Deadwood 3 Wheeler Rally 2019

By Tom “Bomb” Christian

This year was the fifth annual Deadwood 3 Wheeler Rally in South Dakota. It was a super hit with everyone who was involved.  Arriving in Deadwood after a long journey from Southern California via Arkansas, people ask me if my GPS was broken. After almost 3,000 miles of sightseeing I was ready for the 3 Wheeler Rally rides in the Black Hills where there would be lots of stops and time to rest my back end. There was no slowing down but it was easier on my body with all the stops to take pictures and visit with all the folks from everywhere.



Rolling in to Deadwood the first thing was to see Teresa Schanzenbach the coordinator of the rally.  I met her at the sign up building. It was very nice to see her again and she was keeping an eye out for me as I was traveling across the country on my way to Deadwood. It did not take long to get my camera out to start shooting photos. Teresa was my first victim, then I rode around Center Stage where I met her husband David who was the second victim with my camera.

I waited to unload my bike so I could get out before all of the riders showed up, to try getting some early pictures. Then to go out when lots of riders are out enjoying the Black Hills and snap a few great pics of their happy faces. Time to unload Cherry-Bomb at my room at First Gold Gaming Resort where I just laid on that soft bed for a while resting up a little. After a little power nap, back to Center Stage to get a feel for the evening and the next day plan.

Tuesday was the first day of the Rally with all hands on deck working to set up along with putting up the banners, tents with ez-ups for shade and to protect from the rain– because it can rain in Deadwood at any given time. It helps cool things down so you just deal with it. The riders were rolling in to sign up and the lines were getting longer as the day went on. My plan was to take a ride out to Devil’s Tower to take some pictures of the landscape around the area then off to Full Throttle Saloon to check it out; after that off to the Buffalo Chip.

Enjoying the ride back to Center Stage in Deadwood where the crowds of riders were getting bigger, filling up vendors with plenty of customers for their offerings such as painting,  lights and exhaust upgrades.. There was one man with a booth just for different types of mounting brackets for cell phone charging devices that was extremely cool.

A few booths down I saw a hydration tank bag called Thirsty Rock that just jumped out at me, so I had to go back to see what it was all about. Almost a gallon of water with a very big opening for putting in ice that goes into a very well built bag that is extremely insulated. The bag mounts on a metal fuel tank with very powerful magnets and does not scratch your paint. This bag, even the mouthpiece, is built like military gear. It works very well on the long very hot ride back home.*

Wednesday was the group picture day, so a lot of the folks gathered by Center Stage while they decided where and how the picture was going to be taken. This made a good opportunity to visit with everyone. We had some special visitors, who were dressed up like the Presidents from Mount Rushmore, stroll through Center Stage to allow everyone to have their pictures taken with them. This was a big hit while waiting for the group shot. It was time for me to climb up into the bleachers to capture the best picture of the group.

After the group picture was the Trike Games where everybody wanted to watch the brave souls who participate. This is where your riding skills along with teamwork comes into play. Trying to pick up stuffed animals with a fishing net while riding through cones under the gun of time limits of two minutes. Then the fun starts; after you have a blindfold put on you it makes it even harder, but a lot of fun to watch along with all the laughs.

Thursday was a ride day so off towards Mt. Rushmore we go down south on the 385, though Boot Hill to the cut off for Mt. Rushmore and Keystone. Or go straight toward the town of Custer the way I went. But first we stopped at an overlook to check out the Pactola Reservoir and take a group picture of some of the riders; that was fun while chatting with the folks. The next stop was at a convenience store where everyone could fuel up while getting something to drink or a snack. Then off to Custer to catch the Needles Highway where it takes you through the Eye of the Needle Tunnel. There are lots of people taking pictures when waiting in line to drive though because only one car at a time can get through.

This time there was a special guest waiting for us that made it backup a little more. Mr. Mountain Goat was the big hit of the day for the cameras that were going crazy on him. It was time to grab a bite to eat so off to Keystone to chow down on a buffalo burger with a cold drink. On the way back to Center Stage where there was lots of watermelon eating going on, I kept thinking  what a beautiful ride it is though the Black Hills of South Dakota.


Friday plan was to catch the riders out cleaning their machines up to get ready for the Show and Shine contest in old town Deadwood where the shopkeepers and all the tourists can check out all the machines with their last touch of wax before the contest. It was quite a sight to see all of them riding into downtown Deadwood at the same time. It seemed to be timed just right for all the tourists to be in town so they can enjoy all those beautiful trikes along with the Spyders and even Cherry Bomb.

This was the only time that we could park on the streets of Deadwood and get away with it. Everyone had a chance to go visit their favorite place to grab a bite to eat or go to the famous malt shop and grab an ice cream or shake; and that’s what I did thanks to Speed, one of the members of the Powder River Trike Club who worked the last two rallies.

After the Show and Shine event all the riders rode back to Center Stage where everyone was enjoying the weather with the delicious aroma of the BBQ that Dave was cooking, while the judges tallied up the results from the contest. This was a great time to visit with everybody because there was shade and places to sit while everybody chit chatted. Now was the time for the top winners of the Show and Shine contest to be announced.

Conventional Trike: Nancy Bigelow, very sweet lady with a beautiful Indian trike.

Sidecar: Edward Holterman

Reverse Trike: Michael Sykes

Custom and Mayor’s Award: Dave Kleinsasser

Slingshots/Stallions: Jerry Vroman   

After everyone was handed their trophy it was time to line up for the big parade through the little town of Deadwood with all of the vehicles that showed up for the rally. Perfect timing to have all the bikes shined up to show off, and having it at night with all the lights made it a super cool parade. I hitched a ride on the back of Diane Jimenez’ Spyder so I could do a live video of this event.

Saturday was the last full day of the rally, so everyone wanted to go see things that they had not seen yet or wanted to revisit. Pulling over along the highways where the sun was the best for taking pictures while visiting with everyone was a lot of fun. Everyone wanted to know if they were in some shots that might be in my story and where they might be able to see them. This was a great time to show people our Facebook page then look up our site online to see the story, then go to the photo gallery to check out the collection of pictures. It was sure fun to meet all the folks that came out to this rally. What a great bunch of people on all different types of machines with wonderful outlooks on the rally.

Back at Center Stage where dinner was served, we waited to watch the Road Warriors roll in from San Diego, California, taking the scenic route through all the national parks they can go through. A lot of the rally attendees rode out to Gillette to meet them, then escort our Road Warriors to Center Stage. This is a super great organization that helps out our wounded vets and gives them an opportunity to fulfill their wish to ride again. It was my pleasure to interview them just like they were a part of my family. The Road Warriors jerseys were a big big hit with everyone. They were sold to help pay the expenses for the road trip by our wounded combat veterans. You can get online and order the jerseys from the Road Warriors. After the dinner everybody knew it was time to start packing up to hit the big road to the little city wherever they came from. All the hugs and handshakes with the goodbyes made a lot of teary-eyed people look forward to next year’s Deadwood 3 Wheeler Rally in South Dakota.

Sunday was the last day of the rally so a lot of the folks had hit the road back home. There were a few people left to have breakfast burritos then say their last goodbyes. The 2019 3 Wheeler Rally was the 5th year and the biggest so far.  Everyone looks forward to it growing  as the years go on. I personally want to thank Mike and April, the owners of First Gold Gaming Resort in Deadwood along with Teresa, her husband Dave and not forgetting Terry. This was one hell of a trip for me and one of a lifetime.

*– More info at: