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2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Day of Rest - Sturgis

The Cannonball Stops Long Enough To Mend Old Bones And Older Steeds

By Christine Paige Diers, Photos By Buck Lovell

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Friday, September 14, 2012 is the one and only “rest day” on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball – and it’s happening in Sturgis, South Dakota. What is called a rest day is for most of these adventurers really a day to work on their bikes – some even performing major overhauls. At a number of locations around town, old iron can be seen in various states of repair. Some with engines completely missing, others with oil being drained out, and still others looking like they are completely intact.
Walking amongst the riders and crews and listening to them talk about all the work to be done might even make you wonder why anyone would take on this project. Then you talk to just one or two of them, and it becomes obvious that their passion for the history of motorcycling is the real reason for their participation.


One Cannonball rider is Randy Hassler from St. Louis.Randy has restored a couple of old bikes, and likes working on motorcycles, but he’s never owned anything as old as 1930. Two years ago, when the first Motorcycle Cannonball came to within a few hours of his house, he went to Arkansas to see the riders. He ended up helping with some repairs, and was hooked on the concept of doing a cross-country ride on an old bike. When the 2012 Cannonball was announced, he found a 1926 Harley-Davidson, and bought it. While the bike was in working order when he purchased it, Randy says he still completely rebuilt it for the ride. Randy’s “road crew” consists of three women – none of whom work on the bike. They drive the truck, keep him in clean clothes and provide moral support – but all of the work that needs to be done on his bike, he’s the one who does it.


Just a few yards away from Randy, was the Cannonball’s youngest rider, Buck Carson.Buck turned 21 five days into the ride.Buck says he’s been working on old motorcycles for 14 years (yes, really).He and his dad restore motorcycles, and he’s a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Buck says one of the reasons he wanted to ride on the Cannonball is to encourage more young people to take an interest in antique motorcycles. A recent survey by the AMCA indicated that the average age of the club’s members is 55, and Buck would like to lower that average considerably. Buck is riding a 1927 BSA single. He’s one of only 8 people in the single class, and on his birthday, he took the lead in points for that class. 
One of the best things about this ride, Randy says, is people helping people – he says all the riders are great about sharing parts, expertise and assistance. Buck considers the Motorcycle Cannonball to be the experience of a lifetime.

The 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball set out from Newburgh, New York on September 7th, and will conclude in San Francisco, California on September 23.  Riders are given their route for the day each morning.  They must finish the outlined route in the time allowed on their motorcycle in order to get full points for that day.  If their bike has to be transported via truck or trailer, they lose points, and if they do not arrive on time, they lose points.  This one day in Sturgis is their only down day – and most would agree that the best part of this rest has actually been the fact that they could sleep for a whole 8 hours. 

Information about the ride as it progresses is available at


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