#7 Steve Rinker
1929 Indian 101 Scout
Steve Rinker (#7) of Buck’s Indian, located in Romney, WV, Is returning for his fourth Motorcycle Cannonball. Participation in the Cannonball to me is much more than just man versus machine, it’s making the imagination of a 12 year old boy come true. It all started with my dad, Buck, who had his first motorcycle at the age of 12. My dad always tells about when he and his buddies were 12 and they had an old Indian, with no motor, which they would take turns pushing to the top of the hill, climb on and ride it to the bottom pretending to be on some grand motorcycle adventure. Wonder if they ever had visions of crossing the Mississippi River, riding through the fields of the Midwest, or riding up and over the Rocky Mountains?
When the Cannonball was first born in 2010, Lonnie Jr. invited us to participate, but we had no bike to compete with. I’ve always wanted to do something rare and unique with our bikes, so when the 2012 Run came around and the cut-off was 1929, it was time. It would be a once in a lifetime event to complete with my father. I ran my 29 Indian Scout and after 3 days of breakdowns, I learned that old bikes, no matter how much love you have for them, they will not always perform to our hearts desire. Having packed up and headed home 83 miles from the finish on the last day, I made a promise to my dad to attempt it again more prepared to be successful.
In 2014, I ran a 36 Chief, and successfully completed the Endurance Run with a perfect score completing every mile with no penalties! Greeting each other at the finish line, it was more than father and son, it was the culmination of making a 12 year olds adventures become a reality.
In the spring of 2014, we had purchased a 1916 Indian Power Plus at the Oley swapmeet and I can remember Lonnie Jr. admiring the bike and telling my dad how much he would love to see us get the bike up and running and compete in the Cannonball with it. For me, something that early was going to be a whole new learning curve. A new challenge! During the prep for the 2016 Cannonball, as I started gathering as many parts as I could, I found that I ended up buying basket cases to get the parts that I felt we might need for spares. In the spring of 2015, I got the idea of really trying to do something big to make it a 3 generation challenge for our family. Justin and Jared knew we had enough parts to build a second bike and they contacted Lonnie Jr. and secured a spot for the second bike for them to share and ride. They were excited! Well, we all were!!! As building progressed, and we continued to acquire spare parts, a third bike was born. Once again, Justin and Jared contacted Lonnie Jr. to let them put the third bike in. It ended up that Buck’s Indian had three 1916 Indian Power Plus bikes starting on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ and crossing the finish line in Carlsbad, CA. Two of the three bikes completed every mile and finished with a perfect score while the third only lost a few miles on the first and second day and completed every mile thereafter. What a ride! This time, at the finish line, father, son and grandsons hugged. And as my father said with a proud voice, “We did it,” it was at that moment that the dreams of a 12 year old came true.
At Bloomington, Indiana, we even had a 4th generation, my grandson, Karson, pitch in and do his part on the nightly maintenance. So, as he learns to ride his bikes, we will only wonder where his imagination takes him. As a 4th generation Indian enthusiast, hopefully one day it will take him on a great Cannonball adventure.