Where the Buffaloe Roams

| 23 October 2017 6:39 pm

AMA National Dual Sport Ride and Adventure Ride
Buffaloe 500: Stoney Lonesome Motorcycle Clubgrounds

Story and Photos by Kurt Bauer/
COLUMBUS, IN, OCT. 14-15, 2017

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2017 1014 IN Buffaloe 500 PHOTO B2017 1014 IN Buffaloe 500 PHOTO DNearly 30 years ago, Rick Dorfmeyer got the idea of starting an organized ride on county roads and possibly some trails. After hearing a group of riders complain about being run out of the Hoosier National Forest – and one of them saying they should start a gravel-road enduro, since they couldn’t legally ride the trails of the National Forest – Rick got to thinking about a ride.

Dorfmeyer was at Bloomington Powers Sports, discussing the idea with owner Rayce Guthrie, and John Buffaloe walked in. He encouraged them to run with it. Rick asked John if they could name it after him, in honor of the Buffaloe 100 race that John used to run in the area. They would call it the “Buffaloe 500,” laying out 500 kilometers for a dual-sport ride under the auspices of the Stoney Lonesome Motorcycle Club.

John started helping right way, and Rayce started getting some sponsors from his shop, and they got additional help from Charlie Albers. Each year the event got better, with Roy Garrett being instrumental in getting the event onto some private property.

This year, the 29th annual event had more than 200 entries both days for the AMA National Dual Sport Ride, and 25 for the Adventure Ride.

This year’s ride was held on the properties of five different land owners, including two sections of some killer single-track of more than 10 miles.

As rain was forecast for Sunday, Saturday’s turnout was huge, as “Indian summer” weather greeted the riders for a hundred-mile day in southern Indiana. Temperatures reached 80 degrees for Saturday’s event.

As predicted, Sunday morning brought rain to southern Indiana, but Saturday’s huge turnout made up for it. Half of the money collected would go toward local charities such as Big Brothers and Sisters and the local fire and police departments.

This reporter rolled into Nashville, Indiana, early (by my standards). As I neared the Stoney Lonesome property, the IU football crowd was heading to Bloomington and the tourists were flocking to Brown County State Park for the autumn colors (which were taking their time this year).

I found one of the few parking spots remaining and unloaded my street-legal KTM 250 XCF-W Six Days, hoping the trails would be nice, but also realizing we’d had some decent amount of rain the last few days and that the trails were plenty moist when I rode my Yamaha WR250R on Thursday.

The author’s 2011 KTM 250 XCF-W Six Days.

The author’s 2011 KTM 250 XCF-W Six Days.

Clayton Jones.

Clayton Jones.

I signed up late, but luckily my friends were in no hurry, and letting the bikes in front of us clear the leaves and mud sounded like a great plan. We were among the last bikes to leave the property.

As we hit the trails right from the parking lot, it was still plenty greasy and there were some ruts to negotiate. Remember, they have been riding this property since the 1950s! As we made our way through the slop, there were a few large dual-sport bikes with the wrong tires that were not doing so well. Man, were they in for a long day, if they were struggling this early into the ride. We were thinking that we might be in for a long day, too, if it was to be this greasy and knowing that the next sections would be more challenging.

We wandered about the county roads before coming out onto the highway heading into Nashville. First up would be some of the best trail of the day, at the Valley Branch Paintball property. This was not nearly as muddy as Stoney, and the trail was nice and smooth, and it only got better. We finished where we’d entered, completing about 10 miles of killer trail!

After this loop, we gassed up and shed a few layers of clothes, as the weather was warming up.

We rode some nice county roads of gravel and pavement, hitting a few properties that had some really nice, open trails and a few tight trails.

The lunch stop was excellent, as they had some great trail of small hills, creek beds, and a few open areas. We had not brought a gas can, so we had to mooch some gas, which was no problem, as many riders offered some premium gas for our steeds.

The gas trailer at lunch.

The gas trailer at lunch.

After a good lunch of roast beef, ham and turkey sandwiches, chips and Diet Coke, and knowing our gas tanks were full, so we could complete the nearly 100-mile day, we hit some nice single-track and a cool creek bed.

Lunch break.

Lunch break.

After that, it was more scenic gravel and pavement through the beautiful rolling hills of Brown County.

The next long trail section was nearly 12 miles long and featured some fantastic trails, but nothing too gnarly.

After completing this loop, we had put in nearly 80 miles for the day, and I was ready to get back to the clubhouse, as this KTM’s seat is nothing like those on my real dual-sport bikes.

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After the ride, the club had a hog roast and some excellent food for all. A big thanks to Ben, Roy, and all who made this ride possible – especially the land owners for allowing us to ride on their properties.

A Little History
Started in the 1940s, Stoney Lonesome was one of the first motorcycle-racing groups formed in Indiana. In the 1950s, the club purchased the first piece of the property that has now expanded to more than 200 acres.

Stoney Lonesome is located six miles west of Columbus, Indiana, on U.S. Highway 46

History of the Stoney Lonesome M/C
By Kenney Stoughton
(Transcribed from Kenney Stoughton’s written account by Tim Weaver in 2003.)

At the start of World War II, early in 1942, the U.S. Government was afraid that this country would be attacked by enemy aircraft and asked every major city in the United States to practice mock air raids, including having “blackouts” (turning off all lights) throughout the cities. Columbus, Indiana, being a highly industrial city, was asked to participate.

At that time, the Columbus Police Force was too small to adequately patrol all of the city, so they put out an ad asking anyone who had a motorcycle to contact them about forming a motor patrol group to help patrol the city during blackouts. Some joined because they thought it was their civic duty, while others joined because gasoline was being rationed and they would receive extra ration coupons to buy gasoline tor their motorcycles.

The patrol was formed and called the Columbus Motor Patrol. It did not have the authority to arrest anyone, but its members would instead patrol the city and write down the addresses of homes with their lights on and then turn these addresses over to the police, who would then take appropriate action.

After the war, the group continued to get together, meeting once a month at Harry Smith’s Harley-Davidson shop on Seventh Street in Columbus. During the war or shortly thereafter, several more members joined the patrol, including Kenny Stoughton, Harry Grinstead, Bob Wells, Virgil Woodson, Fred Swartzcough, Shorty Prather, Larry Crockett, Bob Huffman, Herb Suddeth and Jim Askren.

Shortly after World War II, Askren opened up a BSA and Triumph shop in Garden City, located south of Columbus, and started a club named the American English Motorcycle Club. At that time, the Columbus Motor Patrol was disbanded. Some of the members drifted away, some joined the new American English Motorcycle Club, and some others continued to meet at Harry Smith’s Harley-Davidson shop and formed a new club known as the Columbus Motorcycle Club. A few members joined both clubs.

Both clubs sponsored motorcycle events around Columbus. One of the clubs ran TT races on a farm three miles southwest of Columbus, and the other ran flat-track races on the half-mile track at the old 25th Street Fairgrounds. At one time, the American English Motorcycle Club started to build a TT track just east of East Columbus, but it never materialized, due to fire marshal codes and insurance problems. Shortly after that, the club disbanded.

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In 1948 or ’49, the Columbus Motorcycle Club bought some property and built a new clubhouse at the present site of the Lowell Addition, north of Columbus. At this time, several new members were added, including George Walls, Larry Walls, Loren Loveless, and several others.

The club held meetings at least once a month, sometimes holding special events, including field meets and other motorcycle events.

In the early 1950s, the club sold the clubhouse and the grounds, which are now part of the Lowell housing addition. The club then purchased some ground at Stoney Lonesome and built a clubhouse at the foot of the hill, where the present clubhouse now stands. Shortly after purchasing the ground, they renamed their club to its present name: the Stoney Lonesome Motorcycle Club.

The club sponsored several Hare and Hound races. Some were held in Brown County State Park and others on ground which is now Lake Monroe. They built a scrambles track in Gnaw Bone and held several scrambles there.

Later, the club purchased more ground and built a scrambles track on its own property southwest of the clubhouse. The club ran several Hare and Hound races that would start from the clubhouse and then follow the power lines south to Youth Camp Road to Bethany and back through Gnaw Bone to the clubhouse. As more land was closed to riding, the Hare and Hounds were changed to Hare Scrambles and held entirely on the clubgrounds.


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Category: Off-Road, POV, Regional, Riders' POV, Trail Ride

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