Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Sturgis Motorcycle rally is all you expect, and more. Originally titled the Black Hills Motorcycle Classic by the Jackpine Gypsies (more about that later), it has become an enterainment extravaganza made possible by people -- people just like you and just like me.
In order to enjoy the world's greatest motorcycle rally, you have to have a spirit of adventure, self-reliance, flexibility, a healthy dose of willingness to chill and let the world be your entertainment. You have to be willing to get dirty, to get sweaty, to get wet, to get wind blown, to get sunburn.
Sturgis. It's an event that is unequaled any where in the world. No where. No other place matches what the Sturgis Rally offers. No other rally is what Sturgis is. Only one rally (Laconia) is older. None are larger. Though centered in the little town of Sturgis, the rally spread out over an area 50 miles by 100 miles. It's like one of the wonders of the world. But instead of architecture, or nature, it's about people.
Sturgis, for me, is about people who share a common interest. I learn a lot from them. Well, not all of them. Some I just learn a lot about how unusual people can be. Take the burn out crowd.They're not necessarily people who are burned out, I don’t think, but it’s what they do to their back tire. Never could quite understand that. Standing still, racing up through the gears, burning your back tire...smoke billowing until in some cases, the tire explodes!
It's about people watching -- seeing how vast a variety there is in people who like to ride. That's a trip all on its own.
Then of course, there is the entertainment that comes with a hedonistic opportunity to let it all hang out. Booze, bikes and babes – oh yeah, can’t have Sturgis without the babes.
It's about motorcycles -- seeing a half-million motorcycles, nearly all of which are customized for the owner in some way -- performance, style, comfort. It's a good place to get ideas. Or just see how creative people can be. I mean really, a custom John Deere motorcycle, or a replica of a children's trike?
The musical entertainment is top of the line. Some years are better than others-- 38 Special, Marshall Tucker, Aerosmith. Personal favorites like the Fabulous Thunderbirds show up at the rally.
Then there are the professional competitions such
as the drag races, the flat track races and the hill climb. These are the things that started the annual rally, thanks to the Jackpine Gypsies. I always pay tribute to the founders of the rally, the Gypsies. I love 'em!
Of course not all the motorcycling is professional competition. Some is professional danger -- the stunt shows put on by very adept riders. They're always young. I wonder if there's a reason for that -- like a short life span? I mean jumping your bike from the top of one trailer to the next has to claim its share of years from a person's life.
Booze? Did I already mention booze? Yeah, I did. It makes the rally even more entertaining. For example, the entertainment there at the Full Throttle is endless. The Full Throttle Saloon is the world's largest biker bar. You can actually park IN the bar. The bar itself is about a full city block. However, with the outlying area of vendors, amphitheater and parking, it's bigger than some farms. It's acres and acres big! acres.
There, you will see motorcycles zooming around in a cage. You will hear a personable, funny and mouthy dj on the sound system. You can watch a beer belly contest, a pork-and-bean wrestling match for women, or a series of MWF wrestling matches (Micro Wrestling Federation). Two guys, each about 3-feet tall acting like Hulk Hogan.
It can all be pretty outlandish...but, wait. Let me think about that. Naw, it's not all that weird and outlandish. Some of it is pretty fascinating without being like some circus sideshow. That's the gist of my next blog from Sturgis. Stay tuned.
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