Friday, August 15, 2008

Sturgis, South Dakota

On the first full week of August, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held to the delight of
nearly one million bikers. The first rally was in 1938 and founded by Clarence "Pappy" Hoel of the Jackpine Gypsies, and the new owner of an Indian Motorcycle franchise in the town of Stugis, SD.

The original rally consisted of races and stunts. Events such as Hillclimb and Motorcross, "intentional board wall crashes, ramp jumps and head-on collions with automobiles" were added later.

TMT happened to hit South Dakota precisely when the gruff and leathery hoards came from their corners to group in the town of Sturgis. For the last few years, the attendees have rivaled the entire state's population. So for the 2008 rally, we found ourselves us on the road, surrounded. Where just a state before, we were eerily alone on the unlit Minnesota highway, we were now in full sun in motorcycle traffic. If we spotted another car, we found it was there only to pull more bikes.

Along the way, every stop, bar, and gas station waved "Bikers Welcome" flags, packing their lots with chrome and flame decals. The riders were mostly men, some ancient with crazy as hell beards, scraggly and white or long to the chest and curling like a brown ribbon. Some were young teenagers, but still looked like they'd ridden for ages. And then there were the women.

Most rode bitch there behind their men. Scantily dressed in tight leather pants and high heels, these ladies almost always had the
backs of their shirts cut or stretched open to give their hide full sun as they road. They had the worst sunburns I have ever seen, which made them seem harder, as in I have a 2nd degree sunburn, and the 90 mph wind is wildly slapping it raw, but Fuck you looking at.

There were others, lesbians pulling their girlfriends in sidecars, and big girls on small bikes, looking like grizzly bears on mopeds. But every so often there was the occasional bad ass hot chick riding a bike all her own and looking at home there. I watched her as we passed knowing she was who
I would want to be were I a biker.

Whoever they were, whatever type, they were part of a larger group and probably fit some role. To me, the coolest thing about bikers is their gang. How many adults do you know are so closely knit, moving like kids playing a game, having fun on their fast bike ride? When one stops, they stop. There are larger groups and smaller groups within, it seems to me, but when they get to Sturgis...

...Well I don't know what exactly happens when they get there.
We had to just drive through.

Had more states to go, see. We were just about to pass the Battle of Little Big Horn, then climb into the hills of the Custer National Wilderness. The sky was getting black and we saw lightening. So who's tough now, motherfuckers.

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