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Thursday Edition

Mid America Freedom Rally

From sunrise to moonshine with the Freedom of Road Riders of Missouri

By David Campbell

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In January I received a note from Bandit asking if I was up for covering the Mid America Freedom Rally in Buckhorn Missouri. Well being a Missouri boy, relocated to Colorado, I jumped at the idea of a ride back to my old stomping grounds. After a few email with Sue Miller secretary for Freedom of Road Riders of Missouri, I was all set. I know you have heard this many times before but it rings true, "its not the destination but the journey that makes the trip". This journey brought home some good feelings. It opened a place in my heart that I think more of us need to look at. Memorial Day weekend is seen by many as a start to summer, a time to party. The meaning is much deeper and should as it does to me bring a tear to your eye. As I started out on my journey I was just looking to get away from the cold and rain of Denver. Put down some long miles and clear the cobwebs from my mind. Winter will put a fog on you and this spring was not helping.

The trip started out well with a lull in the rain, so I made a break for Kansas. Not wanting to travel the interstate I dropped down HY287 and caught HY50 in Lamar Colorado. Heading east into Kansas I got my first indication of why I was heading to Missouri. HY50 is the Kansas Veterans memorial highway. I know Kansas has more history markers that any other state but those markers make you think, or they should. I passed by the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery at Fort Dodge and a lump came to my throat. Now I am not a vet, but I do hold the utmost respect for those that have served this country. I graduated in the late 70s, I signed up for the draft but my services were not needed. I got married, had kids, and worked as did most from my generation. Passing memorial after memorial, town squares with flags flown proudly and military exhibits in the court yards. This is America. This is what Memorial Day is about, the men and women of our military that have given selflessly so we can enjoy the freedoms this country has to offer.

From the moment I arrived at the rally I was welcomed with open arms. Even as I set up my tent, Britt, Sue's husband handed me a mason jar. That started the moonshine drinking last lasted the whole weekend. The favorite local drink is apple pie moonshine. I sampled some of the best made and thanks to all that handed me a jar.

Freedom of Road Riders of Missouri are a not-for-profit group supporting legislation for riders rights and the rally is a way of generating awareness and raising some funds. The Freedom Road Riders are not just about helmet laws, the group fights for rights such as Equal Access to Riders, Anti-Health/Insurance Discrimination, and Drivers Safety Training, to name a few. They have locals all over the state. I was impressed with their dedication and meeting with Anita Servos, the groups president, I got a taste of the passion that the group has for what they do. Everyone joins in and takes on a job. Security, clean up, concerts, poker run, all of these activities take a lot of man power and coordination. This is a good group for a donation if your looking.

This is the 27th year the Freedom of Road Riders of Missouri have put on the Mid America Freedom Rally. The rally started out at Freeburg Mo in 1988 but found a home at the Richard Eagle Shrine Park in 1995. Freedom Riders work with the FLW Shrine Club to improve the park and keep it up. Each of the locals have a space where they have erected a pavilion and that is where they hang out. At Halloween the Freedom Riders put on a haunted house for the kids as a way to raise a few dollars and give back to the community. They decorate their pavilions and have a great time giving the kids a scare.

As the evening set in I made my way up to the Green Dragon bar, one of the many pavilions. The stripper pole was occupied and the karaoke machine was extra loud to cover up the musical mistakes of the patrons. All over the campground individual parties were hopping, Everywhere you went you made a new friend. This is what rally’s are all about. Celebrating events, making new friends, and connecting with old friends. I know I made a few new friends this trip.

This year Shena Thompson took of the concert coordination running a smooth operation. We had live music every night from local bands to a nationally known closing act. Even though most were local bands they rocked the house and brought the crowd out even through the rain. Backlash, Aces Wild, Slick Nickel, and Full Moon Band were local and did a great job. Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils stopped in on their Route 66 nation wide tour. Nationally know American Hitmen came in from Salt Lake City to close down the house Sunday night. As a band of veterans they were a great choice for the Memorial Day celebration. A rockin band to finish of a sweet weekend.

This years attendance of approximately 2000 riders was down a little, Sue attributed that to the scare of rain. We did have a little rain each day but not enough to to stop the hearty party'rs. Throw on some rain gear and grab some moonshine. That will keel you warm and put a smile on your face.

The poker run took me through some a the beautiful rolling hills and curves of Missouri. The sun came out and I took the short poker run about 100 miles through farms, ranches, and woods. Missouri is pretty conservative with their curve warning speed limits and I found adding about 20 to the posted number made them a smooth ride. I took the short run as I needed to make it back for some biker games. The long ride was a 200 miles and almost made it to Arkansas.

This was a Memorial Day Weekend event and the rally did not disappoint. They had the presentation of the flags and had each arm of the military represented. A rousing speech and musical tribute to those that serve brought a tear to my eye and lump in my throat. Chatting with Vernon from Outlaw Biker we both got sentimental over the ceremony. later that night they had Missouri Thunder where at midnight hundreds of bikes sounded off to salute this great nation and let the local community and anyone else who would listed know that we are still here and still a force to be reckoned with.

As any good old school biker rally should, MAFR had their share of biker games. The was a twist. A few games I hadn't seen and Sue says they change them up every year. Wouldn't want the rally to get stale. New ones this year were the stuffed animal pick up and close-line games. Now I like my biker games but there even better when the rider is topless. We had a good share of that for these games. Them Missouri gals are nice and the men are proud. Plenty of excellent scenery.

Plenty of contest for everyone, the wet t-shirt, best buns, and Ms. MAFR were all big draws. With something for both the men and women.

Sunday brought the ride in bike show. With some nice examples in each class. I believe my favorite was Megan Oneal and her Sportster. I am a true believer in showing what ya rode and show. Nothing sexier that a gal who knows how to ride and rides like she means it. Not only did she ride but she made an excellent showing in the wet t-shirt contest and was one of the best looking gals at the event.

Monday came way too early and it was time to roll up my sleeping bag and hit the road. As I backed up the bike I was handed a mason jar of apple cinnamon moonshine and told that it would keep me warm on my ride home. Did he know something I didn't ? Well it came if handy as I hit one hell of a rain storm heading though Arkansas on my way to Dallas, my next stop on this 2500 mile trip.


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Reader Comments

I had an absolutely amazing time at Buckhorn, and I can't wait to go back. I really appreciate your compliments and will see you next year on an even bigger badder bike.

Much love


megan oneal
columbia, MO
Monday, October 12, 2015
Thanks to David for a wonderful article for the MAFR, which I am a Committee Member of. We had a great time for all and anyone from the Bikernet is welcome to come. Just give me a holler as we say here in Missouri!

Sue Miller
Waynesville, MO
Saturday, October 10, 2015

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