The Iron Butt Association (IBA) is a US-based organization dedicated to endurance motorcycle riding with a claim of over 60,000 members worldwide who tout themselves as the “World’s Toughest Riders.” One of its more popular slogans is “The World Is Our Playground.”
The IBA does have membership in a traditional sense. There are monthly newsletters sent to subscribed members. There are no mandatory yearly dues, although members can voluntarily pay an annual fee to become a premiere member. Premiere members receive occasional news and information from the IBA staff, early notice of some events, additional chances to enter some events, discounted entry fees for some events, and access to special areas of the web-based discussion board.
The IBA is a loose-knit organization with only one way to earn membership: ride one of the several rides the IBA certifies. The minimum is the Saddle Sore 1000 – 1,000 miles (1,600 km) in 24 hours or less. Entry into the Iron Butt Rally is by lottery only and every lottery entry must be an Iron Butt Member first. Rally workers and supporters (and Premiere members, as mentioned above) are granted extra chances in the lottery process. A certain number of entrants are drawn from pools that include volunteers, veterans and Premier members. Those that were not drawn from those are then put in with the other applications and the remainder of the entrants are drawn from that pool.
The Iron Butt Rally is held in the United States every two years. The Iron Butt first ran in 1984. From 1984 to 1987 the rally started from Montgomeryville Cycle Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Iron Butt was not held again until 1991 when it came under the management of the Iron Butt Association. While the basic format of the original rally remained, two important things changed: to ensure the quality of the event, the rally is run every other year, and the starting and ending points are rotated to different locations within the United States.
Beginning in 1993, shorter rides were arranged that lasted in duration from one to many days, and while the Iron Butt Rally is a large, organized event with a plotted course, the other rides are left up to the competitor to accomplish at their own accord. Some riders prefer to complete a ride solo, while some clubs have arranged rides in groups of up to 30 riders. But while the Rally is a monitored event, the riders of other events must monitor themselves. An example is the Saddle Sore 1000, where thorough documentation of the ride must be made, by collecting time-stamped gas and business receipts along the way, and by keeping a trip log recording mileage and location. These documents are then submitted by mail with a fee to the IBA, where it is then processed and an award given if the requirements are met.
The Iron Butt Association also has a UK arm which runs its own rally each year called the Brit Butt Rally. Riders from all over Europe, Norway, Middle East and Australia have entered. There is also a 12-hour teaser rally called the Brit Butt Light. Iron Butt UK has grown from 7 registered riders in 2005 to over 350 riders completing Iron Butt rides within the UK during 2009. Iron Butt Uk also teamed up with the Royal British Legion Riders branch in organizing a 24-hour 1000 mile run with over 175 riders taking part. The previous world record was 152, however the UK riders were pipped to the post by another USA ride of over 400 riders.
Currently IBA is headed by Michael J Kneebone, President – IBA. IBA has world clubs such as IBA-Australia, IBA – India, etc.