By Tom “Bomb” Christian
The sixth Annual Deadwood 3 Wheeler Rally in South Dakota was a blessing, because everyone was looking for ‘normal’ in these crazy times. Thank God it was in South Dakota where it was not under the stronghold of this Covid-19 virus, while a lot of other parts of America are affected. The folks who came from all parts of America felt it gave them sanctuary from the rest of the world.
The rally was set up for social distancing along with hand sanitizing and if you wanted to wear a mask do so if you feel comfortable with it. I prayed for the folks who were affected by this and could not make this rally because of this Covid-19 virus. The attendance was down but the enthusiasm was up with all the folks who came to enjoy it. The weather for the most part was excellent for touring the Black Hills while at the rally. One day it did reach 100 degrees, but then cooled down.
The Deadwood 3 Wheeler Rally is the brainchild of Mike and April Gustafson, the owners of Deadwood’s First Gold Gaming Resort. They bought a couple of CanAm Spyders and enjoyed riding them so much, they decided to throw a little party and invite everyone to ride the Black Hills with them. In its fifth year now!
The first thing for me to do was checking the roads out for the Ladies Ride in Rochford because it was under construction, and we want to keep them safe on this ride. While doing this it made me realize what I was missing, and it was the smell of the mountains and trees that made me think of home. I lived in California’s San Bernardino Mountains for over 25 years. The fresh air was awesome with all the lakes where with people were fishing along with enjoying water crafts.
The roads here in South Dakota had more off-road vehicles running all over the Black Hills than I’ve ever seen all the times I have visited. It was the best feeling to see everyone out and about enjoying our freedoms God gave us.
Back at Center Stage in Deadwood there was a lot of work to do with all the folks rolling in for the rally. Event Coordinator and First Gold Group Sales Rep Teresa Schanzenbach with her husband Dave, their son Jesse and daughter Sarah worked their tails off putting on this Rally and taking it down afterwards too. Oh by the way, their son Jesse can sing and very well I might say.
My job was to ride to all the shops that were the stops for the Poker Run to hand out flyers, ink and the rubber stamps, so there was an opportunity to do a live video from their place of business along with getting to know the owners. Every one of them was pleasantly nice and grateful to have a live video from their business. Along with this, I’m getting to know more about the Black Hills which was very helpful in learning my way around seeing new places.
Sunday, July 12 was the soft start of the Rally with registrations. At 1pm was the Deadwood Downtown Walking Dice Run that started to get the folks out on the town. (There are a lot of activities that I might not mention or forgot because I cannot be everywhere at one time.) There is talk about organizing more activities for folks to participate in at future 3 Wheeler Rallies because that makes it more entertaining for everyone.
Monday, July 13 was a very big day because it was picture day for the ladies who were going on their ride. CanAm called to ask if there was any way to take a picture with only the ladies who were on CanAm three wheelers. (Yes there was!) Everyone said it turned out great, job well done, even CanAm loved them. Then I asked the two gals who rode Harley trikes to join in for another group picture.
CanAm helped sponsor this rally along with the Road Warriors who were riding to the rally later on to join us. The Road Warriors help our wounded vets by giving them an opportunity to fulfill their wish to ride again. All CanAm asked for was a few pictures from the rally so let’s applaud them for helping to sponsor this event and our Road Warriors.
After the photo shoot the gals who were going on the Ladies Ride lined up to hit the big road to the little town of Rochford for this event. Thankfully Diane Jimenez let me ride on the back of her Spyder where my camera could capture some very cool pictures of them on the ride. There was also a group picture taken there of all of our lady riders that was fun to do while enjoying all of their company.
Time was marching on to get back to Center Stage where the lineup was starting, for a group ride out to meet the Road Warriors and ride in with them, welcoming them to the rally. The pressure was on to capture the best photo of them and then the whole group photo. I really want to thank everyone for their cooperation in all of these group shots. That evening was Movie Night at Outlaw Square in Old Town Deadwood.
Tuesday, July 14.
Registration continued as the folks rolled in for the rally. Center Stage opened up for business along with the vendors that came to support the rally. I was very surprised just how many people rolled in from Arkansas (where I now live) as vendors and participants in the rally and throughout the Sturgis area.
Vendors included Tattoo Your Ryde and Painting by Sara Clark. Her work was out of this world with her Dad and brothers on the other side of Center Stage working on CanAms. Other vendors had laser alignments, tires and LED lighting.
B.U.D.S. Diagnostics and SPYDERPOPS, both are from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Sue Hopper was there with her talented ability to paint. She also was amazing to watch as her paintings come to life. Jeff Dastrup Pinstriping was busy doing his thing making it look easy but we know better, painters and musicians must have a talent for their craft.
ThirstyRock Hydration Tank Bag was a huge hit at the rally. Dan and Irene Dougherty sold out their stock they brought to the rally and that’s a good thing because they will be back next year. I personally will tell you just how great these Hydration Tank Bags are while on a day ride or a cross country trip when it is overwhelmingly hot and humid.
The Law Tigers booth was set up for the first time at this rally with Ryan McKee giving out helpful info. And everyone enjoyed the Watermelon Feed at Center Stage accompanied by “social” music, so everybody can mingle as they are telling their stories of riding throughout the Black Hills.
Wednesday, July 15.
The VFW Pancake Fundraiser Breakfast was held while registration was still going on as the folks kept rolling in. Everyone whp was entered in the Show and Shine event was washing and waxing their machines getting ready to ride up to Old Town for the folks to judge all the different kinds of machines that were entered.
The folks in town visiting Deadwood, along with the store owners, get to vote for what they like. The event lasted about an hour and half that gave everyone time to shop or have lunch while chatting with everyone in town. After the votes was turned in it was time to head back to Center Stage where the riders put together small rides to go on through the Black Hills. At 6pm there was a social meetup at Center Stage after there was a music concert at the Outlaws Square.
Thursday, July 16.
Open free time to do some riding in the Black Hills, maybe to Mt. Rushmore and maybe up Iron Highway, or out to Boot Hill for lunch then out to Crazy Horse to see the carved mountainside and visitor center. There was also a Poker Run going on for those who signed up. Back at Center Stage, things are getting ready for dinner at 7pm, brought to the rally by Cheyenne Crossing. After dinner was the recognition of the Show and Shine winners along with Poker Run and Scavenger Hunt awards.
At 8:15 pm, it was time to line up for the Light Parade that would start at 8:30 pm. The ride went though Old Town Deadwood’s Main Street. I took the opportunity to ride on the back of Diane’s CanAm Spyder so I could do a live video. That ride was very fun, watching all the folks lining the street in Deadwood waving and yelling. Then we headed back to Center Stage where everyone was saying their goodbyes.
How time flies when you’re having fun. Everyone there enjoyed this rally that was a much needed getaway for all of us. This was the first big rally to start summer and it ended with a big bang in many happy ways!