Sturgis in our Rear View Mirrors

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Sturgis Rally is into its eight decade, with the 71st running this year.  Just the name “Sturgis”, sounds bigger than life.    Imagine any other town name, it just doesn’t work.  What the name Sturgis evokes— black & white memories of old panheads, shovels & knuckles, camping in the city park… races, mud, old school… a legend still happening.   With that, we give you…

Rolling into Sturgis with several days on the road behind you, is something to remember.  I feel like I’m taking a victory lap.  No wait, it’s like breaking the tape in a marathon.  No, it’s like…. NOTHING else.   Have you ever felt more alive?

QUICK THROTTLE HQ’s at QUALITY INN, SPEARFISH.

As we roll into the Quality Inn, right off Exit 14 in Spearfish, we are welcomed with porte cochere bike parking, a bike wash area,  free bottled water in a huge ice chest, free breakfast, free BBQ on Monday night of the Rally week, complimentary beer/wine cocktails every night at 6, what a place!  They love bikers here, and did everything they could to make us comfortable.  In fact, our info was that they were the only hotel in the area with all these free amenities for Rally guests.  And, kudos to Quality Inn for the excellent beds, my tender hip joints were so happy!  Their location although right off I-90 was behind a grassy rise and very quiet, and across the street from a coffee bar/food /convenience store /gas station that was also low key and quiet with gourmet sandwiches and even bread pudding for take-out.  So from this launch pad we headed out to see what’s shakin’ in Sturgis this year–

The LEGENDS Ride IV

Legends of both motorcycling and music participated in the 4th Annual Legends Ride from Deadwood’s Franklin Hotel/Silverado Casino to the Buffalo Chip on Monday took the sold out crowd of 500 riders on a 55-mile route.   Riders donate $150 each to participate, and this year nearly $54,000 was raised for the Black Hills Special Olympics and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame.  (Almost $205,000 has been raised over Legends Ride’s four years.)

Rupert Boneham and Holly Hoffman from Survivor took the opportunity again this year, to truly make a difference on behalf of Rupert’s Kids Foundation.  Rupert reminded everyone that we can’t just depend on government to take care of the less fortunate.  But through cooperation of business and private citizens, we can accomplish great things.  He gets a lot of businesses to step up and give it up for a good cause.

Michael Lichter again shot his trademark overhead group photo of the Legends Ride crowd from the scissor lift across the street.  Major sponsors, Interstate Batteries’ Mike Ragan pulled MC duty along with Victory Motorcycles’ Robert Pandya, and Victory supplied bikes for Rupert and other dignitaries to do the ride.  I of course rode my Press Fleet loaner Victory Cross Roads, joined by our National Publisher Chris Dalgaard along with Northwest edition’s Mike Dalgaard and Von Nix.

We also had the privilege of doing this ride with legendary Motor Maid woman rider and Hall of Fame inductee (later in the week) Gloria Struck, Jackpine Gypsies’ Meg McDonough and many other women riders.

Other celebrities & dignitaries along for the ride included Lorenzo Lamas, Bert Baker, and even Mrs. South Dakota Lori Visker riding her own bike, with Big Kenny from Big & Rich leading the ride out of Deadwood.

We caught a couple sprinkles of rain, but otherwise the weather gods smiled on us.  QT’s Fred Mathews however was under a different part of the sky during the day, reporting quarter-size (or larger) hail—making for a challenging ride surface—not to mention those without a helmet trying not to get knocked unconscious!

We had a stop again, eerily an “oh no not again” at first, stopping at the same gravel lot just prior to the freeway underpass just outside Sturgis-where last year’s ride took a break for Lorenzo Lamas to repair an oil line last year.   This time it was to allow the police department to clear an accident scene in town before we made the situation untenable trying to pass over 500 bikes through there.   Once the all-clear was given, we got on the road again, entered Sturgis and I was pleasantly surprised at this year’s last leg through town— Traffic officers at every intersection, blocking side traffic so we could go through unimpeded all the way out to the Chip VIP parking area on the green grass pasture out back.  This made the Legends Ride flow smoothly the whole way through.  In prior years, the Legends Ride got bogged down in traffic after entering Sturgis– But this year they got it right, and kudos to the Sturgis Rally organizers for making this improvement.

At the Buffalo Chip the riders were treated to a buffet dinner, and presented with live music and a charity auction of many donated items benefiting the Legends Ride charities.  Custom home builder Joe Sterling from Ten Sleep, Wyoming put up the winning bid for the Michael Prugh/Western Dakota Tech design/build bike, to be ridden by his wife Susan who stepped up for photos on the bike at the media’s request.

Rod ‘Woody’ Woodruff, whose Legendary Buffalo Chip is the home of the Legends Ride, is already looking to 2012, so we are too! 

QUICK THROTTLE’S READER PARTY with the FRYED BROTHERS BAND at the KNUCKLE!  

Quick Throttle held 2011’s Reader Party at the Knuckle Saloon- the huge bar, restaurant and entertainment venue that spans an entire city block along Lazelle.  The Knuckle, a two-story galleried complex also hosted Extreme Sport Fighting during the Rally, and even had women competitors this year.  For the QT Party, The Fryed Brothers Band autographed copies of Quick Throttle’s August issue with their starring cover poster for the film “I RIDE”, with a banner of covers displayed mid-air above Bobby the drummer– and rocked the house, throwing out plenty of Quick Throttle T-shirts and other items to the audience in the process.  Playing their original songs plus their own versions of covers like “Angels Flying Too Close to the Ground”, they did this one at the Quick Throttle Party and then again Thursday of Rally week as  a tribute to Miles Squire, a million mile rider and more, who appeared in I RIDE, and who died only weeks before this year’s Rally.  Earlier this same day, about 50 riders made a memorial run down Spearfish Canyon and stopped to scatter his ashes in the falls, where he would have wanted to finally rest in peace.

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STURGIS MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM & HALL OF FAME, at the east end of Main Street downtown.  Here you can see history and motorcycles blended together.  The Museum charges $5 admission and has dedicated volunteers who also put on the induction breakfast in Rapid City (they used to hold the breakfast in Sturgis or Spearfish til they outgrew all the available facilities). This year, Gloria Struck, an original member of the Motor Maids womens’ motorcycle club, was inducted.  It’s about time!  Gloria rides to Sturgis each year and she’s in her 80’s.  I bow to you, Gloria.  My hero.

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New to Sturgis this year, The Rumble For The Heartland is a fundraiser ride started by Lorenzo Lamas of Lorenzo Cycles. The inaugural ride started at Devil’s Tower taking the back roads to end up at the Buffalo Chip for some food & drinks followed up by some great music. Proceeds go to Operation Homefront and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Learn more about this and buy raffle tickets for the Ralph Randal built FXR with a 124” S&S motor at www.lorenzocycles.com

BIKER BELLES – Women Riders Make a Difference—

By Meg McDonough

Photos courtesy of The Buffalo Chip®

The Buffalo Chip’s® first two tries at a women’s ride, previously named Pink & Proud, just wasn’t effectively promoting women’s role in motorcycling.  A group of biker women that included Cris Sommer-Simmons, Gloria Struck, Lori DeSilva and Meg McDonough knew there were better ways to do it.  Meg, long a friend of the Chip’s owner, Rod “Woody” Woodruff, discussed their ideas with him almost immediately after the second Pink & Proud reception.  Plans for changes were begun for this signature event that honors women’s history in motorcycling, as well as giving back to the South Dakota and Sturgis Rally community.

One of the first changes was the choice of charitable beneficiaries.  It was decided that part of the donations collected would be distributed to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame for the express purpose of creating or enhancing Museum exhibits related to the heritage of women in motorcycling.  The balance of 2011’s contributions was to be distributed to a charity that focuses on helping female children and adolescents.

Laura Klock, Klock Werks owner and world motorcycle speed record holder, has created a South Dakota Charity named “Helping with Horsepower”.  That charity is helping young women rebuild their lives through a program that included teaching motorcycle design and construction.  They were rebuilding a crashed motorcycle which later would be auctioned to benefit the charity.  Helping with Horsepower seemed a perfect fit to provide the women’s riding community a meaningful opportunity to give back.

The Biker Belles’ Ride was scheduled to follow the induction ceremonies of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.  Registration was at the Lodge at Deadwood, which is where it was staged.  Meg McDonough led a group of nearly 100 women through a very scenic ride through the Black Hills to the Buffalo Chip for the official Biker Belles reception.

The reception was held in a dedicated 8000 square foot tent set near the Chip’s main entrance.  A stage was set for performances by Missy Colville-The Iron Cowgirl and Dan Lawson.  Food was catered.  Diva Amy presented a fashion show that featured women’s riding gear that was then donated for the silent auction.

The event was packed with famous female faces, including several Hall of Fame Members. The event connected old and new friends.  Many photographs were taken and many autographs were given.   80% of the contributions go to Helping with Horsepower.  Today’s Biker Belles doing good for tomorrow’s Biker Belles.  It was a very successful event and a good time was had by all.

Please visit the BuffaloChip.com for updates on next the 2012 Biker Belles, or visit BikerBelles.com

We look forward to riding with you next year.

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AROUND STURGIS and Beyond– Either location of the Broken Spoke will leave you wild eyed. At the Broken Spoke Campground you probably met Jack Schit and can now tell your friends you do know Jack Schit! Downtown Jay Allen was helping lead off the Michael Lichter/Sugar Bear ride, putting on a great bike show, or showing off the hotties.

Out at the Full Throttle Saloon, Michael Ballard and his guests were taping a segment of Full Throttle TV with the help of an enthusiastic crowd of spectators back in the, and we met up with Greg “Goat” Cook who does charity event guest appearances, and we also got some shots of FTS & the featured band Eve to Adam.

Must See’s— You have to take a drive around Needles Highway then test your skills on Iron Mountain Road while you visit the Black Hills. Rushmore is nearby along with the wondrous laminated wooden bridge. Just stay clear of the buffalo!

MUSICAL  & MOTORCYCLE MAYHEM!!

Slant Artist Jeff Decker’s work & motorcycle collection was showcased in the Lichter Exhibit Hall at the Chip along with other items like vintage racing suits etc., for some jaw-dropping walk-around examination. Marc Lacourciere’s gallery of work was on display nearby. Outside, the Buffalo Chip is its own party. Self contained with everything you need from bread to zip lines, eye candy to mobile works of art, midgets to music and everything in between. You might even run into Jeff Bridges…

Of course Sturgis is famous for the concerts staged at the Buffalo Chip.  We got to attend and shoot most shows:  Def Leppard, Buckcherry, Toby Keith, Lukas Nelson, Gregg Allman, Jeff Bridges, Tesla, Stevie Nicks, Leon Russell, George Thorogood and more.

We had the privilege of meeting up with Lukas Nelson and his drummer/band mate Anthony LoGerfo before their show—I noted that Lukas doesn’t trade on his last name.  He paid his own dues playing music among his peers out in the world and absorbing life around him.  For one so young, he is mature beyond his years.  Asked how he started the band, Lukas says, “I met Anthony out surfing, and we became friends, are both musicians and decided to form a band together. “  What do they think about playing Sturgis?  “We are STOKED to be here!”   Well, we were stoked to see them on the big Buffalo Chip stage too!

Writers/Contributors- Randy Twells, Meg McDonough, Fred Mathews, Photos- RT, Abel, Fred & Courtesy of The Buffalo Chip®

View the Sturgis Photo Gallery here!

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