The Easyriders Rodeo

The road to Wilson…

We’re north of the large cities, Tampa and such and I notice the housing developments (corrals) fade away.   The miles of fence that runs between the property lines and the highway disappear.

We’re heading north on HWY 301… destination, Wilson, NC.

We decided to pack up Truckie on this one.  Believe it or not, I have found there are  benefits to being locked inside a cage instead of conquering the road on  two wheels.  A number 1 is I can sit back and relax. I can take in the sites while we log the miles. Of course with every pro, there is a con.   The con being…  Tim isn’t a shutter-bug. Him being the driver, I feel I can’t just tell him to pull over every time I see a photo-op (this is often).  So, I quietly sit and try to be a good passenger.   I carry a notebook a jot down my missed opportunities.  Promising myself one day I will make it back (by myself or with a willing  assistant) so I can fill a memory card… or two.

Where the hell is Waldo…

On my list of missed photo-op’s is  Waldo.  AAA has designated the little burg an official speed trap.  Give Waldo a break people.  With a dwindling population they have to create revenue wherever possible.  If you choose to ignore the huge bill-boards  warning you to slow down and you get nailed, it’s your own damn fault.  Want to go fast? Head out to the Waldo raceway.

I don’t know why anyone would want to speed through this interesting little village anyway.  You might miss the Edith Ann size rocking chair that sits in front of the flea market and right down the road on the right is the world’s biggest golf ball.  I did mention that I wanted to stop on the way back so Tim could climb into the rocking chair for a picture.  He shot me that look.  Some choose to ignore the speed trap warnings, I choose to ignore that look.

North of the border…

I 95.  We’re past the Georgia’s red clay and the endless pecan trees.  The signs begin to pop up miles ahead and I try not to notice.  South of the Border 1/2 mile ahead.  I keep quiet as I spot the neon lights.  They are begging me to pull over and play.  As I see them fading in my side view mirror, I jot it down on my list.

Twelve hours north of Sarasota, we pull into the Quality Inn in Selma, NC.  Carolann gives the Quality Inn two thumbs up.  Right off the Interstate with a bunch of restaurants right close.  Clean enough for the likes of us, a balcony and a tub that held water.

A working tub is something I look forward to when we stay out-of-town.  I rate it right up there with chocolate and I have been dealt a dirty hand on the last couple road trips. For example:  We were elected to haul Granny back to Ohio.  Arriving at our destination, road weary and on my last nerve, I whipped open her shower curtain to find her tub being used as a storage closet (WTF)!  The cherry on the cake of my day was when I  was sent to the cellar to shower in this open air thing.   I really thought this was some sick northern humor to send me down into the dark scary cellar in the middle of February but it wasn’t.

While Tim was off finding us nourishment, I was soaking and listening to the local news.  I listened as the channel 14 newsman reported on the goings on in Wilson.  Twenty-thousand people he said and my anticipation of the following day grew.

Tim is back with the food and I toy with the idea of being served in the tub.  I don’t want to seem fanatical so I join him in our make-shift dining area.  Pulling the styrofoam take-out trays from the bag he proclaims… $3.99 BBQ!  Oh boy I thought.  We don’t ever pay less than $10.00 a plate down south and it’s usually not that good.  I popped open the cover of the tray and instead of digging in, I had to go get my glasses and poke around a little.  I have over 50 eyes and really couldn’t make out what the lump of stuff was sitting below the limp french fries and the hush puppies.  I know they do thing different up north but I have never heard of serving hush puppies with BBQ and these things weren’t even the round little balls I have come to love.  Their shape more like skinny tater tots.  The curious lump that (without my glasses) looked like tuna fish was actually the BBQ.  I let Tim take the first bite which really isn’t a very good method for rating the quality of food as he will eat just about anything.  He didn’t spit it out so I dug in.  I have to admit for whatever reason, the stuff was OK and I think they could reasonably have asked $5.00 a plate.

Destination Wilson…

We’ve been to so many events where the staff doesn’t know the where or when of their own event.  We missed the main gate when the navigator was checkin’ out the farmers market and to their credit, the staff directed us to our proper place and they were all very nice.

Let the waiting game begin…

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While we were waiting for the games to begin, I decided to see what was going on.  This is where the anticipation of my first Easyriders event began to crumble and relief set in.  We had only traveled 13 hours to Wilson as opposed to our original plan of hitting Chillicothe.

After dodging the golf carts that were motoring about I made it to the front gate to get some shots of the bikes as came thundering in.  An hour later I realized I would have to be happy with the smattering of bikes that rolled by and commit to not filming golf carts.  I gave up and decided I’d make my way to the bike show.

This was a people choice show which in my opinion is BS.  Peoples choice lends itself to how many friends you have, who has the flashiest paint and who bought the most chrome to adorn their sled.  Most of the time mechanics or ingenuity aren’t even considered.

My choice… a nice little Shovel.  Kind of an old school bobber look and I think the heat wrap adds character.

On to the vendors which were few and offered the usual.  Sunglasses and t-shirts.  Parts and accessories that are less expensive if you go on-line and nothing you can’t get on-line.

Let the games begin…

A handful of people gathered as they ran the qualifiers for the sled pulls.  After that everyone went back to their respective camping areas and waited.  For hours.  Untill the bar stool races.  Even fewer people made their way to the stands this time.  After the bar stool races it was a couple more hours of waiting.

About the time the afternoon rains hit, they started grooming the field for the rodeo games and the finals for the sled pull.  We found a place under the bleachers to wait out the rain.  Again, the loyal few took their place in the stands.  By now it was probably the few left that hadn’t spent the day getting too buzzed to make their way through the mud.

In the end I was left wondering where the twenty thousand people were.

I want to thank Pam and her husband for making us feel welcome. It’s a small crew that travel around to these particular events and Tim was the only “outsider” who showed up to play. Plus, I think it is a credit to Pam to be the only woman running in the sled pull.

The MC was also pretty cool. He made a long drawn out day humorous.

One tip to level the playing field with some of the regular players.  It’s easier to run the slow race if you deflate your tires.