Sturgis 2017

August 10, 2017

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Sturgis 2017

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally makes a little less noise, and gets a little bigger and a little safer every year.

The other day, USA Today wondered if the “world’s biggest motorcycle rally” has “lost its edge.” McNewspaper expects a half million people to stream through the far western suburbs of Rapid City this year to ride, listen to tribute bands, watch “colorful characters,” go midget bowling, chat with painted women, get Chinese characters tattooed on their arms or ankles and experience the thrill of a real hailstorm. Why not? A week in Sturgis only costs a little more than it costs to fly to Moorea and rent one of those over the water bungalows for a week.

“There’s no question Sturgis remains wildly popular,” USA Today assured the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce. Which is a good thing because the other reason to vacation in South Dakota is the Corn Palace in Mitchell. “But this storied week long biker rally is no longer the raucous spectacle it once was,” the paper alerts prospective visitors, “when motorcycle gangs fought in the streets with wrenches and set fire to foreign-made bikes.” The paper sees Sturgis now as mostly a costume party for “doctors, lawyers and accountants.”

Affluent Professionals

Not all of those affluent professionals got there on a motorcycle. Little by little, Sturgis is transforming from a motorcycle rally to a motorcycle themed event. There are about 2.5 million Harleys registered in the United States and it is unlikely that all those bikers go to Sturgis an average of once every five years – particularly considering that the average Harley owner rides less than 3,000 miles a year. What is likely is that Sturgis attendance continues to grow because many Sturgis visitors have never ridden a motorcycle. And, Harley-Davidson sees them as its next generation of customers.

This Sturgis, Harley’s Jumpstart Rider Experience is trolling for would be outlaws just outside the community center.

Jumpstart, as Rapid City television station KEVN explained the other night. “is a real Harley set up on rollers so that folks can try out the road on two wheels…without being on the open road.”

Jumpstart has been around for about five years and the idea of using it to attract new riders is almost sort of reasonable. But the idea of taking it to Sturgis seems less so.

Mount Up

“You may have heard people say that there’s nothing like being on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle,” Harley is saying to people who have already spent a lot of dollars and arranged their lives so they can go to the world’s largest motorcycle rally. “Now, you can find out for yourself – even if you have no previous experience with motorcycles.”

The Motor Company wants its sales prospects to know that “no knowledge or previous motorcycle experience (is) necessary” and that the “motorcycle will not tip over.”

All you have to do is somehow get to that community center in Sturgis. Like, probably, you can Uber in from Cheyenne or Denver. And then, “you’ll mount the bike, set your boots on the foot pegs and fire up the engine under the watchful eye of trained personnel. Give the throttle a twist and hear that unforgettable Harley sound. Sitting comfortably on the bike, you’ll continue to shift through the gears – all safely and securely attached to the jumpstart platform.”

Just whatever you do, don’t forget to put on your genuine Harley gear before you mount. And be sure to get your photo taken before you get off. Your secretary back home will want to see.



50 Responses to “Sturgis 2017”

  1. Tripper Says:

    @BMW Chillicothe is still good yes. Haven’t been for a few years but how is Wetzel’s Wonderland doing these days? Great times there for years. Also…little smaller party “Kamikaze” just north of Ashland. Still going?

  2. Shovelhead Says:

    “Dress up Motorcycle Week”? And “Take the Honky Tonk out of it?
    What an asshole this Mitchell is.
    For one thing, Laconia Bike Week is already a Yuppie costume party. How much more can you dress it up?
    Not to say Bikers don’t go, but mostly it’s an overpriced T-shirt convention. I guess the Death of Laconia Bike Week was inevitable. At least I got to see it before the fakes took over.
    Thank god the local Clubs still have swap meets and parties.
    Thanks for the info Rollinnorth!!

    Respect to 1%ers

  3. rollinnorth Says:

    Meanwhile, back up here in NH:

    “LACONIA — The owner of the Weirs Drive-In said her iconic property is under agreement to be sold to a local developer.

    Mitchell will purchase the land for $2.5 million.

    Mitchell said he plans to put in about ’80 higher-end’ condominiums, shops offering items such as cigars, wine and cheese as well as an event building to ‘dress up Motorcycle Week.’

    Mitchell said he wants to ‘enhance Motorcycle Week to take a lot of the honky tonk out of it and class it up a bit.’

    The work will be done in several phases over several years, he said.

    ‘We are going to develop it and take it up to another level in the Weirs,’ Mitchell said.

    Mitchell said he now controls about 22 acres in the immediate area over several different parcels.”


  4. Mark Says:

    No my game, too many cops and Lops. Better ways to spend time and money.

  5. BMW Says:

    Wouldn’t go to Sturgis on a bet, these days. In my part of the country, Sandusky used to be ok, Chillicothe was good last time I went. These days, we just party with other clubs and skip the trashy fake scene. I had to laugh at Aging Rebel when I read the “Motorcycle themed” description, sort of like Harley Inc.!LOL!


  6. galveston Says:

    I remember buffalo chip titty contest always turned into a ‘mag light’ fuck fest.

  7. Abilene mouse Says:

    The Somerville rally down south on hwy 36 is great. Kinda hit or miss though. Seems like they cancel it often.

  8. Whitepride Says:

    No more for me. They all have turned into money hungry cop fests. Gone are the days of partying out in the open. I miss the days of getting drunk and doing a line of coke off of some sluts ass without worrying about getting pinched. I was really born 20 years too late

  9. Sieg Says:

    The last time I was at the rally, we camped in the park downtown. didn’t cost a dime, and no one hassled us. That all changed a few years later.

    Now, fuck all that shit. If I want to see a doctor, a dentist, or a lawyer, I’ll make an appointment to visit their office.


  10. TX_Biker Says:

    @Muck 1%er – I just spit crown royal out my nose when I read that midget shit. I will know better than to be taking a drink when reading your posts…

  11. TX_Biker Says:

    The only real rallies left are the lesser known rallies in Texas. Summerville is pretty wild, right on the lake lots of skin at an area called the Zoo and no real big sponsors. camping out is cheap and its a nice ride out there. no trailer queens as there isn’t a paved main drag to cruise on. It is a destination party.

  12. ed Says:

    I used to go before it became cool. Too many cops and not enough bikers

  13. Docb Says:

    Don’t forget to take your new Harley vest off before you get back in that uber car, it’s a fifty dollar fine

  14. Popeye Says:

    Making it to Sturgis was once bad roads ,unreliable bikes, redneck cops and sleeping on the side of the road all with not enough money in your pocket. Everyone who made it shared a kinship that meant something and the rally was a celebration for those who shared the road and the experiance . Today its souless and made for those who buy their version of brotherhood. It used to be about the journey now its just about the destination.

  15. Dutchboy Says:

    Find a field, tap a keg, burn a pig, be sure to tell the strippers at the local clubs where the party’s at, invite a few good bands and set up a hay wagon for them to play on. Helps if there is a big pond or Creek for the ladies to skinnydip in… Now we got a PARTY.

  16. Paladin Says:

    “The paper sees Sturgis now as mostly a costume party for “doctors, lawyers and accountants.” The foregoing sums it up nicely.

    Came across the music video “Ride” by Lana Del Rey. It pretty much mirrors how I and those I rode with lived our lives back in my younger days. I still ride and I’ll ride ’till my wheels fall off.


  17. Flanative Says:

    @ Muck 1%er ” one of which was a midget ” that’s some funny shit.

  18. FF Says:

    My friends band, Into The Void, is playing at Bergen County HD in Rochelle Park NJ ay noon, 12 August tomorrow.if any of yall are around, stop by.

  19. Iron Rider Says:

    Made the Sturgis run a few times and it was an experience due to the people I rode there with and hung out with, made some good peeps there, and yes there are enough trailer bikers there to choke a horse. Has it been on my to do list since I was last there…no.

    Sturgis has changed over there years and with it the people who go to Sturgis and that not unexpected, but as Bonehead and Shovelhead among others have stated there are other places I would rather be and enjoy being at. Dont need 70k people to have a blast

  20. stroker Says:

    After reading most of the comments here, I realized that, yeah, I have a lot in common with most of the commenters. Having said that, and thinking back over the years, I’ve had some pretty good times travelling to and from Sturgis. I’ve been about 18 times by my foggy memory count, and rode every one of ’em.
    But that’s the thing…..I have good memories of the trips TO and FROM Sturgis. OK….I had some good times IN Sturgis too, but what sticks out in my mind most favorably were the roads.
    I never took the same way twice if I didn’t have to. I live in central coast California. Most of my trips involved the highways less travelled. I think I can now offer anyone wanting to make the journey some good suggestions for scenic highways and byways across our great West.
    Wanna get there in a hurry? Hwy 80! Made it to Sturgis in 2 days years ago. Yeah. Had “help.”
    But my favorite way to travel is to have at least 2 weeks, and take maybe 5 or 6 days to get there, stopping at little towns. Places like Tonopah, Nevada. Delta Utah. Dinosaur, Colorado. Eagle, Colo. Kemmerer, or Eden, or Ten Sleep, or Buffalo, Wyoming. The northern route is cool. Lake Shasta, Susanville, Alturas, California. Lakeview, Bend, Burns, Vale, Oregon. New Meadows, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Challis Mud Lake, Idaho. Yellowstone!
    Ah Yes, Yellowstone. I’ve spent days there. Coupla years never made it to Sturgis at all. Missoula, Gardiner (be sure to stop at the 2-Bit Saloon!), Kallispell, (Flathead Lake is beautiful), Glacier Park (Going to the Sun Hwy), Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Alzada, all in Montana.
    Of course there’s the wonders around Sturgis that are very, very worthwhile: The Black Hills, the “Heads” (Rushmore), Devils Tower, Custer Park, and the Badlands. Wall Drug.
    I’ve memories of sunsets and sunrises (some tinted by Tequila, some not) over some of the most gorgeous country in the world.
    Ya don’t get to see that stuff if yer agenda is to trailer yer newly purchased Miluakee Eight to Sturgis just as fast as ya can. Stop. Smell the roses (or buffalo shit….or whatever). Take that road less travelled. You’ll be richer for it.
    I’ve spent time fixing a roller lifter on my panhead in Cody, Wyoming, at a second-rate motel in a raging thunderstorm with the Hells Angels and my buddies, and several fifths of rot-gut. Bought the lifter for $5.00 from an aging scooter tramp with green tattooed eyelids there. He had a shop up above the town in a honest-to-God log cabin.
    Great times.
    You get my point…..Sturgis is a destination, but it can be a journey too.
    Take the journey.

  21. Davr Says:

    No colors allowed, NO thanks, NOT going.

  22. Muck 1%er Says:

    @ Phuquehed,
    I do like the way you so eloquently put down in words, what you’re feelin man. Lol

    I agree with ya. It ain’t a good party, unless you’re draggin someone who had to much to drink, out of the bonfire by the ankles. The more unbelievable the story is, the better the party was.
    Like the one where a brother was waving his gun around like John Wayne and was told to put it away or lose it. He got mad, shoved it in his pants pocket and promptly shot himself in the leg. Taking out one of his nuts in the process.

    The one where a brother is drunk and wants to take the run truck home, so we take the keys away and then he starts shootin the fuck out of the truck. He said “If I can’t drive it, ain’t nobody gonna drive it.” It was funny as fuck watchin a bunch of drunk and stoned people tryin to scatter when the shootin started. Lmao
    Then there was the time I convinced a couple of girls (one of which was a midget) to put on a show. Unfortunately, they were drunk as hell and the midget puked in the others crotch. That caused the pukee to sit up and puke on the midgets head, which set off a chain reaction of puking. Good God man! What a fuckin great time those days were!!!

    Now days, The cell phones would be out and someone callin 911 at the first hint of good old fashioned fun. Or the alphabet gang would be tryin to RICO everyone at the party because someone had a firearm at the bonfire without a license and a campfire permit.

    If you ever make it to the Pacific Northwest, gimme a heads up on here and I’ll try to meet up with ya and buy you a drink. Myself…I’m pretty much a soda and coffee guy these days. It’s kinda odd, but I ain’t been to jail since I quit drinkin. Funny how that worked out. Lol

    Respect to ya and stay safe.

  23. david Says:

    ” all safely and securely attached……to the jumpstart platform”.
    lol Thanks Rebel for reporting the humor.

  24. Nags Says:

    I’m 41 years old and growing up with all the great stories i heard from my parents crew I always wanted to go to Sturgis. Bought my 1st Harley at 24 years old in 2001. Its a 1999 softail std with 5400 miles that I laid out $14000 for. Rode out from Michigan last year for the 1st time. We spent all of 1 evening in Sturgis. The walk up and down a couple different blocks showed me that a couple blocks was all I needed to see. Stayed so the ol lady could watch 1 of the free concerts that night. Spent the rest of the time seeing the sights of S.D. that could be seen any time of year. Rode through some of the most beautiful sights the U.S. has to offer. Glad we went but that feeling along with all of the great memories our crew made had nothing to do with the rally and everything to do with people that were there as well as the adventure there and back.

  25. Neuro Says:

    @ Gandalf: excellent visual. You are giving me ideas.

  26. Bustersbrotravis Says:

    Every credit glide now comes with a pre-distressed cut;DILLIGAF and other novelty flash patches not included

  27. Phuquehed Says:

    There’s not enough money on the fucking planet to get me to one of these trailer-fests of RUBs and punks and IO faggots and their cock-sucking ilk. Never could stand the kinds of ‘parties’ and such that had ‘vendors’. If I see a vendor at some place I expected to have nothing but dirt, grass, tents, sleeping bags, and a few pike’emup trucks for broke-down bikes, I pass on to somewhere else, or if there is no place else and am now bummed because of what I saw, hit a bar, get lit and hope I don’t get in a fight, heh.

    Never could and never will understand the whole trailer-ones-bike-somewhere mentality, but then I never could understand owning a bike and being nothing but a fair-weather rider (my useless fathead younger brother comes to mind, my less-than-best-friend-anymore also).

    I’d be prouder than a rooster to’ve partied with the likes of Muck 1%er, Dirty Dingus McGee, sled tramp, Wretched Man, Steel, The Monk, Bone Head, Sieg, etc hell…you guys know who you are. I fucking miss those kinds of parties and people. No bullshit about what fancy-shamncy booze to bring or drink, no lettin’ the OL’s dictate what will and won’t happen while she’s around – they either liked it or shut the fuck up, music *everyone* liked…if there was any at all, and the only ‘planned’ rides while at the party area were those to get more booze! I ride/rode a long or short distance to get to the party and those friends, not to have someone plan stupid rides with curves and a tree in it. I arrive to the party, I’m there to party, shoot the shit and meet good people.

    Fuck Sturgis, Daytona and all those damned vedor fuck-fests for IO wannabe’s.

  28. Desdicado Says:

    Ridden up there about 12 times over the years. Sometimes with a large group, sometimes alone. usually for fun, once and awhile on club business. After a couple of trips you see about everything up there there is to see. All those trips, never went or returned the same way twice. Havn’t been in a decade and don’t miss the “welcome Riders” culture that has taken over. But it was just about always a good excuse to jump on the scoot and blast off for a week or more on the open road. In the end, it’s always the ride that mattered.

  29. Abilene mouse Says:

    Oh yeah. Hello Sara.

  30. Abilene mouse Says:

    Of course you gentleman are right. In most ways it’s ridiculous. It’s worth the trouble to me but I damn sure get your point.

  31. T Says:

    I read this post with interest. Two years ago, two buddies and I decided it would be fun to ride to Sturgis. We planned it all out. At the last minute, they both decided to trailer their bikes.

    I set off alone, the longest ride I’d ever made in my life.

    As others have said here, it was the ride there that I will always remember. Went through rain, wind, thunderstorms.

    I learned about myself and my bike.

    Rode 750 miles in one day.

    When I got to Sturgis, I met up with my friends.

    The first they did was go to Main Street and bought patches that said “I rode mine to Sturgis.”They then proceeded to walk around town with newly purchased vests and patches acting like they were tough guys.

    I said nothing, made no purchase.

    What I experienced couldn’t be captured in a $5 patch

  32. Wrong Way Says:

    I rode a bike for years before finally being able to ride to Sturgis back in 2015. The main reason I waited so long was specifically because I wanted to actually ride there and back from home. Getting the time off to do that was difficult. Anyway, the year I got to go my buddies and I took three days to get there, three days to hang there and then three days to get home. That was the hardest push of a ride I had done up to that point.

    Honestly, the scenery getting there did not impress me. Since we took the same route home it was the same in reverse. However, the days we were there I had fun. Only because of the buddies I was with.

    I made a point to get to the main strip early and lasted about two hours. Once a couple hours there went by it was a ridiculous mass of humanity and I am never good with that.

    At some point the vendors and venues get old, even here local, to me. Street Vibrations, Hollister are my regulars and it has got to the point that the only reason I go is I have nothing better to do hahahaha. Not really because the rallies are so awesome.

    To me it’s about the people you know all having a get together and a good time. Once that goes away the whole point is gone and it’s time to look for something else to do.

    On the other hand, the rallies are good exercise. I do a lot of walking……guess that is always good for you…..

  33. Union proud Says:

    The ride to me is the best part doesn’t really matter the destination, they are all a good time.

  34. Shovelhead Says:

    If I want to see a bunch of asshole Yuppies walkin around new Harleys. I’ll just go to the local HD dealership.
    I don’t even go to Laconia anymore, and I live a only couple hours away.
    Support Club parties, that’s where the fun is.
    Life is still good, just have to know where to find it!

    Respect to 1%ers

  35. TXBiker53 Says:

    Thank you Dirty Dingus!

  36. Maven Says:

    “…the average Harley owner rides less than 3,000 miles a year.”

    Wow, just wow.

  37. Wretched Man Says:

    @ Abilene mouse

    I got friends from Arkansas that ride up every year. A few years back when I was in the USA on a visit, I was invited along. My obvious look of utter disdain was noted, and I was quick to explain that yuppie, wannabe “tough guys” (with the understanding that there are REAL BIKERS who do attend, but are so outnumbered by RUB’s) are not what I look for when enjoying my biking adventures on your lovely continent.
    I was politely educated, these guys go up for the same reason you mentioned, I believe they camp somewhere out of town, and never venture anywhere near “costume party”
    So in my plans for my next trip to USA, is the hope of riding to the Black Hills, experiencing it on the “fringe” and staying far away from “posers” like the Iron On Order etc…
    Indecently got some friends there right now, doin’ the whole tourist thing, but at least they RODE all the way…


  38. Muck 1%er Says:

    @ Sled Tramp,
    Doin good on this end. Hope all is Good with you and yours as well.
    Had to change up on the other site. Fuckers got too nosy and expected me to show em a fuckin ID. Lmfao
    Just look for Mongol Muck and you can find me.

    Be safe my friend, idiots are everywhere.

  39. sled tramp Says:

    @Muck 1%er- That’s because you’re the real thing.Mirroring every word.Rode through in 2002,trailer city.Was laughing so hard I almost had a fight goin’…….’76/’77 were good years there,hope you’re doin’ well my friend.

  40. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    My last trip to Sturgis was for the fiftieth. Partied so hard along the road that by the time I got to Shotgun Willies tittie bar the rally had been over for two days. Haven’t missed it at all since…

  41. Abilene mouse Says:

    Rode up from Texas to camp party and ride the hills with friends I only get to see once a year. It’s what you make of it.

  42. Bone Head Says:

    As far as I’m concerned Daytona, Sturgis…any of the big events are a wash. I’m with Steel…I remember the field parties of the ’60s and ’70s. Roast pig, kegs of beer, good dope, titties, music…I miss those.

  43. Gandalf Says:

    If I lived closer I might consider express mailing some IO patches and do that Jumpstart thing just so I can be like you guys (NOT) Feel the wind in my hair…. putting down Main St. at Sturgis. Sure would make a good pic if I wore my depends and a rainbow Nazi Helmet. :)

  44. The Monk Says:

    My last trip to Sturgis was 1992. Rode from Spokane to Sturgis in one day.Passed a lot of motor homes with trailers. Got up the next morning and parked on Main Street. Watched the ‘new bikers’ for an hour, said fuck it and left. Haven’t been back since.

  45. Muck 1%er Says:

    I’m over 60 and been ridin for over 45 years. Never had a desire to go to that money grabbin, yuppie circus, side show and I will NEVER have a desire to do so.
    Besides…I probably wouldn’t fit in, since I have no fancy toy hauler to tow my bike in and I doubt the local fuzz would tolerate me throwin my sleepin bag down by my bike, on the side of the road.

  46. direwolf Says:

    My first trip to Sturgis was back in 69 and last was in 82. Living in Minnesota it was close, then I moved to Florida & haven’t been back since. Guess it has really changed since back in the day, but I guess Daytona has too.

  47. Flanative Says:

    My first “Bike week” in Daytona was in 85. Even then i felt like I missed out on the best yrs. Haven’t been back since the early 2000s even tho I live an hr away. I bet Sturgis was amazing before anyone knew it existed.

  48. Dirty Dingus McGee Says:

    And people ask why I drink.

  49. Steel Says:

    Sturgis has jumped the shark. Give me a 1400 mile run (about my distance to Sturgis) with some real bikers with a real party at the end of the line.



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