It all started before the 1st of the 7000 miles was ridden Sunday morning in Key West, Florida. Some reported that potential participants, before or after paying their $1000 fee to get a chance to belong to the long distance challenge, decided to withdraw after they realized that that organizer Big Jim (Jim Red Cloud, Jim Durham) was at the last minute changing the rules advertised on the Hoka Hey website.
Only Harley-Davidson were supposed to participate but other brands were registered. GPS were supposed to be prohibited but many participants were equipped with them and are now reporting their postions hour after hour. At a meeting before the challenge, Big Jim was supposedly presenting the Hoka Hey as a race when the event was initially advertised as an endurance challenge because racing on any public streets and highways in America is absolutely prohibited.
Claim was made that a TV crew would film the event for a reality show, but no professional TV crew was reported being seen at the start. Police escort was also supposed to be provided in Key West, but the start on Sunday morning was described as very chaotic with many committing serious and dangerous traffic violations. The number of riders was no more 1000 as described in press releases but less than 300. Some charities described as being involved with the challenge would have been contacted and stated that they don’t know anything about the Hoka Hey.
Some riders and family members deny all these claims, or at least defend the event for the beauty of its challenge, while others are all over the web are stating that the Hoka Hey is a big scam, even doubting that the Grand Prize of $500,000 will ever be given under different pretexts of denial like violating some rules, like getting a traffic ticket or sleeping in an hotel (how the organizer is going to know for sure?) The fact that the prize would not be given at arrival in Homer, Alaska but later in Sturgis after drug tests (one month later?) and a polygraph (administered by who?) given to participants raised more suspicions (polygraphs could fail everybody, are not reliable and often rejected by courts.) Then, a certain John or Ghost (same person?) posted a link in my Blog under my first Hoka Hey article, and later in a Facebook forum, to a journalist story about Big Jim (Jim Durham) being involved in what is sounding to some as former shady deals (the long story is HERE)
After July 4th, maybe it’s the participants who are going to dispute the fairness of the Challenge and its winner (some riders have reported that some road signs were removed by participants to confuse other competitors!) We will all know the truth about all these allegations in just a few days. The only 2 things I am sure of is: 1- that in the city of Homer, Alaska where riders are ending their 7000 miles journey, festivities are in preparation with bands being booked 2-that those who are participating will have 7000 miles of memories lasting a lifetime, with or without a half million pot of gold at the end of the trip.