Sturgis, S.D., Aug. 10—Our history and heritage is so important, molding generation after generation in every aspect of our lives, social, business, political, economical, down to our very core beliefs of how, why and who we are today. The history that is pulled together for our motorcycling community in the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame is simply inspiring and just downright astounding for every type of motorcycle enthusiast. So the fact that THUNDER PRESS magazine had our 25-year anniversary celebration at this location during the biggest motorcycle rally in the country was just brilliant. Being “The Voice of the Biker Community” for 25 years is also an amazing achievement, especially in today’s ever-growing reliance on the digital communication. There is just something about the ability to hold written words and pictures in your own two hands that gives satisfaction and comfort that some old-school aspects of our lives are still in existence. Of course, THUNDER PRESS also has a vast online presence through our website and social media. Something for everyone, for sure.
We had great support of our silver celebration beginning, of course, with the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame itself, then with two very generous sponsors of food and beverage. The Mushroom Council supplied amazing blended mushroom and beef burgers and sausage snacks through their Blenditarian project, www.blenditarian.com, and the very popular BuzzBallz/Southern Champion were serving up ready-to-go cocktails and chillers along with Crooked Fox Bourbon, XIII Kings Vodka and other popular alcoholic concoctions. They were also giving out some very cool red and white tank tops and bandanas.
We had tremendous support from some very generous friends for raffle prizes like Bell Helmets, Cardo Headsets, and WindVest Windshields of Morgan Hill, California. Smudge and Trish of Fairfield Pinstriping out of Temecula, California, shared some great art pieces and Legends Vintage Motorcycles from Springville, Utah, Star Brite Solutions, Novigo, Bugslide, Life Saver Horn, Flying K Creations Pump Pockets, HardDrive, and Marlin’s Genuine Accessories offered some pretty cool swag as well. Our friends from Laid Back Manor even sent handmade gift baskets and certificates for two-night stays. Some of the big winners included Michelle Avery from Oregon who scored the Cardo Headsets, Tom Swanson of San Antonio, Texas, won the Bell Helmet, and Gary Dickson from Naples, Florida, won the pinstriped saw from Fairfield Pinstriping. Other winners included riders and subscribers from California, South Dakota and Michigan. The unofficial count indicates that over 500 guests made their way through the museum that evening, and we gave away over 200 swag bags.
One very notable guest in attendance included the legendary, Gloria Tramontin Struck. At 92 years old, she still rides her Harley-Davidson to motorcycle rallies and events across the country. Gloria was inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2011 and is the oldest, still-riding member of the Motor Maids, which she joined in the mid-1940s. Her motorcycle-riding daughter Lori, who is also a member of the Motor Maids, and her granddaughter Kathy who now rides a Harley-Davidson Sportster accompanied her to the THUNDER PRESS celebration. Her grandson Gary was also in attendance. Talk about generations of motorcycle history. Gloria was excited to share one of the newest exhibits at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, a 1958 Harley-Davidson FL Panhead. The first-year Big Twin with rear swingarm suspension had been bought brand new by a man from Venezuela, who immediately requisitioned the Tramontin Harley-Davidson dealership (Gloria’s family business) to have it totally taken apart and every nut, bolt and piece totally chromed. It was her brother Arthur who did the work and as she stood next to this bike that night you could see how much it meant to her. She simply said, “I feel my brother’s presence right here.” It was very touching and inspiring to listen to her tell the history of this motorcycle.
It became very apparent as I looked around this hallowed place, so rich in motorcycle history and culture, of the many men and women who have paved the way for this incredible industry on two and three wheels and provided the opportunity for so many to express their love, passion and talent to its fullest potential. Standing there in the crowd were two truly amazing women, Marion Minor, the owner and CEO of EPG Media LLC (the parent company of THUNDER PRESS), and Marjorie “Shadow” Kleiman, Editor in Chief of THUNDER PRESS. There was also a very special woman who was there signing the amazing photo book she created to honor the 2016 Cannonball Run, our own West Coast Contributing Editor Felicia Morgan. She is a great mentor and inspiration to any motorcycle rider and I am honored to work with her here on the West Coast.
Surrounded by such talent, I am humbled by the opportunity they have all given me to be part of this history in the making. Happy anniversary, THUNDER PRESS. Here is to the next 25 years. Cheers!