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Proving your worth, earning your chops

Motorcycle riders who like milestones and enjoy the company of a select few can try for membership in an organization that touts rider prowess. It's called the Iron Butt Association.

The 50,000-plus members of the Iron Butt Association are dedicated to safe, long-distance motorcycle riding. Although based in the United States, the association has thousands of enthusiastic members throughout the globe.

Iron Butt hosts several rides, the most notable being the 11-day, 11,000-mile Iron Butt Rally™. Additionally, the Iron Butt Association hosts the Saddle Sore 1000™ (a 24-hour, 1,000-mile ride), the Bun Burner 1500™ (1,500 miles in 36 hours), the Bun Burner Gold™ (1,500 miles in 24 hours), the 50cc Quest™ (cross-country in 50 hours or less), the National Parks Tour Master Traveler Award™ (visit 50 parks in at least 25 states), the coveted 10/10ths Challenge™ (10 consecutive 1,000-mile days), and the almost-impossible 100K Club™ (100,000 miles or more in one year).

And since 1998, a group of long-distance motorcycling enthusiasts has met in late May or early June for dinner in Hyder, Alaska. Hyder Seek 2011 will mark the event's 13th year.

The original event celebrated the culmination of rider Ron Ayres' 49-state ride (a record that has since been broken). Since then, the Iron Butt Association has instituted a somewhat exclusive "48 States Plus Alaska Award" for riders traveling through all of the 48 contiguous states plus Alaska.

Riders do not have to make the 49-state ride to attend Hyder Seek, which will take place June 10-11 this year. The deadline for registration is April 15. Just visit www.ronayres.com/HyderSeekRegistration.aspx.