OK. We know you’re a car guy (or girl, but mostly guys). If you weren’t a motorhead you wouldn’t be cruising this web site. And you surely have a car or two or three or more stashed in your garage, your driveway, or your buddy’s barn. But being a motorhead, you’re almost certainly interested in pretty much anything that’s powered by an internal combustion engine.
Maybe you have a power boat, a snowmobile, an ATV, maybe you have a race car, or maybe even a remote-controlled airplane. You might even be a licensed private pilot.
But if there’s one pretty sure bet in all of this, you now have, or used to have, a motorcycle. Maybe it’s a Harley, maybe a rice rocket, or a full custom. Yours could even be a classic bike like a Norton, an Indian, or an old BMW. But it seems like the interests of most car guys extend to related vehicles that involve wheels, gasoline, speed, and related mechanical devices.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that more than half the readers of WW have, or used to have, a two-wheeler. And I’d bet that many are sitting in dark corners of shops nestled under a combination of dust and cobwebs, just waiting to be made roadworthy again, “As soon as I get the time.”
Well, that time may have come.
Seems that one of the biggest motorcycle gatherings in the world takes place every August in beautiful downtown Sturgis, SD. Yep, that’s right. South Dakota. Right in the geographic center of the country where pretty much everybody has an equal opportunity to claim the longest commuting distance and the chance to earn their own “Iron Butt” honors.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been held every year since its founding in 1938, except for wartime years in the 1940s. And boy has it grown. Attendance at the week-long 2010 event topped a half a million people, which is actually quite extraordinary since the population of the entire state of South Dakota is only about half again that number. This year’s event will take place August 5-13.
And this is not just a cruise down Main Street. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a solid week of shows, special events, seminars, social events, concerts, and much, much more. There are road tours, motocross and drag racing, stunt riding exhibitions, test drives of the latest in motorcycling, parties, free-style riding and burnout demonstrations, and live entertainment of all types.
Which brings us to a point. Those of you who are regular readers of Weekend Warrior know that this column has focused on family-oriented venues that welcome wives, girlfriends and other significant others, as well as children, many with activities specifically designed to inform, educate, and entertain youngsters.
Not so much at Sturgis. This is pretty much an adult-themed event, with some skimpy outfits and some events deserving of a PG or even R rating. Realistically, this get-together is for adults only, with ample supplies of beer, biker babes, and sometimes-bawdy behavior.
But if the thought of tens of thousands of bikes and a town full of party people appeals to you, then this just might be the place for you.
And this place is no small potatoes. The event draws some of the biggest names in rock and country music, including A-list performers like Alice Cooper, The Little River Band, Bachman & Turner, Styx, Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, Foghat, Toby Keith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Marshall Tucker Band. With top name groups like these, it’s no wonder a half-million people will show up to party with them.
And for those who feel the need for a “higher calling,” there are church/worship services, a Charity Ride to benefit prostate cancer research, a number of events to honor and support homeless veterans, a fund-raiser for Sky Ranch for Boys, and even an AA Serenity Ride for those who don’t drink.
There are, of course, vendors offering everything from commemorative do-rags to new motorcycles, and everything in between. Parts, accessories, safety equipment – it’s all here. And while the preponderance of bikes are of Harley-Davidson descent, bikes of all types are welcome, including Japanese bikes and trikes.
If you’re a hard-core biker, then there’s not much more you need to know than to make your hotel or campground reservations early. And if you’re more of a casual rider, then you may want to take in the move Wild Hogs starring Tim Allen and John Travolta, in which a group of friends set out on a cross-country motorcycle adventure that seems to have found its way onto their, and many guys’ “bucket list.” It’s a humorous series of misadventures with a happy ending, and could certainly represent much of the fun and excitement of a road trip to Sturgis.
If your schedule should allow, there are many other places of interest nearby that are well worth visiting, including the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, the Spearfish Echo Caves in the Badlands, the scenic vistas of a tour through the Black Hills and, of course, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame.
So if your dirty, dusty Harley has been calling out to you, or if your bucket list has been nagging you to get at least one item checked off, or if you’re just looking for a partying good time with like-minded people, then you should consider a two-wheeled road trip to Sturgis. It’s a gathering of almost unfathomable proportion, a party atmosphere that rivals Mardi Gras, and a motorhead’s dream come true.
All on two wheels.
Details at: www.SturgisMotorcycleRally.com
by Glen Quagmire