Ancient iron adventures: Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run to roll into the RGV

The 2021 Motorcycle Cannonball, a cross-country challenge for riders with motorcycles that were manufactured in 1929 or earlier, will be passing through the Valley this weekend.

According to event organizers, this is the most difficult antique endurance run in the world.

This year’s theme is “Border to Border.” The cross-country challenge starts on the U.S. side of the Canadian border in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and proceeds nearly 4,000 miles south toward its final destination, which will be South Padre Island.

The public will be able to meet the riders and take a look at their motorcycles at select locations on September 25 and 26 throughout Hidalgo and Cameron Counties.

On Saturday, the motorists will reach their final stop of the day at Desperado Harley-Davidson, located at 1201 S. Bentsen Road in McAllen. Motorcycles will be on display from 4 to 6 p.m.

On Sunday, the riders will reach their mid-day stop at Mad Boar Harley-Davidson, located at 3515 W. Expressway 83 in San Benito. Motorcycles will be on display from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

The riders’ grand finale stop will take place later that same day at the South Padre Island Convention Centre, located at 7355 Padre Blvd. Motorcycles will be on display from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Riders will use paper maps to navigate the course of the Cannonball and are only able to meet with their support crews when they reach each day’s final destination.

Event organizers say this 17-day endeavor is extremely challenging because riders could endure an array of obstacles, such as fatigue, mental exhaustion and extreme weather conditions, as well as the demands of keeping their ancient machines in running order.

The Motorcycle Cannonball was founded by the late Lonnie Isam, Jr. The event’s first endurance run was held in 2010 and is held every two years.

“As Lonnie had envisioned, the Motorcycle Cannonball Run drew passionate riders who respected their machines as well as their fellow adventurists,” event organizers stated. “The race, meant as an experience for people of integrity and grace, was embraced as a way to prove a rider’s mettle as much as that of their particular marque.”

This year’s event comes after a brief hiatus caused by the pandemic. Due to challenges and closures made in response to COVID-19, organizers decided to postpone the event in 2020.

Organizers said with 2021 being safer and the country opening back up, the Michigan to Texas route for the 2021 Motorcycle Cannonball became finalized.

“The roster is full, and there is a waiting list of hopefuls and riders are carefully preparing their machines for what guarantees to be an experience of life long memories,” event organizers stated. “Thrill-seeking daredevils will jockey their antiques along the roads of adventure and brotherhood once again.”

To follow the riders’ journey,