More than 300 motorcycles carrying at least 400 riders roared into Lovell on Saturday as part of the annual Cancer Run fundraiser spearheaded by Rick “Fly” Brod of Cody. This year’s event attracted slightly more participants than last year and generated $23,156 to support families in the Big Horn Basin who are dealing unexpected expenses due to cancer.
The riders began their daylong journey in Cody and passed through Powell rolling into Lovell at about 1 p.m. to enjoy a barbecue lunch courtesy of the 4 Corners Bar. Bar owner Audrey Bay said she and her staff prepared 200 pounds of meat, 60 pounds of potato salad, 40 pounds of macaroni salad and 30 pounds of Italian salad for the Cancer Run participants. She said due to the larger number of participants, the 4 Corners actually ran out of food this year, but was saved by a generous donation of hot dogs and water from their neighboring business the Maverik convenience store.
“We are so grateful to Maverik for helping us out,” said Bay. “Because of their generous donation, we were able to feed another 80 people.”
Things took a turn for the worse for some of the motorcyclists who lost control of their bikes, crashing on the roadway near Meeteetse.
According to a press release issued by the Park County Sheriff’s Office, they received a report of a motorcycle crash with injuries on County Road 3LE approximately one mile east of Highway 120 north of Meeteetse. When the responding deputy arrived on the scene he discovered a green 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle lying on a dirt embankment.
The driver, Brock Kyle Ninker, age 32, and his wife, Sasha Louis Ninker, age 28, both of Powell, sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash. Brock was airlifted to Billings and Sasha was taken by ground ambulance to West Park Hospital. The extent of their injuries as well as their current condition is unknown at the time the release was issued.
The release stated that evidence at the scene indicates that the Ninkers were westbound on County Road 3LE when they left the road on the north side, traveling over 440 feet before striking the dirt embankment and crashing. Prior to being airlifted, Brock reportedly admitted to going at least 65 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour.
Preliminary findings indicate the cause of the crash to be speed and driver error; but, at press time, no citations had been issued due to the crash still being under investigation.
The Ninkers own Hansel and Gretel’s Bar and Restaurant in Powell. They also own the Cowtown restaurant in Cowley, which they operated for a while.
Bay said she was also traveling on that stretch of road around the same time. She
noted that it can be a very difficult stretch of road for motorcyclists to maneuver with lots of turns, gravel and slick conditions when wet.
By Patti Carpenter