Sturgis, S.D., Aug. 7–14—Although the 76th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally saw less people than the big 75th anniversary celebration last year, the Department of Fun was still in full operation, offering more diversions than a rider could possibly get to in a single week. Here is just a sampling of the activities and attractions we experienced.
A bright and early Sunday morning brought builders from Michael Lichter’s Motorcycles as Art exhibit to the Sturgis Buffalo Chip for the 2nd annual Flying Piston Builders Breakfast. Gourmet fare was offered upstairs the Big Engine Bar at the Crossroads, and proceeds from this exclusive event went to Buffalo Chip’s Tech Ed Scholarship Fund which helps young people and U.S. military vets that want a career in motorcycling. The breakfast raised twice as much funds as last year’s inaugural event!
Later that day, the Buffalo Chip and Michael Lichter hosted the annual industry party and media reception to officially kick off Michael’s exhibit, “Skin & Bones – Tattoo-inspired Motorcycles as Art.” Over 30 builders were invited to exhibit tattoo-themed motorcycles, and various artists were also invited to display their work, including the late Richie “Pan” Panarra whose work inspired the exhibit.
Bike shows have been a staple of the Sturgis rally for years, and the FXR show put on my Joe Mielke, family and friends, with the help of many sponsors, has become one of my favorites. This year, the 4th annual, was moved to the Sturgis Dragway, and an FXD show was added, in which I entered Elvira the Black Beauty, my 2000 FXD. Another favorite is The Horse Ride-In Chopper Show, this year held at the Pappy Hoel Campground on the site of the former Broken Spoke Campground. The 10th iteration saw a great turnout with some very cool entries and thousands of dollars’ worth of great prizes. We just hope the Full Throttle Saloon/Pappy Hoel Campground crews make a lot more progress on the site buildout by next year!
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip provided an array of entertainment, such as the Super Hooligan Races presented in conjunction with Roland Sands Design. The track was built in the amphitheater, making for some challenging conditions further exacerbated by the occasional sprinkles of rain. Following the races, the Seattle Cossacks put on one of their exhibitions, showing off their incredible stunt riding skills.
Multiple bike shows were held every day during the rally, and on Tuesday was the Editors’ Choice Bike Show sponsored by Harley-Davidson. The ride-in show was held in a blocked-off portion of Main Street adjacent to the Rally Point. Editors from major motorcycle magazines, both national and international, made their favorite picks from an array of modern and vintage beauties.
The Iron Horse Saloon at Lazelle and Junction hosted several outstanding bike shows, including the Twisted Tea Trike Show, Vintage Motorcycle Day, and others, with one notable being the Perewitz Custom Paint Show. There was even a Rat Rod Invasion, with rat rods, hot rods, and rat bikes making their appearance.
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip hosted a number of bike shows, such as the Biltwell Sportster Showdown and the venerable Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show. The Chip hosted some rides as well, such as the Biker Belles ride to The Lodge at Deadwood. Biker Belles is intended to bring together and celebrate women riders, and to raise funds for local charities. And if you’re looking to learn about motorcycle history, don’t miss visiting the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum at the corner of Main and Junction. The museum is planning a major expansion and can use a lot of help, either through entry fees, memberships, or donations!