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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.


New Decals Available Soon

Based on feedback from the members of the Smackdab Facebook group, this design has been adopted for a 3″x4″ oval decal. These vinyl decals will be suitable for use indoors or out. They may or may not arrive prior to this year’s run, but riders will have the option of adding a set of 3 for an additional $2 when they mail in for their finisher’s patch.

Rugby providing reserved camping for Smackdabbers.

Darylanna Durkee of the Rugby Convention & Visitors Bureau has reserved the fairgrounds in Rugby for Saturday, June 22nd for those who’d like to camp. RV’s, campers, or tents are allowed. There is no electricity and vehicles must be self contained, but Rugby does have a dump station in town. There are public restrooms & showers at the fairgrounds. There is no charge to use the camping space, but riders are asked to make a donation at our city hall.

The Prairie Village Museum is also a Harvest Host (you can camp for free if you pay admission to the museum) & will be having their 7th Annual Rhubarb Festival Sunday, June 23rd! Please reach out to Darylanna with any additional questions at (701) 776-5846 or at

Online registration for Smackdab #5 is open!

Riders wanting to register for the June 22, 2019 Smackdab Summer Solstice Run can now do so at This year, the registration form has been expanded. This will enhance our record keeping, streamline the sign-up process the morning of the ride, and provide more useful data to our partners in Smith Center, Lebanon, and Rugby.

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

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 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.