Hoka Hey Challenge. Two Bikers Arrive Together In Homer, Alaska. Are They The Winners?

This early Monday morning June 28, 2010 (4.20 am local time), and much sooner than expected, Frank Kelly from South Carolina and Will Barclay from Highland Beach, Florida, rode together under the finish banner of the Hoka Hey Challenge in Homer, Alaska. The 2 riders didn’t know each other until they met at the last checkpoint Sunday afternoon. To avoid a risk of accident while racing each other (and a disqualifying speeding ticket) they decided that they would ride together at legal speed and cross the finish line at the same time (which is mathematically impossible!). Other riders next to finish are stated as being at least one day behind the 2 finalists. Still, both riders need to pass a drug test, a motorcycle inspection, a polygraph, a verification of gas receipts and road logs to be declared as winners.

And of course the Hoka Hey controversy has restarted on multiple levels. 1- Organizer Big Jim is not yet sure if finishing together and sharing the $500,000 prize is authorized under the rules he implemented! (my opinion is that if it’s not forbidden, it is authorized). 2- Many are already challenging the fact that both riders would have logged a total of 8250 miles during their 6 1/2 days trip on back roads (interstate riding was forbidden) where the speed limit is never above 60 mph and very often much less (many participants have reported riders using highways.). It is an equivalent of close to a 50 mph average, not counting time spent eating, refueling, restroom time, etc 3- The official winner(s) is (are) now supposed to be be officially announced at a celebration starting at 3 p.m. July 4 at the Stone Step Lake Estates in Homer. No more in Sturgis…(again conflicting information.). But it seems that the small city of Homer has no drugs test lab and no official polygraph equipment. 4-  At this day, the Challenge claimed at least the life of one rider who died in Casper Wyoming on Saturday June 26, and several others who have been more or less injured in accidents. (photo Michael Amstrong)

25 Responses to “Hoka Hey Challenge. Two Bikers Arrive Together In Homer, Alaska. Are They The Winners?”

  1. 1 Jun 28th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    cogrates!! to both riders . hope they let them split it..

  2. 2 Jun 28th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Dang, that’s really putting some road under the wheels. Congratulations on what must have been one helluva ride!

  3. 3 Tracy Hirsh Jun 28th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    The road is for enjoying the landscape and making friends. From this point of view, the winner is for sure the loser. He made money (if the prize is given away). That’s it. Sad. Hope it’s not going to inspire other fast buck organizers.

  4. 4 09 Indian Rider Jun 28th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Uh–no these two are NOT the winners.
    LMAO–they are my heros though-they will become legends:)

  5. 5 Bigal Jun 28th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Wow, I didn’t even use a whole Roll of Toilet Paper up, and they are in Alaska, already. I really thought they new that this was all a “Mickey” Mouse Contest. I had no idea that all the Participants really took it to “Death” serious. One of the Riders died, what a shame, my best to the Family of the Rider who passed. Cyrill, what would you like to see happen if this all turns out to be BS? What about the rest of you Bloggers out there, what do youthink should happen to this Dood? In my opinion he is just as guilty as a Scott Rothstein.

  6. 6 Jun 29th, 2010 at 6:52 am

    The winner of the Smoke Out Stampede was the Charlie the Nomad winning again this year. It was a total of 3047 miles which he finished in 50 hours and some minutes. All alone, no prize money, no tv show, no sponsors giving him engine, transmision and no support riding behind him.
    Congrats Charlie!

  7. 7 Jun 29th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Here are the first four “legs” of the HHC, posted by one of the contestants who apparently only got that far:

    You can see what a pain it would be to follow these directions, especially since some of the distances given between turns are incorrect or missing and also there are typographical errors. Plus some of the roads in the directions don’t even intersect each other, meaning the directions lead nowhere. Add a few missing street signs to the mix and you’ve got some very confused “warriors”.

    Some people on other message boards are speculating that there’s no way the two winners could have completed the ride as quickly as they did without help and/or without breaking the rules. The journey was far longer than the 7,000 miles the organizers claimed, but that’s not surprising since I seriously doubt Big Jim & the Missus actually traveled it beforehand.

    Also there were some who complained that Big Jim had no right to spring the surprise on them just before departure from Key West that they were required to “gather the souls” of dead Native Americans along the way and carry them to Alaska. They were offended because it’s against their religion to [symbolically or otherwise] carry the souls of some other religion, in fact one described it as practicing witchcraft according to their religion.

    I’ve been skeptical about the validity of this race challenge since first reading about it over a year ago. There are just too many things that don’t add up, too many reversals and inconsistencies. There may actually be a prize waiting for the winner but I tend to doubt it. I think Big Jim plans to weasel out using one of the many loopholes in the agreement each rider was required to sign.

    That’s not to say I feel the entrants are wrong or evil or stupid, just the organizers. Okay, maybe I do think some of the contestants are a bit naive for buying into the whole “warriors carrying souls” stuff, and if you view that YouTube of the start of the race you’ll see a lot of people dressed totally wrong for a cross-country ride (as if all the “Whoooo!” shouts aren’t clue enough).

    But no one deserved to get hurt or killed or to wreck their bike, and the organizers knowingly created a dangerous situation by holding a race for a half-million dollar prize on public roads & highways. Furthermore, Big Jim Red Cloud/James G. Durham recruited people for this event who were totally unsuited for cross-country racing by telling them that whoever entered was a “warrior” and whoever didn’t was a pussy. All for money.

    I’ve done lots of cross-country riding myself (countless thousands of miles in fact), though I’ve never participated in an organized contest like this one. But it doesn’t take an Iron Butt Rally champion to see what a clusterf*ck the Hoka Hey was from the very beginning. The organizers clearly have no experience with this type of event, yet they don’t seem to care that they put a lot of people in danger with their ineptitude.

    I spent a good portion of yesterday and today just reading all the various message board postings from naysayers, well-wishers, contestants’ family members, actual long distance riders and lots of people like me, who can’t seem to look away from this ongoing train wreck. One thing’s for sure, everyone has an opinion about Hoka Hey.

  8. 8 Jun 29th, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I have to say, that no matter what the outcome of this is – EVERYONE who does this ride deserves a pat on the back – just like the stampede that brewdude brought up – its about the journey too!

    but even if you’re in “last” place – bravo for sacrificing yourself for such a ride. and can you imagine all that they’ve seen across our country?! its a once in a lifetime opportunity to make this trip.

    so all winnings aside: congrats for taking the journey and i hope it creates memories and great stories for everyone!

    that being said: its easy for those of us not involved to develop opinions (seems like we do about EVERYTHING)… i think we should just sit back and see what happens before we start throwing accusations. its easy for things to grow to epic proportions online when people start debating and assuming!


  9. 9 Jun 29th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Lake Weir Living from Florida sponsored Hoka Hey rider, Brody McNeill. We are in Homer for the finish posting daily videos on our blog about the big biker brewing controversy. Who won? Will they let 2 riders win? Is that allowed? Let the Controversy Begin!

  10. 10 Michael Rash Jun 29th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Congratulations Frankie & Will!

    I hate that your victory is being clouded by controversy. I consider both of you winners.

    To all of the skeptics, why not hook up with either on the way back to SC and FLA? I think you would quickly see that both won on sheer stamina and determination, nothing else.

    Again, congratulations!

    Michael Rash

  11. 11 Greg Jun 29th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Written in the Homer Tribune Newspaper by Sean Pearson.
    Ideas for new Hoka Hey challenges.

    Anyway, I think I came up with some relatively righteous and awesome ideas, and would certainly be willing to sell one or two for the right price.

    The Hoka Neigh:
    Let’s face it, the hogs have been stealing the spotlight for way too long now. Time for the horses to step up. And they won’t be having any of that “riding in the backwoods, backstreets, remote trails” stuff. This 70-day “challenge” would pit cowboys against each other in driving a large herd of cattle through the winding streets of downtown New York. I can only imagine the lively dialogue and friendly interaction that such an event would bring. What could be better than a concrete jungle lined with cow patties?

    The Hoka Hey Dontcha Know:
    This event would generally have to be held in the Minnesota area, although it can often translate for Canadian riders as well. In general, the idea is to get through a complete ride, of any length and by any means necessary, without killing the Minnesotan that will be assigned to ride along with you. If you can make it through a series of irritating phrases like: “I went to the store today, don’t cha know,” and “Don’t cha know, he was one of those liberal fellas” and “I’m stuck in traffic again, don’t cha know.”
    (This race could, in theory, be combined with the “Hoka Hey How’s it Goin’” Challenge. Just something to keep in mind.)

    The Hoka Hey Dude:
    California. Avocados. Surfing.
    Need I say more?

    I’m also looking into the possibility of developing the “Hoka Hey Jude” for Beatles’ fans. And for Latino gangsters, the “Hoka Hey Esse.” Or maybe a special challenge for fans of the Little Rascals.
    We could call it the Buckwheat “Hoka O’Tay” Challenge. Seriously … I need to get out more.

  12. 12 Bill R Jun 29th, 2010 at 12:56 pm


    Excellent post and a well balanced view of this debacle.

  13. 13 Gerry Jun 29th, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Congratulations to Frank & Will. That is one hell of a ride for 6.5 days!!! 8250 miles !!! That works out to be 156 hours of solid riding not counting fuel stops, meals, and minimal sleeping. Without all those stops and just riding to beat hell with no sleep that would be 8250 divided by 156 = 52.88 MPH without stopping for fuel on secondary roads and not speeding !! I travel across country every summer and take my time at 350 miles per day average enjoying the country.
    What Frank and Will have done is impossible using the numbers in this write up Cyril. I don’t doubt they have ridden all that way but can’t believe the numbers given and the time it took.

  14. 14 Jun 29th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Congrats to all the riders who even attempted such a ride. In 2001 we put on a 100 year celebration ride for Indian motorcycles from Riverside Calif to Springfield Mass. This was a massive undertaking from an organisational stand point but even greater for every rider on a vintgae Indian who completed the journey. Life is about journeys whether they be good or bad but I’ve never had a bad one on a motorcycle. When things don’t go according to plan they make for the best stories and best memories.

  15. 15 Brad Tilley Jun 29th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    And the big winner is…Harley-Davidson.

  16. 16 nicker Jun 29th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Did they

    “…the run all the way down to Glob, AZ….”



  17. 17 C O L E M A N F U Jun 30th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    There was a hidden transponder in the vest they got as part of the entry fee. As soon as they digest the data we will know who followed the map and who slabed it.

  18. 18 Jun 30th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    so much blah, blah, woof, woof by those who didn’t participate or want to compare this to that and which is better and means more and is more spiritual or less … FO and D … this is simply what it is like all others … the guys that put it on did the best they could and the guys riding it did likewise … you don’t like it or think you got a better way of doing it? then put your $0.02 where your big gum flapping yap is and do it or shut up … jeez, can’t anybody do anything without stirring up the worm bed … Steve, you had a chance to talk about the Smoke Out when it happened, day late and a dollar short there bud …

  19. 19 Jun 30th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    The complaints may seem trivial to you, Woody, but with 16 bikes wrecked (so far), numerous injured and one dead I’d say it’s anything but trivial.

    How about the opinion of a participant? Here’s an excerpt from an article in today’s Homer Tribune:

    Homer’s Eric Wickre rolled into town Monday afternoon, finishing the Hoka Hey Challenge an hour later than he had originally estimated after a flat tire 75 miles from home set him back a bit.

    Wickre, 44, said he hit the Homer Spit around 3:30 p.m., but found no one — and nothing — there to welcome him at the finish.

    “There was nobody around,” Wickre said. “I started calling people to let them know I made it.”
    He also admitted to skipping the last four checkpoints.

    “Once I came out of Mississippi, I pretty much figured the whole thing was a scam,” he said. “The maps were wrong, the routes were wrong. Nobody’s gonna win that half-million dollars.”

    Wickre said he became suspicious of the challenge when riders were originally told they would get a GPS chip at the staggered-start race.

    “There was no GPS, and there was no staggered start,” Wickre said. “People tore out like crazy. Everyone was riding as fast as they could, jockeying for position. I really thought someone was gonna get hurt or killed.”

    Rumors abounded early on that someone along the way reportedly removed directional signs, sending a number of riders in different directions.
    “The maps said certain streets intersected with ones that they didn’t really intersect with. It was pretty ridiculous. They never checked my identification, never asked to see my odometer.” Wickre said. “I began to think, what if it’s all just about getting to Homer in the end?

    After that, I pretty much kept it at 95 the whole way up.”


    And a reader response to that:

    “Please do a follow-up to this article.

    Ask some of the local businesses what the Durham’s promised them, ask if any deposits were paid by the Durham’s for the alleged party that’s supposed to take place.

    Ask Annie Malloy where her bosses are right now?

    Why, after collecting over $800,000 in entry fees based on the organizers own numbers of entries is Ms. Malloy begging for volunteers to help organize the event promised by the Hoka Hey organizers for months on their website? A celebration for which the cost will be taken out of the entry fees according to Beth Durham in several published news stories.

    Where is the mandatory drug testing and polygraph exam going to take place, as stated in the published rules of the event?

    Have any of the approximately 14-20 riders who have arrived in Homer been asked to submit to a drug test or polygraph examination?

    How exactly does the Hoka Hey organization, a private, for-profit company with virtually no legal existence other their own self imposed status and a nebulous connection to a “Land trust” in South Dakota, propose to conduct “DMV checks” of the finishers? What means will they be using to pry into the driver’s licenses and traffic citation history of the entrants in their illegal race?

    What exactly is the “Hidea Corporation” and what if any is it’s relationship to the Hoka Hey Challenge?

    Are there any facilities for drug testing/polygraph examinations anywhere in Homer AK? If so, have they been contracted to do any testing/examining on behalf of the Hoka Hey organizers?

    Why are riders being told to skip the Fairbanks checkpoint and go directly to Homer?

    Why were several of the charities listed on the Hoka Hey website not even aware that their organizations names were being used to solicit donations?

    Why has no one from the Hoka Hey organization ed the family of the rider who was killed in their illegally run race on public highways?

    Why is the Hoka Hey website so out of date that they’re still soliciting riders to sign up for the event?

    Why have there been no attempts of any kind on the Hoka Hey website, it’s blog, or it’s own Facebook page to keep an accurate accounting of the riders and their locations, other than the postings of concerned friends and families?”

  20. 20 Jul 1st, 2010 at 12:10 am


    The tough man challenge has nothing on this epic journey.

    Great Job to all involved.

    ray usa

  21. 21 Jul 1st, 2010 at 9:52 am

    FWIW, different Woody. Your mileage may vary, etc 😉

  22. 22 Jul 2nd, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I am willing to place a bet that not one person will be paid a dime. I think this is a total rip off. I happen to know personally Chuck who was killed doing this ride. Not one person from Hoka Hey has ed Chucks wife to date. Next, I am a member of the Iron Butt Association. I have ridden 1500 miles in under 24 hours….22.5 hours is what I did the ride in. Differance is I choose my route. There is no way in the world anyone could go from Key West to Homer Alaska in 6 1/2 days unless they avoided the route given. It would take the best bikers in the world to just make it from Key West to the Georgia border if you take a look at the map they used. This ride gives a bad name to the word Challenge for riders. This ride was phoney from day ONE….riders should have looked into the organization of the ride. This is a sad day for many of us here in Florida. We buried a husband and a good friend. I hope they trash this ride in every motorcycle magazine.


  23. 23 Luuezz Jul 4th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I found this on Facebook~ Hoka Hey

    Rob Keller & Tom Mongold status? John White I received a call late last night from Jim Red Cloud. He said Rob Keller suffered two broken legs. Our rider, Tom Mongold was riding with him. I cannot reach Jim or Rob or Tom.
    Can anyone with news please post? Rob Keller is riding the Indian supplied by Indian of Chicago and Tom is riding our Crazy Horse 124 Warrior Chief

  24. 24 Luuezz Jul 4th, 2010 at 11:55 am

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