June 10-12, 2005 ... The First Annual Flint Hills Stampede based out of Council Grove, Kansas.

We had riders representing the states of Indiana, Minnesota, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas present. Thirty-five riders arrived at various times on Friday and Saturday in the midst of one of the rainiest weeks in the past fifty years to partake a little of what the Kansas Flint Hills had to offer. Our two "Head Honchos" for the event were Greg Mitchell of Emporia, and Clark Luster of Lawrence.

Thunderstorms and high winds drenched the group Friday evening, and we started out rain-suited Saturday morning for who-knew-what. As the state song, 'Home On The Range' plays, ".... and the skies are not cloudy all day", the storms moved on, and the sun came out by late morning. We were granted near perfect weather conditions the rest of the day.

Three separate rides were run concurrently. Tim Edwards (Sparky) led a group of nine intrepid riders into the gnarly two-tracks of Wabaunsee county. Mud, mud, and more mud were the flavor of the day, along with some extreme water crossings! Of course, the riders challenged the Box Turtle Road ... as difficult a "road" as can be found anywhere in the state. Many stories of their exploits and adventures returned to camp with them Saturday afternoon.

Greg Mitchell (T-Bone) led another nine riders into what was promoted as a ride of modest technical difficulty. It wasn't. Six riders became stranded for almost two hours on a gumbo mud section of road, coupled with a thrown chain on one bike and burned out clutch on another. Only minutes before the main group became totally bogged down, Greg tried to encourage everyone by saying, "I think we're through the worst of it!" Perseverance, and the drying effect of sun and wind paid off, and the group was able to make their lunch rendezvous with Roger's group in Cottonwood Falls, albeit tired and mud-caked!

Roger Baugh (Mr. Clean) led a scenic route with thirteen riders that included sections of the Diamond Springs road and Sharpe's Creek area of Morris and Chase counties. Keeping to higher elevations and out of the flooded valleys, the only difficulties encountered by the group were stubborn cattle herds on open range land, and a belligerent badger at a low water crossing. As usual, Mr. Clean's KLR arrived back at camp looking nearly as clean as when it departed.

Saturday evening, we enjoyed a fantastic BBQ. Following dinner, Kansas writer Cheryl Unruh read a well received article "On Being A Kansan" to the group. We also were treated to live bluegrass music presented by Luke Mitchell and Rocky Furman, members of the band, "Destined for Dogfood".

Despite the ferocious weather conditions we experienced in the evenings, and the inability to travel to a number of areas due to flooding conditions, we had ourselves an amazing weekend of camaraderie, teamwork and shared experiences. With all the adverse riding conditions we faced, no injuries ... a credit to the group.

Judging from the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response of the participants, this is an event that will only get better in the years to come.

A big thanks to Motorsports Honda-Kawasaki of Wichita, KS for sponsoring this year's event!

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The 2005 Flint Hills Stampede - Rider List

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