Iron Butt Blues: The World’s Toughest Riders Might Lose Their Rally

The Iron Butt Association of long-distance motorcycle riders might be about to lose their biggest event of all. The Iron Butt Rally, a ride so challenging and large-scale that it runs only every two years, has its future in doubt as organizers have decided to discontinue working on the event.

The Iron Butt Association is comprised of riders who normally partake in long-haul rides that are challenging, but lasting only a day or a couple of days, for the most part (see Mark Richardson’s tale of his own Iron Butt ride here). The Iron Butt Rally takes that formula and stretches it over almost two weeks. Riders convene on a central location, and get their instructions for a massive scavenger hunt in which it’s impossible to cover every possible point. Instead, they must figure out how to accumulate the most points possible as they criss-cross the US (and sometimes Canada), dodging bad weather and breakdowns and other trouble as they return to rally HQ. It’s a high-risk event with zero reward except bragging rights, which is probably why it’s so great.

(You can see Canadian long-distance rider Wolfe Bonham’s take on the rally here).

The next Iron Butt Rally was supposed to run in 2025, but that’s looking unlikely now, as organizers Jeff Earls and Lisa Landry say they’re stepping away from the event. Here’s what they posted to Facebook:

Hello everyone-
The following note was sent to Iron Butt Rally volunteers a few minutes ago.
We know this email is overdue and apologize for the delay. There have been issues needing resolution before we could open the drawing entry window for a 2025 Iron Butt Rally. Mike and team have been working to determine a solution but it continues to elude us. Despite an impressive safety record, the availability of insurance for the event at the top level has evaporated.
Lisa and I had planned for 2025 to be our “farewell tour”. We both felt we had one more rally in us and had decided on a theme before leaving Pittsburgh. Late last year we started lining up the usual types of facilities and joked about the places you might get sent. That was not to be.
It is with sadness that we are announcing that Lisa and I will not be at the IBR helm. It has been an honor to be allowed the opportunity to put our spin and energy into the event and to work with this talented and enthusiastic team. All of you who have volunteered to help with the event are amazing; whether that be scouting locations far and near, scoring riders, manning bonus locations, or helping make sure registration and finish check in go smoothly. None of these events would have been possible without you. From the bottom of our hearts …Thank you.
We don’t know what form the Iron Butt Rally will take in the future. A hallmark of the event is that each has been different than the previous. We look forward to seeing what shape it takes and following along.
Lisa and Jeff

So. For a rally to happen in 2025, the Iron Butt Association will have to find new organizers, who will have to put together a new route and also all the other details, such as insurance (which seems to be the biggest problem for them to sort).

Maybe it’ll happen in 2026? Let’s hope.

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