helping a friend get through an incredibly difficult and challenging time in her life. We at Cycle Connections wish Margaret the very best as her recovery continues.

Article & photos by Stripe & Skylar

In spite of temperatures in the forties, Kansas City area bikers mounted up, loaded toys on their scoots, and headed for Rawhide Harley-Davidson in Olathe, Kansas. The date was November 3, and the occasion was the 25th Annual Toys for Tots Ride. Members of the Central Midwest H.O.G. Chapter were on hand to direct parking and assist with registration. Participants donated at least $10 and a new unwrapped toy and received a goodie bag, souvenir coin, and ride pin.

The Combat Logistics Regiment 4 is responsible for toy collection. A MTVR 7-ton truck decorated with Toys for Tots banners was parked in front of the dealership ready for bags of toys to be loaded. Prior to the ride, there was formal Presentation of the Colors by the Kansas City Marine Recruiting Station color guard, and the National Anthem was played. At the conclusion of the ceremony, riders headed for their bikes and departed on a 60-mile ride expertly escorted by officers from several area law enforcement agencies. There were 145 riders who donated 384 toys and cash. The volume buying power of the Toys for Tots organization magnifies the value of the cash donations.

V.F.W. Post 7397 was the destination. There was plenty of room to park motorcycles in the lot in front, and the hall provided ample room for the participants to sit down and enjoy the delicious lunch catered by Jack Stack Barbecue. By the time riders headed home the temperature had warmed into the sixties, and the riders enjoyed the warm feeling of knowing that many children would have a brighter Christmas as a result of their efforts.

Special thanks to:
Combat Logistics Regiment 4
Kansas City Marine Recruiting Station
Marine Corps League and Bill “Top” Clinton
Rawhide Harley-Davidson and the Central Midwest H.O.G. Chapter

The 53rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels Show drew large crowds of auto and motorcycle enthusiasts to Kansas City’s Bartle Hall during the weekend of February 8-10. A special added attraction at the show each year is the All-American Motorcycle Show presented by Gail’s Harley-Davidson . Admission for both shows was $17 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under with discount tickets available at O’Reilly Auto Parts stores. There were several motorcycle classes included in the World of Wheels Show, and the entries were scattered throughout the exhibition hall. The invitational All-American Show occupied an area near the center of the hall and featured a wide variety of motorcycles entered in 24 classes. In addition to class awards, plaques were presented for Best Engine, Best Paint, Best Display, and Best of Show. There were also special display areas for bikes belonging to Gail’s Harley-Davidson employees and members of the American Heartland Chapter of H.O.G.

In addition to Cycle Connections staff, several friends stopped by to assist at our booth. For the Friday session we were pleased to have Jennifer and Stevi of The Bombshells at our booth to help us greet the public as well as promote the upcoming Outlaws for Paws charity event. Neighboring booths were occupied by our friends from Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) on our left and Bikers for Babies® RIDE to the right. Visitors to Gail’s booth had the opportunity to shop for Harley apparel or even choose a new motorcycle from several that were on display.

In addition to fine autos, boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles, World of Wheels always includes special displays and guest celebrities. People waited in long lines to get autographs and pose for photos with Christopher Douglas Reed (“Filthy Phil” from Sons of Anarchy), WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and actor Adam “Edge” Copeland, Davis Cleveland (Flynn Jones from Disney’s Shake It Up), and Stefanie Scott (Lexi Reed from Disney’s A.N.T. Farm). Rise Above BMX freestyle riders performed some crazy aerial stunts on bicycles, and the battery-powered Bigfoot Monster Truck sponsored by Odyssey Battery performed a car-crushing demonstration that was somewhat limited by the available space. The enormous pickup gets its motor power from three banks of 10 batteries and has six more to power the brakes and steering. Another impressive display was a tribute to the Batmobile including three different versions of the legendary vehicle.

Sunday evening, the exhibitors gathered for the All-American Motorcycle Show awards presentation. April Meisberger handed out the awards as John Crabb announced the winners. The presentation included a slide show so that the audience could see which entries won which awards. Photos for the slide show were the work of Amanda Davidson (Fatmonkey Snapshots) and Crystal Hickey.

With exhibits to see, celebrities to meet, live music to enjoy, and other activities, it was a great show. The Cycle Connections crew appreciates all who visited our booth. As always, Gail and her staff, assisted by the American Heartland H.O.G. Chapter, did a super job handling all of the details and hard work involved in putting on a show of this magnitude. It’s something to look forward to each year.

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.