"The 2011 Memorial Ride"
When Jack Shoalmire passed away in August, 2011, a large hole appeared
in the fabric that weaves together the Iron Butt Association and the
long-distance riding community. It had been a difficult season already
for endurance minded throttle twisters as too many of the chosen ones
had been called to higher riding grounds. As one IBR veteran remarked
on LDRider, “it’s going to be a difficult time on the Playa this year”,
referring to the somber respects paid to fallen riders at the memorial
site in Gerlach, Nevada. And from all reports it was just that.
Jack was a good father, a decorated Viet Nam veteran, a world-class off
road biker, and a dedicated IBA rider having completed more than 100
IBA certified rides. His all too early departure left a void for many
riders who knew Jack and had shared the road or a dusty trail with him
in the past. At his memorial service in Tulsa, riders gathered to pay
their respects, some joining the Patriot Guard escort, some serving in
the flag line that framed the doors to the church. Others were just
looking to lose that helpless feeling you have when someone you know
and love is taken from you.
Into that collective emptiness stepped Howard Entman, IBR veteran,
retired medical doctor, and a new friend to Jack, having only met him
in recent years, sharing a handful of rides with him during that time.
It was after one of those rides, the Vernal Equinox 2011 that Howard
and Cliff Wall were invited to spend the night at Jack’s house in
Broken Arrow. Both of them were caught off-guard at the sight of the
hundreds of riding awards displayed in Jack’s garage and throughout his
home. They pumped Jack for information about the IBR and any riding
topic they could well into the wee hours of the morning. He was an
encyclopedia of knowledge on riding, and he could tell a good story
too! When they left the next morning neither of them could imagine the
future importance of that chance opportunity.
As soon as the wheels started rolling home from the memorial service
Howard’s idea for a “tribute” ride starting taking shape. It’s amazing
how much thinking you can do while “sitting here and twisting that”. A
call was made to Mike Kneebone detailing the plan to the IBA President
who immediately jumped on board. The post announcing the ride went out
on the various riding forums. Immediately riders took to the idea. It
seemed the “tribute ride” was the perfect answer for a grieving LD
riding community needing to shake off the ill effects of a long year.
And what a ride it turned out to be.
Howard: “When I posted this first announcement, I thought we’d have
40-45 riders sign up, with only one rider in each state. I didn’t think
that we could get volunteers to ride in states like Rhode Island, New
Hampshire, Delaware or Hawaii (look at a map; can you imagine doing an
in-state SS1K in those states?); or Alaska (at this time of year, you
have snow, ice, darkness, and moose); or some of the other New England
states, which had just suffered the ravages of Hurricane Irene. I was
There was an initial flurry of sign-ups in the long interstate highway
states—Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, with several riders
in those states. Some riders offered to ride in states some distance
from their home state if nobody else signed up. Then the New England
riders contacted me, and soon we had riders for Rhode Island, New
Hampshire, Vermont, and the rest of New England.
Our Hawaii-based IBA rider had his bike on a freighter, being shipped
back from the mainland, with the arrival date later than our ride date.
It appeared that Hawaii might not have a rider. I contacted most of the
motorcycle dealers and bike clubs on the islands, but got no
volunteers. And then the miracle came. One of our mainland riders
offered to fly to Hawaii and rent a bike to do the ride. Wow! And then
as luck would have it, our Hawaii based rider received his bike a few
days before the ride, so he was able to do the ride as well -two riders
in Hawaii - one in Oahu and one on the island of Hawaii.
‘I completed the ride’ reports were received from over 160 riders. All
50 states were begun. In the interest of safety, we asked our Alaska
rider to abort his ride after 700+ miles when he reported “ice ruts on
the road with snow so heavy you couldn’t even see the road.” The other
49 states were completed. Many IBA'ers recruited other riders to ride
with them. Most of these recruits are new to LD riding. There were 50
new riders brought into the IBA from this ride.”
This reads like the typical LD ride story. Someone came up with an
off-the-wall ride idea that most “normal” riders would consider
impossible. And then a swarm of the “World’s Toughest Riders” mows the
challenge down as if it was a walk in the park. God I love this group
of people. I guess that’s because of sacrifices they willingly make for
each other. These are people who will stop at three a.m. on a mountain
pass to aid a rider they’ve never met or people who will loan you a
bike so you can finish the last few miles of the Iron Butt Rally. These
are people who will offer you their home on a long journey and people
who pay tribute to others. People like Howard. People like Jack.
The Jack Shoalmire Tribute Ride is now in the books and is a fond
memory in the minds of the riders who rose to the challenge, a memory
that, in my opinion, could and should live on as a testament to the
closeness of the IBA and LD community.
"The 2012 Memorial Ride"
It was early in 2012 that riders started asking whether there would be
a repeat of the Memorial Ride. We wanted to improve on the original
formula. For 2012, the format was expanded to allow riders to honor any
passed relative or friend and allowed them to complete multiple rides
if they desired, giving them a three week window of time to do so. That
effort culminated in another 181 rides. All totaled, in the first two
years of the Memorial Ride’s existence over 360,000 “memorial miles”
have been accumulated by the World’s Toughest Riders.
"The 2013 Memorial Ride"
2013 saw the first season ending party for the “Memorial Ride Season”
billed as “The Big-As-Texas Party”, complete with its own ride, “The
Republic of Texas 1000”, a great finishers banquet, new awards for
riders completing 5,000 or 10,000 “Memorial Miles”, and an award for
the rider who had the most lifetime “Memorial Miles” accumulated.
Ninety plus riders completed the ride and over 160 riders and guests
attended the banquet and “Mr. Ironbutt”, Mike Kneebone, personally
presented the ride certificates to the attendees. The traditional
Memorial Ride three week window was also employed again in 2013 and all
total, counting the Texas Party and the Memorial Ride Season, the
Memorial Miles total for the IBA passed the 550,000 mark.
"The 2014 Memorial Ride"
For 2014 we returned to the “ride where you are” format with riders
constructing and completing their own rides to and from any
location. The traditional three week window was again employed
and for 2014 we issued 127 new “Memorial Ride” certificates and pushed
the lifetime mileage total to over 750,000 miles.
"The 2015 Memorial Ride"
The Memorial Year got a jump start in 2015 with a special ride window
on the Memorial Day holiday. This new event window gave some
riders, especially ones in colder climates, a chance to book some
Memorial Miles ahead of the normal three week fall riding window.
Over 50 riders took advantage of the early start to the season and
completed a Memorial Ride for 2015.
But that was just a teaser! The “Party” is back!
Those of you who attended the IBA Big-As-Texas Party and Memorial Ride
Season finale in 2013 know what a great time we had riding through
Texas. The fall weather makes for great riding in the Lone Star
State. We enjoyed it so much we decided it was time for an
WE'RE BACK IN DALLAS for 2015 on October 16th & 17th !!!
Bill Thweatt, five time IBR Finisher, has devised two great rides, the
“Stadium 1000 and the “Stadium BBG 1500”, which both qualify for
Memorial Ride certification and both will be Texas “in-state” rides for
those wanting to get Texas off your bucket list. Lisa Landry has
arranged a great hotel for the event and Mike Kneebone will be there to
present certificates for both event rides, any ride-in certifiers, as
well as any offsite 2015 Memorial rides for those in attendance who
want to have their certificate presented by “Mr. Ironbutt”. And
don’t forget, we’ll be handing out certificates to any riders who have
reached the 5,000 and 10,000 “Memorial Miles” levels, and we’ll once
again recognize the rider with the most lifetime Memorial Miles.
When the wheels stop rolling you’ll be able to kick tires with more
than 100 fellow riders, admire each other's bikes and farkling
solutions, tell tall tales of your riding adventures and plan that next
big ride to who knows where. The Saturday evening banquet is sure
to be a great finish to the weekend with a fine Texas dinner and a cash
To register for these rides and for the event, go to Ridemaster and click ‘Register for the 2015 IronButt Dallas Party. For more info on the Dallas party, go to www.ironbutt.com/texas.
Not coming to the Texas Party? Or just want to get an early start
on some lifetime Memorial Miles before coming to Texas? You may
schedule your own Memorial Ride during the traditional Memorial Ride
time window of October 2-17, 2015. As with past years, you may
schedule your ride to and from anywhere, to begin anytime within the
three week window.
Go to Ridemaster to sign up. Click on 2015 IBA Memorial Ride.
2016--Another great Memorial Season
the final weekend of our 17 day riding window, we had anogther fabulous
party in Dallas, Texas. this yeqr we moved from the giant
commercial Marriott hotels to the smqaller, more intimate Hilton Garden
Inn in Allen, Texas. We were the major tenant in the hotel
for the weekend, We were able to kick tiires, tell
stories, have some nice breakfasts and dinners and generally congregate
without getting lost in a giant hotel. Hopefully we can go back
to the Hilton in future years..