The weary road warriors arrived in Sturgis, South Dakota and promptly set about celebrating their success thus far. With an astonishing 54 racers with perfect scores, the goal to make every mile has turned intense. Today’s one day of rest is an opportunity to twist wrenches, tune and time the tired old iron and prepare for higher temperatures and elevations as the journey takes the fearless riders out into the western half of America. Cornfields and soybeans will be replaced by vast spans of open range and roaming animals as the caravan ventures into Montana tomorrow. Class I riders, Chris Tribbey and Dean Bordigioni, in first and second place respectively, are about to find out how their simple singles like the higher elevations through Montana mountain ranges and beyond.
The top four positions on the score board are all held by different marques: Tribbey, who is employed by Harley-Davidson, is riding an Excelsior while Bordigioni, a California winemaker, is atop a Harley-Davidson. Third and forth place riders, Byrne Bramwell from Canada and Fred Wacker from Illinois, are both on 1913s, one is a Henderson, the other an Indian.
The Cannonball ladies are not only enjoying themselves, they are also running strong. Three of the four gals are first time Cannonballers and holding perfect scores. Cris Sommer-Simmons is a 4 time competitor and her 1915 H-D, Effie, is familiar with the routine but likes to give Cris grief every now and then and spent two days with less than perfect scores. Commercial airline pilot, Andrea Labarbara, is in 5th place on her 1913 Henderson. Land speed record holder Jody Perewitz left Maine with a goal to be the first woman to complete all the miles with her 1926 Harley-Davidson JD. She currently holds 40th place. Kersten Heling, on a 1922 H-D, is being torn between the thrill of the ride and the love of her family that consists of three little boys, the youngest of which is not even 1 year old. Kirsten started the run with a contingency plan to leave if she missed her children, but she shared yesterday that she’s decided to stay with the run until the end. “My husband took the boys and went home yesterday and I had a good cry since I’m going to miss my family, but the Cannonball has become like family, too. They really have..so I’m going to finish. I’m hoping that someday my kids look at my doing this and say, “My mom is a badass.”
Tuesday’s ride will cover 299 miles and end with a hosted dinner at Beartooth Harley-Davidson in Billings, Montana.