On the Road with the Motorcycle Cannonball Run


Hello from the Cannonball Run. Photo by Z. Clift

Hello from the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball Run! The riders are now in Hot Springs and it seems to have been a great adventure for them so far since leaving Kitty Hawk, North Carolina a week ago. Yesterday riders crossed the bridge into Arkansas at Helena-West Helena to start their Arkansas adventure.  ADPT photographer Chuck Haralson and I followed the riders on their journey from Lula, MS to Hot Springs. It was a lovely Thursday and a good day to be exploring the back roads via vintage motorcycles.

Katrin Bohner of Germany visits Stuttgart, Arkansas. Photo by Z. Clift.

The first pit stop on their journey (they traveled around 200 miles that day) was Stuttgart, known as the rice and duck capital of the world. Each November, the town hosts the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, the longest running calling contest in history ( this year marks the 75th anniversary of the event on November  27).  Two riders on the ride ( Katrin Bohner and her husband Diter Eckel) are  from Germany which was fitting as the town is named after the country. George Adam Buerkle of Palttenhardt, Germany is considered the founder of Stuttgart, Arkansas,( which was  incorporated in 1889). The town is named after the town in Germany near where he was born. As a token of camaraderie, representatives in town gave the couple a duck call.  After resting a bit and repairing bikes and refueling, riders departed for Hot Springs.  Rider Buzz Canter, member of the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) Hall of Fame, gives a video report from town that can be found here.

Scene from the Cannonball Run. Photo by Z. Clift

The riders pulled into the back of Hot Springs Convention Center and parked and showed their bikes to the public, who had come out to cheer them as they ended Stage 7 of their journey.  Among the riders on the journey is Arkansan Johan A Hollansworth of Hot Springs Village, who is riding a 1914 Indian classic bike. Hollansworth is a veteran of 15 cross-country car races and is a former car racer. The riders will be in Hot Springs all day today ( a rest
day for them and their bikes will be displayed at the Hot Springs Convention Center ) and depart for Fort Smith tomorrow.

Overall, they will be on the road
until September 26 covering 3,320 miles on the journey to Santa, Monica, CA.

Bikes displayed for viewing. Photo by Z. Clift.

The ride is the brainchild of Lonnie Isam, Jr., owner of Jurassic Racing in Sturgis, South Dakota. The event is being divided into 16 stages and requires that participants ride classic pre-1916 motorcycles such as Pope, Sears, Flying Merkel, Excelsior, Henderson, Indian, Triumph, and the Harley-Davidson’s Silent Grey Fellows. The event is bringing together an interesting mix of participants. Among them is Japanese born motorcycle builder Shinya Kimura; Frank Wesley Buddy Stubbs, the well-known and long-time owner of two Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships in central Arizona whose background includes stints as a motorcycle racer and a Hollywood stuntman and Cristine Sommer-Simmons, journalist and wife of rock and roller Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers. And many more. A complete rundown of everyone’s bio is available here.  Be on the lookout for them riding the backroads of Arkansas. Enjoy and come out to Hot Springs and meet the riders (and their bikes) if you get a chance!

Fueling up along the route. Photo by Z. Clift.
On the road. Photo by Z. Clift
Welcoming the Cannonball Run to town. Photo by Z. Clift
Arkansan John A Hollansworth of Hot Springs Village is riding a 1914 Indian classic bike in the run. Photo by Z. Clift.

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