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The trip of a lifetime at 10 years old

Published: 26 January 2017

Brothers rode across the States aged 14 and 10

Indian have been remembering the Abernathy brothers as part of their Be Legendary campaign, after they rode their motorcycle from Oklahoma to New York when they were aged just 14 and 10 in 1913.

Bud and Temple took on the challenge after being told by their father Jack Abernathy that they needed to “toughen up” when they were aged just nine and five respectively, deciding to embark on a series of adventures to prove to their father that they were worthy.


A trip to Roswell from their home in Oklahoma (around 900 miles) on horseback in 1909 would be their maiden voyage as the brothers learnt just what was needed to travel across America’s vast landscape.

Next they tackled a trip from Oklahoma to New York on horseback again in 1910, which included a meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt. The media attention from this encounter would then give the brothers a celebrity status, with papers all over the US reporting their adventures.

They then took on a challenge to ride 3000 miles on horseback from New York to San Francisco in under 60 days with a stipulation that they weren’t allowed to eat or sleep indoors during the entire journey. The reward for this trip if successful would be $10,000 – a stunning amount of cash at the time.

Sadly, they arrived a mere two days late. However, they money that the lads had amassed from their status allowed the pair to buy an Indian motorcycle, which they would then use to make the 1500-mile trip from Oklahoma to New York in 1913.

Their trip to New York aboard the Indian was the last that was documented for the brothers. Bud went on to become a lawyer and died in 1979, Temple worked in the oil industry before passing away in 1986.


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