Iron Butt Association

The Iron Butt Association (IBA) is a US-based organization dedicated to endurance motorcycle riding, which claims membership of over 75,000 people.

US-based organization dedicated to endurance motorcycle riding
Iron Butt Association
Abbreviation IBA
Formation 1984
75,000+[1] (A membership roster is maintained[2])
Website Official site

The IBA is a loose-knit organization with only one way to earn membership: ride one of the several rides the IBA certifies. The minimum is the Saddle Sore 1000 – 1,000 miles (1,600 km) in 24 hours or less. Entry into the Iron Butt Rally is by lottery only and every lottery entry must be an Iron Butt Member first.[3]

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The Iron Ass Rally first ran in 1984 with 10 riders.[4] From 1984 to 1987 the rally started from Montgomeryville Cycle Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Iron Butt was not held again until 1991 when it came under the management of the Iron Butt Association. While the basic format of the original rally remained, two important things changed: to ensure the quality of the event, the rally is run every other year, and the starting and ending points are rotated to different locations within the United States. 107 riders started and 89 finished the latest Iron Butt Rally, which ran in 2017.

Beginning in 1993, shorter rides were arranged that lasted in duration from one to many days, and while the Iron Butt Rally is a large, organized event with a plotted course, the other rides are left up to the competitor to accomplish at their own accord. Some riders prefer to complete a ride solo, while some clubs have arranged rides in groups of up to 30 riders. But while the Rally is a monitored event, the riders of other events must monitor themselves. An example is the Saddle Sore 1000, where thorough documentation of the ride must be made, by collecting time-stamped gas and business receipts along the way, and by keeping a trip log recording mileage and location. These documents are then submitted by mail with a fee to the IBA, where it is then processed and an award given if the requirements are met.

The Iron Butt Association has members around the world. Those in the UK[5] run their own rally each year called the Brit Butt Rally., a 12 hr rally and Jorvik Rally a short 8 rally Riders from all over Europe, Norway, Middle East and Australia have entered. There is also a 12-hour teaser rally called the Brit Butt Light. Iron Butt UK has grown from 7 registered riders in 2005 to over 350 riders completing Iron Butt rides within the UK during 2009. Iron Butt UK also teamed up with the Royal British Legion Riders branch in organizing a 24-hour 1000 mile run with over 175 riders taking part. The previous world record was 152, however the UK riders were pipped to the post by another USA ride of over 400 riders.

Currently IBA is headed by Michael J Kneebone, President, IBA.

The IBA suggests several types of long-distance rides to challenge riders.[6] It is perhaps best known for the Iron Butt Rally, an organized event that is invitation only, through a raffle system. Additionally, the Iron Butt Association hosts the Saddle Sore 1000, the Bun Burner 1500, the Bun Burner Gold, the 50 cc Quest, the National Parks Tour Master Traveler Award, the coveted 10/10ths Challenge, the very exclusive 100K Club, and other longer themed rides taking place on different routes around the world. Besides the Iron Butt Rally, none of these rides are organized events, but rather individual endeavors planned and executed by individual riders on routes and at times they choose.

The Iron Butt Rally is a competitive motorcycle road rally held in the United States. It was first held in 1984, and beginning in 1991, now takes place in odd numbered years, usually in August. The rally lasts 11 days, and riders often travel over 11,000 miles (18,000 km) in that time. During the rally, entrants earn points by riding their motorcycles to various “bonus” locations in the U.S. and Canada. A bonus is a task or destination with a point value. To earn the points for a bonus, a rider must provide evidence by photographing an object or scene, purchasing a particular item, or by various other means specified by the organizers.

The rally consists of one or more checkpoints, which may be located anywhere the United States, and one or more lists of bonuses with locations, times of availability (if limited), and varying point values. Each leg of the rally has its own bonus list, and only the bonuses for the leg currently being ridden are known to riders and can be earned. A bonus list typically contains far more bonuses than can be earned in the time allotted during a leg. This introduces a significant strategic element to the rally, since each rider must determine for him/herself which bonuses to attempt, and what route to use to reach them, while still reaching the next checkpoint before it closes.[7]

To be considered a finisher of the event, a rider must be present at each of the checkpoints within a specific time window, and must earn a minimum number of bonus points during the rally. Additional achievement levels (gold, silver, bronze) can be reached by earning more than the minimum required points.

Themes are often employed, with 2011 being about visiting U.S. states and their capitals; 2009 were crime scenes; 2007 was about gateway and arches (i.e. Perce Rock on the Atlantic, St. Louis Arch, and Golden Gate Bridge on the Pacific); and 2005 was about lighthouses.

First-time finishers are assigned a 3-digit number membership to replace their previously assigned number…that often are five digits in length and over 1,000. As of 2019, slightly more than 600 people have officially finished the Iron Butt Rally.

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