Gunny’s Wingman: Riding Victorys w/ R. Lee
Friday, August 10, 2012
Riding Victorys with The Gunny in Sturgis. Doesn't get much better than that.
It was an honor to meet and ride with R. Lee Ermey, aka The Gunny, who now serves as Victory's spokesman. The man rides a mean bike!
Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey comes off as one mean hombre. He’s got eyes that can look right through you. He played the tough as nails Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket and honored his country by serving duty in the United States Marine Corps. Now he’s doing duty as spokesperson for Victory Motorcycles
and has been busy spreading the word about the company at the 2012 Sturgis Rally
So when Victory Motorcycles asked if I could be Gunny’s wingman for a ride out to Deadwood where the Victory Riders Association was congregating for their annual Sturgis party, it was a no-brainer. Ride with the Gunny. Hell yeah! But would he lambast me for being a Harley riding a Victory? I could just hear it. “Do you have some type of identity crisis, maggot? Get down and give me 25!”
Prepared to do some push ups, I met R. Lee at the Victory booth on Lazelle and 3rd after his meet and greet with fans. Turns out, he’s actually a really nice guy. Don’t get me wrong. He looks like he could switch to DI mode at the turn of a switch, but he’s got an easy-going demeanor that made me understand how people gravitate so to him.
And boy can he ride. We set out down Lazelle, The Gunny on a blazing orange Victory Cross Country with special USMC-badging, me on a 2013 Cross Country Tour. It didn’t take long to notice the double-takes as we rolled down the packed epicenter of the rally. Heads would turn, fingers would point and you could read people’s lips “Isn’t that?” Yes, it is.
Waiting for a break in traffic to pull out from a side street, Gunny didn’t hesitate to use the snap of Victory’s Freedom 106 to dart through a small opening in traffic, giving me and Victory’s David Shelleny the slip. Then the flood gates opened and we couldn’t get out of traffic, Gunny quickly disappearing down the street. We finally caught up with him on Highway 14 just past the I-90 interchange. Guess I’m not a good wingman after all. Luckily, he still let me ride along.
It was a fun ride. The stretch between Deadwood and Sturgis has a few good twisties in it and The Gunny was cutting smooth lines on the easy handling Victory bagger. I settled in behind him, determined to redeem myself as wingman and not let him out of sight again. After the curvy stuff, the road widens and the speed limit increases so we got an opportunity to open up our Victorys, leaving riders in our wake.
We got to Deadwood way too fast for me. I have to admit, riding with The Gunny has been the highlight of my 2012 Sturgis experience. It was an honor to ride with you, sir. Thanks for letting me be your wingman.
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