Pair of local police officers complete 1,500-mile ride

(Left to right) Matt Stewart, 38, from Louisville, and Drew Jones, 28, from Olive Branch, completed a 1,500-mile motorcycle challenge named the Bun Burner. The pair rode 20 miles past St. Louis, Missouri and turned around, then rode to Biloxi and back to Starkville. (Courtesy Photo)(Left to right) Drew Jones, 28, from Olive Branch, and Matt Stewart, 38, from Louisville completed a 1,500-mile motorcycle challenged named the Bun Burner. Here, the pair stand in Biloxi. (Courtesy Photo)
Staff Writer

After years of wanting to take the challenge, two Starkville-based law enforcement officers completed a 1,500-mile motorcycle ride in less than 36 hours.

Staff Sergeant Matt Stewart of Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop G, and Starkville Police Officer Drew Jones, rode side-by-side from Starkville all the way to Illinois. Once they reached Staunton, Illinois, they returned, stopped in Starkville for a few hours of sleep, continued on their way to Biloxi, and finally returned home to end their trip.

The Iron Butt Association has different ride certifications they give motorcyclists that meet requirements for their challenges. The rides that Stewart and Jones finished were the Saddlesore, which requires participants to travel 1,000 miles in 24 hours, and the Bun Burner, which requires them to travel 1,500 miles in 36 hours.

Jones said he and Stewart left at 5:57 a.m. on Friday from Rackley Oil Fuel Center on Industrial Park Road. They logged their mileage and their stops with receipts from gas stations they visited.

"We got back to Starkville at 1 a.m., went to bed, woke up, and left my house at 7:10 a.m. and rode to Biloxi and back," Jones said. "We completed the Bun Burner in about 34 hours and 10 minutes."

In order to receive certification for their trip, Jones and Stewart will log every receipt from their gas station stops and turn them into the IBA. Jones and Stewart are also members of the Defenders Motorcycle Club, a motorcycle group that is made up primarily of law enforcement officers. Jones said he and Stewart plan to turn in their logs to their chapter president.

Jones said they will receive an award from the Defenders during their national meeting on June 29 for completing the Bun Burner. During their ride, Jones and Stewart said they met and greeted other motorcycle enthusiasts and police officers.

They took pictures under the St. Louis Arch, took pictures with other officers and were interviewed at Surdyke Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in Festus, Missouri.

Surdyke Harley-Davidson posted the interview online for their Facebook followers to see and tagged Stewart and Jones in the video. Stewart said he has wanted to ride the Bun Burner for years, but didn't want to do it on his own. Stewart said when he and Jones discovered they were both interested, they decided to ride the 1,500 miles together.

Stewart said the trip was a challenge because most rides are slower-paced than the Bun Burner. In order to succeed in making the full trip within the time limit, Stewart and Jones only stopped for gas and food. The longest stop the two made was when they were passing back through Starkville on the way to Biloxi. After stopping, they slept for six hours and rode the last 500 miles of the Bun Burner challenge