Category Archives: News

Weather Forecast for Smackdab 2018

With four days to go until Smackdab 2018, the weather forecast for this weekend looks fairly promising. At this point, no severe weather is expected along the route. The extremely high winds riders had to endure last year also seem unlikely. While rain is not predicted for the departure, it is likely that most riders will encounter at least some light rain during the ride northward, and perhaps some localized thundershowers. (But if you’re going to cross the plains in June, you should always have rain gear with you, and expect to use it at some point.)

The forecast could change drastically over the next couple of days. We will continue to watch the weather as the weekend approaches.

Friday Night Cookout

The Smith Center Chamber of Commerce and American Legion Riders invite all SmackDab riders to an evening in the park on Friday, June 22 2018 — the eve of the ride. The Legion Riders will be grilling hamburgers (plus all of the goodies to go with that) and a couple of local performers will provide some music and down-home entertainment while you eat. It will start around 5:00 pm, so that riders will be able to eat and relax a little, yet still hit the sack early.

If you like to attend, RSVP by contacting Diane Peterson at the Smith Center CoC office by calling 785-282-3895 or emailing scchamber@smithcenterks.com

IMPORTANT Patch Discount Policy Update

Due to the unexpected increase in early registrations for this year’s run, the qualifications for the discount on patches has been revised. This year, we must cap the half-price patch eligibility to the FIRST 100 RIDERS only. The Smith Center Chamber of Commerce subsidizes the purchase of these patches and their budget is not unlimited. To date (February 27, 2018), 71 riders and co-riders have registered.

Also, we’re now specifying the discount Chamber of Commerce will chip-in as a set $5 per patch. For this year, that’s still the same “half price” as in the past, but I have been cautioned by our supplier that the cost of patches will be going up. This change in language insulates the CoC’s contribution from future increases in the cost of patches.

Camping in Lebanon & Rugby

The US Center Foundation confirmed that camping WILL be available in Lebanon again this year. Harmony Park is located in the center of town, at the corner of Main Street and Kansas Ave. Bathrooms will available, but no showers. For those of you who don’t want to have to get up any earlier and ride any more miles than necessary that day, this is about as close to the departure point as you can spend the night.

Camping in Rugby on Saturday night is available at the Pierce County Fairgrounds The Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau would like a count of how many will be camping at the site, so riders who are interested in camping at the fairground; a note to info@smackdab281.org the organizer or a post in our Facebook group would be appreciated. Camping is also available within walking distance of the monument at the Oakwood Inn & Campground on US Hwy 2.

Press Release – Fourth Annual Smackdab Summer Solstice Run Expected To Be Largest Yet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fourth Annual Smackdab Summer Solstice Run Expected To Be Largest Yet

LEBANON, KS — Saturday, June 23, 2018 will mark the fourth annual Smackdab Summer Solstice Run, a one-day, 675-mile motorcycle tour held between dawn and dusk on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice. The ride starts between dawn and sunrise at the monument marking the Geographic Center of the 48 Contiguous States, just outside Lebanon, Kansas. Riders head north toward a similar monument marking the Geographic Center of North America in Rugby, North Dakota, and must arrive by dusk. The event is not a group ride. Participants ride individually, travel at their own pace, and stop whenever and wherever they like. There is no registration fee; the only expense is the optional purchase of an embroidered patch, which is offered to verified finishers at cost.

The Smackdab Summer Solstice Run is the brainchild of Peter Zilliox, a motorcyclist from Kansas City. “It’s a very grass-roots, unstructured thing,” Zilliox said. “I originally conceived of the trip as something to do with my wife and a riding buddy of ours. The three of us had previously explored a lot of rural Kansas by motorcycle, and I was looking for a new adventure. But it was a quirky enough idea that I posted an invitation on an online riders’ forum, and a dozen others joined us for that first run in 2015. So, I had some finisher’s patches made up for everyone. Several prospective riders who couldn’t make the inaugural trip expressed an interest in continuing it as an annual event. The next year, a totally new crop of riders completed the trip, and then participation really skyrocketed in 2017.”

A total of 87 riders—eighty motorcyclists plus seven co-riders—completed the most recent Smackdab Summer Solstice Run last June. This year, participation is expected to be even greater. “Most of our growth has been through word-of-mouth and social media,” Zilliox said. “I’m amazed how many people have expressed interest in this year’s event. Online registration went live on January 10th, and less than a month later we already have more than 30 riders signed up.”

The ride starts twelve miles south of the Kansas–Nebraska border, just off US Highway 281. The solstice allows over sixteen hours to ride the 675 miles across Nebraska and South Dakota, then through most of North Dakota. The route follows Highway 281 north for 95 percent of the trip, until it turns west on US Highway 2 for the final 34 miles into Rugby, North Dakota, which is within 50 miles of the Canadian border. Just before dusk, finishers gather at the monument in Rugby to swap stories of the road and share a great sense of accomplishment.

“All types of bikes make the ride, even as small as 250 cc’s,” Zilliox said. “From Harley dressers to adventure bikes to trikes—any motorcyclist is welcome to show up and ride. It’s just an excuse to spend a day exploring some new territory on a bike, meet other bikers, and have a bit of adventure.”

For more information and photos, or to register, visit the Smackdab website at http://smackdab281.org

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This press release is available for distribution as a PDF file: Smackdab-Press-Rel_2018-02.pdf

New Alternative Validation Method

The past couple of years, a small number of participants have asked me how they can be counted as a finisher without being present at the sundown meet-up in Rugby. While it’s my firm opinion that the camaraderie of starting and finishing the ride as a group is an integral part of the Smackdab experience, I understand that some folks simply can’t hang around and spend the night in Rugby. Therefore, for 2018 a new alternative validation method is available for those who cannot be at monument when the sun sets. See the Riding Smackdab page for all the details.

New Photos Added

I finally got around to posting a bunch of photos from Smackdab ’17 that had been posted by members of our Facebook group. Thanks to Kent W. and Jay O. for permission to include their photos here.

2018 Registration is now live

The riders’ registration form for this year’s run is now available on the Registration page.
Last year there was some confusion about how to handle co-riders. For Smackdab 2018, the registration form includes an additional field to specify a co-rider. This should clarify and simplify the registration process for two passengers on one bike.

You can find the registration for here.

Smackdab Run #3 Grew Dramatically

On June 24, 2017, eighty-seven riders — 80 motorcycles plus 7 co-riders — participated in the third annual Smackdab Summer Solstice Run. This was by far the biggest and most successful Smackdab yet! The great residents of Smith Center, Kansas gave us all a great send-off with homemade cinnamon rolls, coffee, and juice. Rider also got plenty of trail mix for the road, courtesy of the Lebanon, Kansas Hub Club. Despite slightly cool temperatures, some strong cross winds, and light rain showers here and there along the route, riders told us they had a great time. Unfortunately, we also had one DNF this year, due to a charging system failure. (Come back and give it another go next year, Tyler!)
This year’s much larger crowd of riders showed where some minor improvements to the event can be made, and we’ll be tweaking the ride slightly next year in light of the great suggestions riders and local residents gave us.