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2021 Smackdab Run smashes attendance record

Aided by nearly perfect weather conditions this year, the seventh Smackdab Summer Solstice Run beat the event’s previous largest turnout by a margin of more than 25 percent. This year, over 120 people completed the ride, including both riders and co-riders, with more still coming in.

The 2018 running had previously held the record with 94 confirmed finishers.

This year also marked a new record for oldest bike, at 44 years old. Calep H. of Mission KS made the ride on his 1977 BMW R100/7. In doing so, he became the third bike in the “25-Years-or-Older” Club. Kirk B. of Solomon KS and Steve & Geraldine B. of Newton became the initial members in 2019 by riding their 1990 Yamaha XV750 Virago and 1979 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing, respectively. Steve & Geraldine repeated the ride on the same bike this year.

Friday Evening Event Returns For 2021

After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, there will again be a get-together and meal on Friday evening, starting around 6PM. The event will be held the Old Dutch Mill in Smith Center’s Wagner Park. The Smith County Historical group will be hosting the meal, and donations are strongly encouraged. Watch the Facebook Smackdab group for any further details.

Wagner Park
200 E 3rd St, Smith Center, KS 66967
Google Maps Link

59 Finish A “Socially Distanced” Smackdab #6

Despite having to revise how Smackdab was run this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, forty-eight riders and eleven co-riders successfully completed the 2020 Smackdab Summer Solstice Run. Participants “checked in” at the start and finish of the ride by texting pictures of themselves in Lebanon and Rugby to a special, dedicated number set up specifically for this purpose. The procedure proved successful and was well-liked enough by the riders that it is likely to remain a part of the validation process in years to come. Related activities such as the Friday night cookout, Saturday morning breakfast, and group photos didn’t happen this year, but organizers are hopeful that they will return as a part of the event next year.

Full camping amenities in Rugby confirmed for 2020

Laurie Odden of Rugby has confirmed that camping facilities, including bathrooms and shows, will be available in Rugby after the run on Saturday night, June 20. The fairgrounds will be available on a first come first serve basis, as well as the Oakwood Inn & Campground (701-776-5272).

New “Virtual” validation process in place for Smackdab 2020


In order to eliminate the need for physical interaction, Smackdab riders will be able to complete and validate their ride all on their own. This year only, there will be no morning meeting, no sign-in station, no Trail Boss, and no group photo. The validation process this year will be entirely “virtual.”

This article is just a brief synopsis of the process. Within the next few days, a PDF document containing complete, detailed instructions will be E-mailed to all registered participants at the address they specified when they filled out their registration form.

DEPARTURE: Have a camera or cell phone with you when you show up at the monument Saturday morning. A Smackdab banner will be on display somewhere at the monument site. Take a picture of you and your bike, including the banner somewhere in the background as proof that it was taken that morning. Text the photo to the special mobile number that will be e-mailed to registered riders. Riders are on their honor not to depart prior to official dawn, which is @ 5:34 AM. (If you do not have a cell phone or cannot text a photo, instructions will be included how to alternately E-mail or mail in your photo.)

ARRIVAL: Text another photo of you and your bike at the monument in Rugby and submit it prior to 10:30 PM Saturday night. If are not able to text a photo before the deadline, you can submit your photos along with an original, machine-printed cash register receipt from any business in Rugby, time-stamped between 4PM-10:30PM Saturday.

That’s it! The PDF document being sent out also will also include the mail-in form for ordering patches and being added to the official finishers’ roll.

NOTE: A couple of people registered with invalid E-mail addresses. If you registered and don’t receive your instructions by June 7th, please E-mail to request one.

Smackdab T-Shirts now available

Enough people have bugged me about t-shirts that I created a Redbubble shop. You can now order Smackdab t-shirts online in 5 different colors.

PLEASE NOTE that I am NOT making a profit on these shirts. Like all other Smackdab merchandise, I am selling these at cost, with zero mark-up. I simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of bulk ordering t-shirts, so if you want one, this is the only place to get ’em.

Shirts are available in Red, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, Green, & Black.

90 Riders Participate In Smackdab #5

Despite spring flooding that closed bridges and washed out highways, and a very stormy Friday prior to the ride, ninety dedicated riders aboard 74 motorcycles showed up outside Lebanon in the early hours of June 22, 2019 for the fifth edition of the Smackdab Summer Solstice Run. Violent thundershowers rolled through the area between 4–5 AM, but by the time they gathered at the monument at 5:30 for the riders’ meeting and group photo, the rain had stopped. After the singing of the National Anthem, they headed out. Many riders found themselves back in heavy rain again for a good portion of South Dakota, but as the sun set in Rugby, the sky was clear as a record number of riders posed for the victory photo.

Thanks to everyone who helped plan this year’s ride, especially the great folks in Smith Center that cooked hamburgers for us Friday night and brought cinnamon rolls and beverages to the monument Saturday morning.

Alternative Route due to closures on US 281

Map image of the Smackdab route, showing the detour in Nebraska in red.
Click to view full size image of route map. 

Due to a bridge washout this spring, US Route 281 is closed at the Neobrara River, just south of Spencer, NE. With less than three weeks to go until Smackdab 2019, the closest alternative bridge over the river on State Hwy 11 near Butte NE is currently also closed due to flooding. The recommended alternate route [shown in red on the map above] is to divert from US 281 at Grand Island NE, take US 30 to NE 14, and cross the Niobrara River over the Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge, then wiggle your way back to 281 north of Wagner. You can then follow the usual route all the way up to US 2 at Devil’s Lake. This route is all on US and State highways—no big Interstates and no tiny, rough back roads. From Google Street View, these roads look very nice. This detour only adds about 13 additional miles to the ride.

For those who want to explore the route, here is a Google MyMaps link to the suggested alternate route for this year’s run:
You can also download a KML/KMZ file from the link to import into your GPS.

Further discussion of routes and detours is ongoing in our Facebook group.

Smackdab 2019 Recommended Alternate Route – 688 mi, 11H:46M
START: Geographic Center of the Contiguous U.S. Monument, Lebanon KS 66952
Head east on KS-191 East 1.0 mi Turn LEFT onto US-281 N
Follow US-281 North 81.6 mi Turn RIGHT onto US-30 E
Follow US-30*  East 24.7 mi Turn LEFT onto NE-14 N
Follow NE-14 North 122.0 mi Cross the Missouri River into SD
Follow SD-37 North 20.6 mi Turn LEFT onto SD-50
Follow SD-50 W & N 31.2 mi Continue STRAIGHT to rejoin US-281
Follow US-281 North 372.7 mi Turn LEFT onto US-2
Follow US-2 West 34.1 mi ARRIVE
END: Geographical Center of North America Monument, 272 US-2, Rugby ND 58368
*US-30 splits into two 1-way streets in Grand Island
Routes can turn unexpectedly at intersections and sometimes run concurrently with local street names and sections of other US/State highways.

These instructions can also be downloaded as an image for easy printing:

DISCLAIMER: This route has been developed solely from online resources. A reasonable amount of effort was put into researching these roads, but nobody has actually ridden the whole thing from end to end yet. There may be some surprises along the way on the day of the ride; you are the only one ultimately responsible for your safety and for figuring out how to reach the destination. Use common sense and do some reality checks along the way.