Mold Builder Becomes Road Warrior and Raises $15,000 for iWarriors
Larry Patten of Nebraska-based Dramco Tool rode 10,000 miles across 26 states and raised more than $15,000 for iWarriors after setting what he thought was a reasonable goal of only $5,000!
This was all part of a personal challenge Larry accepted called the “Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge.” This ride is based on the Lakota Sioux principal of WoLakota, which celebrates all that is pure and powerful in the warrior spirit. Lakota means reconciliation or understanding, peace and kinship. As the Hoka Hey website states, “A warrior isn’t just a soldier who protects and defends. They are mentors, guides and teachers. They set the example for others and lend strength to the people. The stronger the warriors become, the stronger the people become.” How appropriate for our fellow servicemen and women, and how fitting that Larry completed this challenge FOR our wounded warriors!
This ride is based on the Lakota Sioux principal of WoLakota, which celebrates all that is pure and powerful in the warrior spirit.
It all began last September when Larry decided the time was right, with his kids out of the house, to buy a nice new motorcycle. Then in November he read about this challenge. He thought it would be an “interesting” personal challenge and decided to tie iWarriors to this mission on wheels.
Hoka Hey was originally started in 2010 by a Native American who possessed the American spirit and so restricted the bikes to only those that are American-made. Today, this includes Harley Davidson, Indian or Victory V twin motorcycles. Larry was one of about six or seven Indian Roadmasters.
The key to this ride challenge, according to Larry, is the restriction of a electronic maps, GPS, devices and hotel stays. Directions are limited to the number of miles on a specific road and left or right turns. Larry relied on paper maps, and because riders have no clue which states would be part of the ride, he packed along individual maps for each of the 50 states. On top of that, there was no real destination—only the next turn.
“You didn't know if you're going east, north, west or south. This forced you to focus and live in the present,” Larry says. “I had to ride between 18 and 20 hours a day, so I learned to stop at every corner and get an exact bearing on which way I was turning; otherwise I was liable to go the wrong way. It was all left to right and highway numbers, and sometimes the highways weren't marked as good as you'd think.”
You didn't know if you're going east, north, west or south. This forced you to focus and live in the present.
The roads were awesome. Larry describes the feeling of euphoria as he traveled on beautiful curvy roadways. “Those moments allowed me just to open it up and blast through corners,” Larry says. But, while he describes the scenery throughout his travels as “phenomenal,” he could not stop to take it all in. Plus, there were definitely down times.
“There were several times when I felt emotionally, psychologically and physically drained,” Larry says. One of the lowest points was coming out of Yellowstone with all its traffic. Plus, a lot of night riding with headlights in his eyes and a lot of construction, which took its toll on him. He learned that when he was unable to maintain a constant speed, he would get tired. “It was those times when I’d pull over, slide off my bike, prop myself up against a telephone pole or something, and sleep.” At one point, he stopped at a truck stop, took a shower and ate a sandwich just to get reenergized.
Larry did have one close call in Florida when a young lady who was driving and texting almost hit him. She swerved at the last minute and hit a tree instead. She hit the tree hard, according to Larry, so if she had hit him, it would have been bad news.
The worst was up in North Carolina. He was supposed to go on Highway 64, which was also Highway 75 at one point. He started following Highway 75 and did not realize that 64 cut off. He ended up riding 80 miles out of the way. To make matters worse, the rules say that riders must go back to where they cut off, which meant Larry had to go back 80 miles!
“There are no cutting corners in this challenge, which makes it a lot about personal integrity,” Larry says. “There are plenty of opportunities to cheat. I could look at my GPS anytime I wanted to, and no one would know, but that is not the purpose of this ride.”
Despite consistently being in the first third of the 113 riders on most of the trip, he must admit that he was a little surprised that he was able to stick with it. “It was a personal challenge with regard to staying awake, following directions and doing it right,” Larry says. But he realized this challenge was nothing compared to what our military servicemen and women face every day to protect our freedom. He felt honored to accept this challenge in their name to bring awareness to iWarriors, so maybe more of our wounded warriors can benefit from the iPads this group provides to help them communicate with their families during the healing process.
He realized this challenge was nothing compared to what our military servicemen and women face every day to protect our freedom.
His motivation to finish came from several places. “It helped to know that other people—our wounded warriors—were going to benefit from my ride. Plus, I have a family connection to PTSD, so it’s personal. I also realized that there were 60+ people following me on Facebook, some of whom would text me, so that held me accountable too.”
Larry made sure to tell me before we got off the phone that he realized early on during this trip that he would not be able to keep up with work and do the challenge, so he is very grateful to the Dramco Tool team. “I am so thankful to have my team at the shop. They did an awesome job of keeping up with the workload while I accepted this personal challenge for iWarriors. And my wife Liz, I could not have done this without her support.”
What stood out to me as Larry shared his story were these words and phrases:
- present moment
- emotionally, psychologically and physically drained
- team and
That’s because all of these words can be used to describe the daily sacrifice and service of our armed forces. How fitting! Larry is just one of many individuals I have met in this industry over the years who do extraordinary things … and for other people. Thank you, Larry, for being a road warrior and completing your Hoka Hey Challenge for iWarriors.
Thank you, Larry, for being a road warrior and completing your Hoka Hey Challenge for iWarriors.
To learn more about supporting this program, visit iWarriors online.