Sturgis 2009: My Ugly Thoughts

Publish Date: 
Aug 21, 2009

THIS WAS MY 23rd year in a row to attend the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota. My first trip was in 1987 and I haven’t missed a year since. When I went in 1987 it was just on a whim. I didn’t know anybody else who was going, I had never been to that part of the country, I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t have a hotel room. I just knew I had to go.

It’s hard to explain the Sturgis experience to someone who has never been to the rally. I describe it like this: “If God created the world to revolve around motorcycles, the Sturgis Rally would be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

This year the attendance seemed pretty good to me. Some say it was down, but I say 400,000 people is plenty! You could move around fairly easily and actually get in and out of restaurants without too much delay. The worst year I attended was the 50th in 1990. The t-shirts said it was un-f**king believable, and it was! You couldn’t go anywhere without waiting forever because there were so many people. It took hours to get across town, and the town ain’t that big!

There were several trends I noticed this year that I haven’t seen in the past. I saw lots of three-wheelers on the roads this year. I guess us baby boomers are getting older. I also saw many young people on all kinds of bikes, and I think that’s awesome. It’s good to see the excitement of our industry span another generation. We need that. I noticed lots and lots of Victory and Big Dog Motorcycles and I’m very glad about that. In my opinion, those are two of the best bikes made, so I was glad to see so many of them roaring through those Black Hills!

This year was different for me because I didn’t work the rally for the first time in almost 10 years. I actually got to have fun at Sturgis, for a change! I spent my time mainly riding and hanging out with my Hamster pals, and I also played a lot of golf! The golf courses up there have some nice hills and varied terrain, unlike the courses here in Dallas (flat and flatter). It was fun for me to be able to ride the countryside, enjoy myself, and just be a spectator for a change. When I work the rally, I don’t have any time for fooling around. I think I like it better on the fooling around side!

It’s always good to see friends that I only see once a year in Sturgis. But, it’s also sad to have lost friends from the previous year. Some are not in the industry any longer and some have gone on to a higher calling. Ya know, life is short and I think we all need to slow down and enjoy the ride. But trust me, I’m the world’s worst at slowing down! This year I think I managed to slow down a little bit and enjoy my time in the Black Hills with plenty of my fellow industry members and friends.

Basically, if you’ve never been to the Sturgis Rally, you have no clue what you’re missing. If you dig motorcycles the way me and my 400,000 pals do, ya gotta do Sturgis.