"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 started 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"
So, for 2013, how do you top all that? Well, how about some new awards
for riders completing 5,000 or 10,000 “memorial miles”, or maybe an
award for the rider who has the most miles accumulated?
And you wouldn’t want to just mail out those awards so why not stage a
party and have Mr. Iron Butt, Mike Kneebone, present the awards in
person? And just so no one gets bored sitting around waiting for
dinner, why not stage a Memorial Ride for party attendees so they can
get some “memorial miles” in while they’re there?
Sure, that all sounds pretty good but where would you find a place big
enough to do all that with lots of wide open spaces and mile and miles
of roads to ride? Well, Texas of course! Howard started making phone
calls and twisting arms and in short order he had a hotel in Dallas
(Irving, Texas actually – the old home of the Dallas Cowboys). With
plenty of volunteers, the blessings of IBA top brass, and Cliff Wall to
create the local memorial ride – “The Republic of Texas 1000”, the
“Big-As-Texas Party” was launched.
Riders will still have the option in 2013 of completing Memorial Rides
at home during the three weeks leading up to the party in Dallas. As
well they can complete a “ride-in” to Dallas as a Memorial Ride and of
course everyone has the option to ride the Republic of Texas 1000 on
November 1st. Thanks to a large volunteer ride checking team all riders
attending the Big-As-Texas Party will have their certificates presented
by Mike Kneebone regardless of where they completed their ride!
"The 2014 Memorial Ride"
The goal of the IBA is to promote long distance riding. We help
individual ride organizers hold regional and local rides around the
In 2014, several regional rides were scheduled around the time that we
had planned to hold another Dallas event. Rather than compete with
these other events, we decided not to hold an IBA sponsored event. But
the Memorial Ride was still held over a seventeen day period, and 98
"The 2015 Memorial Ride"
Riders in the northern part of the country had always complained about
the dates of the Memorial Rides, saying that the weather was too cold
or snowy to participate. We know that some riders completed Memorial
BBGs in Montana when the high temperature for the day was below 20
Although our type of riding is supposed to be challenging, it is also
supposed to be fun, so to accommodate these Northern Riders, we decided
to hold a special one day Memorial Day Memorial Ride on Memorial Day.
The requirement was that some part of the ride, even if it was only one
minute, had to be ridden on Memorial Day. Forty five riders
participated in that one day event.
We also held a regular seventeen day Memorial Event, with an award
ceremony in Dallas in early October. Once again Ridemaster Cliff Wall
and Ridemaster Bill Thweatt planned a challenging SS1000 AND a BBG for
this event. The BBG riders will never forget this ride: after riding
all day and being on the way home for a successful completion of their
rides, they found that the interstate was completely shut down due to a
wreck. They were all delayed almost two hours until the road was
cleared, but almost everybody made in back to hotel for a successful
Day Memorial Rides and the fall 17 day Memorial Ride window continued
as part of the IBA tradition. Each year, at the Big As Texas
Event held at the conclusion of the fall Memorial window, awards are
given to riders who have completed increments of 5,000 or more
'memorial miles' since 2011. Dozens of riders have earned this
As of August, 2020, Dave McQueeney is the only rider who has achieved the 45,000 Memorial Miles Award.