2021 Underdog Rally

The inaugural 6-day Underdog Rally was based out of Springfield, MO.  A checkpoint in Laramie, Wyoming brings the riders back together for a short rest.  I’m traveling to the start and finish of the rally in Springfield for some photography work.  The planning leading up to the rally started in 2020, of which I had a minimal role in that effort.  The commitment of a rally master is no small job with securing the lodging, working on the bonus list with others, ordering swag/awards and many other duties including a lot of road miles within the rally itself.  Troy Martin put in countless hours as rally master and John Frick worked diligently putting together the bonus locations.

June 4, 2021
The weather looked fantastic for my ride up to Springfield for the rally start.  The route included some stops for the Butt Lite Grand Tour and the AULDR to pick up some criteria in a couple of new states.

Judge Faulkner’s Cabin was a BLX stop in Sallisaw, OK.  This was a good place to get off of the bike for a snack and short rest after the 250 mile ride from home.  This cabin was moved from Akins, OK in 1957 as part of Oklahoma’s 50th birthday.  The cabin was  was originally erected before the Civil War by Faulkner, who came to Indian Territory in the 1930’s during the Trail of Tears.  Judge Faulkner was accepted into the Cherokee tribe as a leader after he married a Cherokee woman.

I continued on along the Oklahoma/Arkansas border with some quick stops for AULDR and BLX boni.

Eric Vaillancourt was rolling through the parking lot on his scooter as I arrived.  Eric and Cletha will be doing the Scooter Cannonball soon traveling with other small bikes across the United States.  Riders were starting to show up and checking in with Troy.  I visited with my long-distance friends and made new ones.

June 5, 2021

The rally team continued with the final prep while Cletha facilitated tech inspections.  Eric with his vast mechanical knowledge helped out with a fuel tank issue.

Troy shared his experience and tips for rallying with the riders.  More socializing was in order for the afternoon.

After dinner, the rally packets were handed out and immediate silence ensued while riders began envisioning where their journeys would take them over the next several days.  It did not take long for the room to empty out so everyone could plan their route and get some sleep before the early departure the next day.

June 6, 2021
Riders started milling about in the lobby, grabbing a quick breakfast and packing up their bikes.

Troy held a final riders meeting.  There were no last-minute additions to the boni, which often throws a kink into plans.  Ben Ernst showed up on his way through to some other distant place.  He does love the ride, and a lot of it.

The time came to ride.  There would be many miles and hours between Springfield and Laramie for the next three days.

I packed up my bike and headed out into rain showers in southern Missouri.  The Beaver suspension bridge on the border was a treat.  This was yet another stop for my BLX Grand Tour as well as the Indian head sculpture in Oklahoma.  A train station in Fayetteville and the Mountain Pass Scenic Byway were stops for the AULDR.  The weather cleared to sunny skies for the remainder of the ride home.

June 9, 2021

Troy and Erin made the drive from Springfield to Laramie for the checkpoint.  I had been monitoring rider positions around the US on the Spotwalla site.  Everyone arrived safely and on time – always a good thing.  Troy published the scoring as of the checkpoint on Wednesday.

June 11, 2021
The weather looked nice for my return to Springfield for the finish.

I worked my way through Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas picking up some BLX Grand Tour and AULDR stops.  I always enjoy getting back on the Route 66 original roads.  The Rainbow Curve Bridge in Kansas was a treat, thinking of all of the tourists making their way from Chicago to Santa Monica so many years back.

The riders were still far away from Springfield as I arrived at the hotel.  They had plenty of time to get to the finish before the 6 AM deadline.  I wandered around a bit and decided to swing by Four by Four Brewery for some new tastes.

John rolled in about the same time I came back to the hotel.

The first rider back in the stall arrived around 9:30 and others arrived all through the morning until right on top of the 6:00 AM deadline.

Some riders disappeared for a morning nap followed by socializing.

After dinner, Troy awarded the trophies to the top three and planks for all of the finishers.

June 12, 2021
The weather looked nice for my return to Springfield for the finish.

I picked up additional BLX and AULDR stops on the way home.  Fun times!

Rally Photos https://photos.app.goo.gl/N4yZrix2MskjmfzQ6

“Commute” Track Logs  https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/202106-underdograllycommuteroutes-b6f97e6

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