WOODWARD, OKLAHOMA — When he straps on a helmet and climbs on a motorcycle there are very few who can equal the exploits of the Judge, Jim Judge. “It’s wonderful to just get on the bike and have fun, and just ride. That’s all,” he states.
He’s 77 now. Jim still works at the Woodward airfield. He still fixes airplanes and teaches pilots, but in his spare time Mr. Judge likes to ride very long distances. Describing a typical weekend trip with his wife, “We’ll go out on a Sunday afternoon and easily ride 230 miles.”
On the shorter rides Jim’s wife comes along, but one day earlier this summer Jim started out from his house in Mooreland. A few days later he arrived in Key West, Florida. “That was the start of my run,” he says. From Key West, he rode 13 days north and ended up as far as the road would go, all the way to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. “I made 500 miles a day,” he says. The hardest part, Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, motorcycle buffs call it ‘taming the Dalton Highway’. “It’s quite a feat, Jim says. “It’s not something that can be done by just any Tom, Dick, or Harry.”
Judge belongs to a group that calls itself the Iron Butt Association. They’re marathon bikers who challenge each other constantly with epic cross-country treks. Jim had 30 days to complete his run from Florida to Alaska. He made that run in 13 days. He completed the whole trip in 28, the oldest person to ever make a run like that. He made sure. “At this particular time, on the internet,” he says, “I’m the oldest man that’s ever done it.” “Those are some good bragging rights,” states a visitor. “That’s what it’s all about,” laughs Judge.
He raced motorcycles as a younger man but Judge no longer goes for speed. He goes for distance and, even after an epic trip this summer, he’s already planning the next one.