What's a Rally?
How do Rallies work?
What's the point of a Rally?

Steve Aikens
IBA #8404
May 23, 2011

I scored one of the coveted slots to ride in the 2011 Iron Butt Rally. This ride has been a goal of mine since I heard of the first successful Rally in the mid-1980's. On September 5th, 2010, I received an email from Iron Butt Rally Master Lisa Landry that started off with:

"Congratulations! Your application was drawn for entry in the 2010 - 2011 Iron Butt Rally!"

Here's a brief overview of the Rally concept.

The Rally has matured over the years under Iron Butt Association President Mike Kneebone's watchful eye. It's something far more than a bike ride for miles as riders seek out the most challenging bonus locations. The Rally Pack has the criteria for each bonus requirement. It may be a photo of your Rally Flag and something specific in the photo, something specific and your Rally Flag AND your motorcycle, something specific and your Rally Flag AND your motorcycle AND you, or any of the preceding and you may be required to make a small purchase. All this while routing and keeping records of gas and any other purchases required to make it from one checkpoint to the next within the time window required - all at legal speeds and following safe riding practices.

For an idea of what's required, here's a brief glimpse of what a successful routing strategy looks like in photos and listings from a Rally Pack. Keep in mind that this is an example from a 30 hour rally. Routing like this for a short one or two day Rally is only a small slice of what's required for the 11 day Iron Butt Rally.

The Rally:
The Iron Butt Shakedown Rally
Broken Arrow, OK to Broken Arrow, OK

Here is the Rally Masters Epilogue Report

The Rally Pack consists of 45 pages of Bonuses which we could choose to visit, as well as the instructions for each location, and is broken into 2 Legs. Leg 1 bonuses are 22 pages long, Leg 2 bonuses are 17 pages long. Our goal is always to choose wisely, the most reasonable bonuses within our riding range, within the limited timeframes of that leg, that would give us the highest obtainable bonus points.

I chose [in order] the following for Leg 1:

These are the exact descriptions of the requirements from the Rally Pack, omitting only the GPS coordinates.

1] BAFM - 418 points.

Broken Arrow Farmers Market
418 S Main St
Broken Arrow, OK.

Take a picture of the black centennial clock in front of the Broken Arrow Farmer's Market.

Earn double points if your cycle is in the picture.

2] OPHM - 97 points

Oklahoma Prison Historical Museum
West St @ Stonewall Ave
McAlester, OK

Take a picture of the OK Prison Historical Museum sign in front.


3] HES - 6660 Points

Hickman Elementary School
3114 Pinewood Dr
Garland, TX

Take a picture of the main entrance that says Hickman Elementary School


4] SMU - 2630 points

Dallas Hall, Southern Methodist University
3300 University Blvd
Dallas, TX

Designed after the library rotunda at the University of Virginia, Dallas Hall opened it's doors in 1915 and housed the entire University as well as a bank and a barbershop. On the south side of Dallas Hall, purchase a graduation t-shirt from an outdoor vendor. Note on the back of the t-shirt, the graduate name "Laura Colleen Landry". Laura's mother, a well-known IBA RM, is on campus for Laura's graduation. The University seal is on the floor under the Rotunda of Dallas Hall. Take a picture of the University Seal & your t-shirt, while wearing the t-shirt. Double points if said RM is in the picture with you (you may not contact said RM via cell phone or e-mail, etc., only if you find said RM via conventional search methods, (i.e., running into the RM on campus). Obtain a receipt from Highland Park, University Park or Dallas within 15 minutes to document your time, OR snap a legible picture that shows the time & GPS coordinates.

NOTE: There were no outdoor vendors selling t-shirts.  Called the RM for instructions.  “Take a picture showing there are no vendors and follow the rest of the instructions”

No Vendors: http://www.nmpcs.com/images/Shakedown/IMG_0160.JPG
University Seal: http://www.nmpcs.com/images/Shakedown/IMG_0162.JPG
GPS Time & Coords: http://www.nmpcs.com/images/Shakedown/IMG_0164.JPG

5] POPS - 660 points

Pops 66 Soda Ranch
660 W. Highway 66
Arcadia, OK

Take a picture, including your motorcycle, of the 66 foot giant soda bottle.


6] PLANK - 634 points

Plank Bridge
Kihekah Ave
Pawhuska, OK

Walk to the center of the bridge: take a picture showing you standing in the middle of the bridge. NOTE: You'd be well advised to not look down if you have any aversion to heights ;o)


In addition to the points achieved above, there were additional points available for:

ROUTE - 400 points - Provide the RM with your route, in order, using the abbreviations. Do not send the RM a .gpx file!

GAS - A maximum of 500 points total is available for fuel purchase records. 100 points will be deducted for each incomplete receipt and/or entry. Riders may hand correct up to one piece of information per receipt.

To obtain points for fuel purchase records, riders must submit a receipt for every fuel purchase with the following information on the receipt: 1) location (city/town and state/province), 2) date, 3) time, and 4) volume (gallons or liters) purchased.

This turned out to be the high score ride for Leg 1 - scoring a total of 12,417 points, putting me in first place on Leg 1. As expected, sitting in the top spot at the end of Leg 1 makes for an easy target to knock off on Leg 2. In this case, Michael Boge and John Stamps decided to move me down a couple notches at the finish.

SIDE NOTE: As a general rule, it is unwise to route aggressively on the first leg of longer rallies. Riding too hard early in the Rally takes it's toll as the hours pass. Only the most seasoned Rally veteran is generally able to maintain a pace at this level over longer distances, for longer times. Conservative and consistent routing and riding is generally the best strategy.

The Rally Pack for Leg 2 consisted of 17 pages of Bonuses we could choose to visit.

I chose [in order] the following for Leg 2:

1] BARN - 918 points

Round Barn
11250 E SH-66
Arcadia OK 73007

Sitting atop a low terrace overlooking the Deep Fork River, the Round Barn in Arcadia has been a center of community activity and curiosity for over a century. William Harrison “Big Bill” Odor arrived in Oklahoma County in 1892, and shortly after, in 1898, oxen cleared the ground for construction of his barn. He built a barn 60 feet in diameter and 43 feet high with a local red Permian rock foundation. Local burr oak timbers were soaked in water until soft and then banded into the mold to create the rafters. Mr. Odor apparently designed the barn himself, though no one knows how he chose the round design.

After its construction was completed in 1898, the barn housed hay, grain, and livestock, but almost from the start, it served as a community center. During the barn’s construction, three young workers, realizing what a fine place it would be for dances, persuaded Mr. Odor to let them pay the difference between planed rough flooring and hardwood, which was more suitable for dancing. From time to time for the next 25 years, barn dances drew crowds and musicians to Arcadia from a wide area. Mr. Odor compared the barn’s acoustics with those of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and it became a popular rallying point while Arcadia flourished.

With the U.S. Highway 66 alignment through Arcadia in 1928, travelers along the Mother Road were only a stone’s throw from the architectural curiosity. The barn quickly became a Route 66 landmark.

Although the barn decayed and was only partially standing by the late 1970s, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Restoration efforts began when the Arcadia Historical Society acquired the property in 1988. A committed group of volunteers repaired the collapsed roof and restored the barn using many of the original construction methods. In 1992, the barn opened to the public, and in that same year, the Society received a National Preservation Honor Award for its efforts. By 2005, the barn again needed repairs, which dedicated volunteers completed with funding assistance from the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Today, the barn remains open as an important community resource and popular resting stop for Route 66 travelers.

Take a picture of the historical marker across OK-66, just South of the red barn.


2] LAZYE - 807 points

Lazy E Arena
9600 Lazy East Dr
Guthrie OK 73044

The Lazy E Arena main arena floor is 440 feet-by-160 feet, making it the largest indoor rodeo arena in the world. The Lazy E regularly hosts PBR events, roping, equestrian and AMA motocross events.

Take a picture of the main arena, with your cycle in the background.

NOTE: To reach this bonus from BARN, the common sense route was OK-66 – I-35N to Guthrie and then east to LAZYE – a distance of 33 miles.  However, taking the back roads, it was only 11.2 miles.  Theoretically, saving 15 minutes considering speed limits.  As it turned out, 3 miles of the back roads were the very worst, pothole filled combination of asphalt, concrete, sand, gravel and caliche I’ve ever been on.  It wasn’t worth the 3-4 minutes I saved when I was actually at LAZYE.


3] OKCF – 1911 points

(The) Fence, Oklahoma City National Memorial – NPS
620 N Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City OK 73102

"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."

Like the response to the event it was meant to commemorate, the creation of the Oklahoma City National Memorial has been a cooperative effort involving many people and all levels of government.

From the first hours after the April 19, 1995 bombing, Oklahomans began to create small makeshift memorials around the perimeter of the bombsite – mounds of flowers, stuffed animals, personal notes, cards and prayers. Later, after the Murrah Building was demolished and removed, a chain link fence secured the footprint of the building. The Fence became Oklahoma’s – and America’s – memorial. Each day, visitors would hang mementos on the fence. Items including poems, key chains, brief scribbled messages of condolence and support, event convention badges, car tags and airline ticket stubs were left by visitors to Oklahoma City. The Fence has been preserved, and a portion of it is a part of the permanent memorial to allow visitors the opportunity to continue to leave personal messages of hope, comfort and goodwill.

Take a picture of the fence.


ALSO NOTE from page 20 of the Bonus Packet:

At your third bonus of the day, text or call the RM with the following information:

Rider name [Steve Aikens]
Rider Number [25]
City [OKC]
Name of Bonus [The Fence]
Where you are headed next [Cameron Sanders Slaughter]

Earn an extra 1,000 points for texting the RM a picture of the third bonus, with your rally flag visible.

[I scored this bonus without the extra 1000 points because I don't have texting set up on my phone. - [BUMMER!]

4] CSS - 1711 points

Cameron Sanders 'slaughter'
US Highway 77
Lexington OK 73051

Cameron 'slaughtered' a wayward cow that crossed Cameron's motorcycle path during the 2010 IB5000 rally.

Slaughterville came under attack by PETA in 2004. PETA tried to persuade the town to change its name to Veggieville by offering to donate $20,000 in veggie burgers. The town responded by having a hot dog weenie roast while wearing signs that said 'beef, its what's for dinner'.

Take a picture of the Slaughterville city limits sign. Double points for photographing a cow in the picture, too.

[There were no cows in the pasture]


5] FAM - 1173 points

Fort Arbuckle Monument
OK-7 @ Meridian Rd
Hoover OK 73098

Fort Arbuckle was established in 1851 by Captain R.B. Marcy. Like other forts in the area, the establishment of troops in this area was to protect the "civilized" Indian Tribes, most notably the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, from the plains Indians, such as the Kiowa Comanche Indians. There were also trails in the area, and an Army presence in the vicinity added protection to travelers going to the California gold mines and Santa Fe. These trails came from Fort Smith in Arkansas, extending out to Santa Fe.

The original size of the fort was about 12 miles by 12 miles. It was later reduced to 9 miles by 12 miles.

In 1852, Captain Marcy and Captain George B. McClellan (who would later rise to be the Commander in Chief of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War) set out to find the source of the Red River. An interesting point is that McClellan married Marry Ellen Marcy, one of Marcy daughters, in New York City on May 22, 1860.

On May 3, 1861, the fort was abandoned to Confederate troops, and reoccupied in 1865. Finally in 1870, the fort was abandoned again.

Today, the fort is in total ruins. Purportedly, there are foundations still visible. This information was stated, however, in 1970 when the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Take a picture of the Fort Arbuckle Monument


6] CCHM – 986 points

Coal County Historical & Mining Museum
118 S Broadway
Coalgate OK 74538

Situated in southeastern Oklahoma, the Choctaws began arriving in the area in the 1830s. Coal mining and agriculture have been the major sources of employment. In the 1870s mining began around McAlester, and mines were soon opened in present Coal County. Large numbers of Eastern European immigrants who worked in the mines obtained permits costing five dollars annually from the Choctaw Nation in order to live and work in the area. The first coal mine was opened on Choctaw leader Allen Wright's land at Midway, located between Atoka and Coalgate. His sons Eliphalet Nott and James Brooks Wright founded the town of Olney. Eliphalet Wright was Oklahoma historian Muriel Wright's father. Other coal mines opened at Lehigh and Coalgate in the 1880s. Railroads were built to serve the mines and were responsible for the location of Clarita and Centrahoma.

Mining reached its peak between 1910 and 1916 with thousands working daily in the mines. The Coalgate, Lehigh, Phillips, and Cottonwood economies boomed. Italian, French, Mexican, Slovakian, and Magyar immigrant workers lived in company houses and used the company's stores, doctors, and hospital. Although strip mining companies moved into the area after World War I, mining continued to decline. The mines closed in 1921, and years of crop failures followed. The county's population, which peaked in 1920 at 18,406, declined to 11,521 in 1930. The mines that were reopened during World War II were closed by 1958.

Take a picture of the Coal County Historical Museum building.


This was the last bonus I had time for, to reach the finish before 1500.  I made it by mere seconds.

EAT - 1500 points            Available 0500-0700

Provide a receipt from a fast food restaurant (no fuel stations) showing that you purchased food. Bon appétit!

COLD Bonus scored with a 12 pack [they didn't have 6 packs where I was] of Pepsi.

COLD - 1600 points            Available 1400-1500

Beverage receipt must be from Broken Arrow.

Bring back a COLD six-pack of your favorite beverage. Iced-down chests will be awaiting its arrival.

I also scored 500 points for my fuel log and receipts.

Hit this link for the final scores of the Rally.

All the photos I took on both legs, plus some rider photos are at this link. There are duplicates of some shots.

Now that the Shakedown Rally is over, my fuel cell cover is on the bike, as is the Russell Saddle.  This is the bike, Rally Ready for the Iron Butt Rally in June 2011.


I'd like to give a special shoutout to the Hickman family for tolerating us, the slave labor provided by Eric, Mark and Steve for helping the RM keep us straight, and certainly to my fellow riders, all of whom rode a good - safe ride and came home mostly unscathed.

Oh yeah - "What's the point of a Rally?" Personal challange. Unlike Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, there are no medals from the Queen, no press conferences, no riches and no fame. Once in a while there's a pat on the back with an attaboy, a certificate that we can frame - or like some of us - to stick it in a folder. Usually, it's nothing more than hearing your name read off with your finishing position, in the company of the RM, Slave Labor and your fellow riders - before you hop on your scooter and get yourself home in time for work, just like you did before you rode that last rally.

To quote Sir E. Hillary: "...why make a fuss over something that's done anyway? I was never one to obsess about the past. Too much to do in the future!"

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Nom de Plume:
Steve Aikens, Clovis, NM
[email protected]
IBA # 8404