It started with 74 bricks over a hundred years ago from a building in Milwaukee reverently called Juneau. It continued with a brave group of Harley riders who wiped snow off their motorcycles back in March to deliver those bricks made in 1912 to Sturgis. It culminated with Milwaukee artist Kendall Polster, aka The Weld Guy, showering Main Street Sturgis with sparks today for the official unveiling of the new Harley-Davidson Rally Point.
“We are thrilled to be here. This is a historic moment, to be able to unveil this phenomenal part of Main Street with all of you is a pretty special time, so thanks for being here,” said Bill Davidson, great-grandson of Harley-Davidson founder William A. Davidson and vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Fans of The Motor Company lined the streets as Bill, his sister Karen, and a caravan of Harley riders came rumbling down Main Street with a police escort to kick-off the celebration. Willie G. and wife Nancy also joined the party, making it a true Davidson family affair. A rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner fueled the crowd before the countdown to the chain-cutting began.
“Sturgis is proven to be a mecca for riders from all over the world to gather here and what’s really cool is during its initial 75 years Harley-Davidson riders have truly defined what this event is,” continued Davidson.
Bill Davidson works the crowd at the chain-cutting ceremony for Harley-Davidson’s Rally Point on Main Street Sturgis.
In addition to the 74 bricks from Juneau, there’s also a brick from the Harley-Davidson Museum. Even more special, there’s a tile from the original Davidson homestead in Scotland incorporated into its design.
And it is a grand design, an industrial façade constructed of steel and stone. There’s a large stage in the center flanked by an impressive fireplace. A king-sized silver and black Bar & Shield logo leaves no doubt whose fingerprint is stamped on the plaza. Lead planner Jessica Hawn of FourFront Design, Inc. out of Rapid City and principle landscape architect Eirik Heikes should be commended for the awe-inspiring outcome of the final project.
When The Weld Guy made the final cut and the chain split in two, a roar of applause rose from the Harley faithful. Half of the plates that formed the ceremonial chain will go to the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee while the other half will go to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. After the chain fell, Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen declared the 75th annual Sturgis Rally officially open.
The stage was quickly broken in by a band singing a song about Sturgis. Not far away, a line of motorcycles was already forming down the alleyway as riders aimed to be among the first to ride their bikes on the raised plateau of the pavilion and have their picture taken with the big white letters of the hillside Sturgis sign clearly framed in the background.