Riders in the Hoka Hey Challenge make their way through Lawton - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Riders in the Hoka Hey Challenge make their way through Lawton

LAWTON, Okla._Motorcyclists from all over the world are passing through Lawton as part of a cross-country endurance ride.

The Hoka Hey Challenge is named after the call of the Sioux Indians and it is designed to test the rider's physical, mental and emotional strength. They started in Key West, Florida and will go all the way to Homer, Alaska and then head back home. The Wind River Harley-Davidson dealership in Lawton is serving as one of only three checkpoints on the 7,600-mile course.

The event started this past Sunday and some of the riders have already passed through Lawton. Rodger Annicelli, a Florida native, stopped at the Lawton checkpoint to take a nap, and lucky for him, he found it right as his transmission gave out. This is his second time participating in the challenge.

"A lot of it means, honor, integrity, and respect. I chose to do it to kinda reach down inside myself and see how far I can push myself," said Annicelli.

Annicelli participated in the ride back in 2010 and says the feeling of driving to Alaska and seeing the view is what keeps him coming back. During the trip, he is leaving behind his wife and children but he says they support him wholeheartedly. So far, he has had to endure a lot.

"Trying to stay awake, that's the biggest thing. It's hard. Mentally, you're thinking about not messing up, making any mistakes. And emotionally, you're thinking about your family and loved ones that are left behind on this journey," said Annicelli.

Kim Johnson, Wind River Harley-Davidson marketing director, says they've been working around the clock to accommodate riders like Annicelli, whose bike they've been working on for hours. This event has been somewhat of a short endurance challenge for them as well.

"Some have had no sleep and we've been here 24 hours working on bikes that needed service as they come in, and feeding them and getting them ready to go again," said Johnson.

Annicelli says during this journey, he's had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. He even met a rider from Norway.

"You meet people along the way and you get to listen to their stories and their backgrounds and where they're from. And what they're searching for as well," said Annicelli.

He isn't sure how many started this year, but often times people start and don't finish the 7,600 mile course. In 2010, Annicelli was able to finish the challenge, driving back and forth between Florida and Alaska, in about three weeks. Annicelli says this time when he reaches Alaska, he'll be spending a little more time there relaxing.

You can learn more about the Hoka Hey Challenge and track the riders progress here.

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