Harley's Sturgis Blog Day 1 and 2
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sturgis Blog Day 1 and 2
This guy was full of Sturgis spirit!
Landed late in Rapid City Sunday night and learned my first Sturgis lesson. Had to pick up a 2010 Harley-Davidson CVO
the next morning in Rapid City but the hotel we booked was in Deadwood. So I opted to stay the night in Rapid City solo while the rest of the Motorcycle USA crew made the ride to Deadwood. Didn’t have a hotel booked, so we pulled into the Comfort Inn. One room available, only $240. I almost s$#t my pants. The lady was kind enough to call around for me. There was one room available at the Motel 6 so we booked it over there. Motel 6 price - $129. For a Motel 6. The room was a smoking room. The stench of cigarette smoke stained the walls, the blankets, the pillows of my stark white room. Welcome to Sturgis.
The next morning I met Harley’s Mike Morgan at Rapid City’s Civic Center. It was early morning but there were already crowds getting their first looks at the 2010 Harley-Davidsons
and taking the opportunity to be one of the first to test ride the new bikes. Mike had a 2010 CVO Softail Convertible
prepped and ready for me so I made the ride over to Deadwood to meet up with my co-workers. Got my first glimpse of the rugged and scenic South Dakota countryside. Reminds me a lot of my home state Oregon – mountains, forests, rivers, and great roads to explore.
Gathered up the crew and headed over to the Silverado for the 2009 Legends Ride. What a treat. Walked up and saw what looked like a young Peter Fonda talking to custom builder Sugar Bear. Turned out it was Phil Pitzer, the actor and writer of the new Easy Riders II The Ride Back
movie. Got to talk to him and Sheree Wilson about the new movie that is scheduled to come out in October. Looking forward to seeing it after talking to the cast and director.
Next, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler shows up to lead the entourage out of Deadwood. With a full police escort, a couple hundred bikers stormed out of Deadwood, taking a circuitous 50-mile route to the Buffalo Chip. Riding beneath the twisted metal gates to the Chip for the first time was a rush. A helicopter buzzed
Are these the gates to nirvana or perdition? Guess I'll venture in and find out for myself. But I'm keeping my clothes on.
overhead, filming as we rode in. Campers stopped and gawked at the lengthy motorcycle motorcade. We rode into the Chip in grand style.
Chowed down on some catered grub, hung out for the Legends Ride 2009
benefit auction where I met custom builder Kyle Shorey. He’s the guy who built the raffle bike, the ‘Deadwood Special.’ We talked a little shop, then went out and hit the Buffalo Chip campgrounds for the first time. What a spectacle! A burly babe in a yellow bikini and her equally buff girlfriend with big braids had a small ramp and plastic runway set up and were trying to talk passersby into some hot oil midget bowling. You can use your imagination as to what that entails. There was no shortage of assless chaps and pasties. Eric saw a naked guy riding a motorcycle on the way in. Something tells me I’m not in Kansas anymore, Auntie Em.
As night fell, the action picked up at the Buffalo Chip stage. Lita Ford started off strong, but then started to fade. I think she partied to hard before her gig. Toby Keith was next. In between sets, I checked out some young guys doing freestyle motocross jumps. Watching them catapult themselves 40 feet high in the night sky was freakin’ cool. While I was watching them, Eric somehow managed to weasel himself backstage using his media pass. There he met the Jager girls and helped himself to a few drinks from the open bar they had setup. He also got some cool pics of Lita Ford and some close-ups of Toby Keith. We hung for awhile before heading back to Deadwood around midnight. Was going to post a first day update but couldn’t get an internet connection, so tired and frustrated I went to bed instead.
Day 2 we grabbed a little continental breakfast and made a bee-line back to Sturgis and the Buffalo Chip. We were videoing the 7th Annual Metzeler Custom Bike Show. Got to check out some fantastic bikes. Met some good guys that are doing great work out there and got some leads for some future custom motorcycle features, like Pontiac, Michigan’s Ron Finch who does some sick metal work and D&B Cycle out of Detroit who brought a custom-made V4 bagger with a Custom Roots blower and a claimed 300hp. Famed custom builders Eddie Trotta, Chickie Ransom, Paul Cox, and American Iron’s Chris Maida were the judges for the only show sanctioned by the Custom Bike Association. Got to talk to my
Look - even Skeletor made it to Sturgis. But where's He-Man?
buddy Chris and did a quick interview with Paul Cox. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler showed up again to hand out awards to the winners. I’m beginning to think that guy’s stalking me.
After that, Ken Conte of Rise Above Consulting gave us an invite to famed photographer Michael Lichter’s reception for his annual Art as Motorcycles exhibit. This year’s theme is ‘Rebel Rousers – Motorcycle Icons that Inspired us to Ride.” Way cool stuff Everything from posters to the original Easy Rider movie to old motorcycle club vests in display cases bearing patches from the Los Diablos Riverside M/C and the Hydra Danville club out of Illinois. There were more old movie posters, Evil Knievel memorabilia, and a slew of iconic bikes, like Billy Lane’s hubless Moneyshot bike.
It was a celebrity-filled event. Dee Snider, former lead singer for Twisted Sister was there. So was old Headbangers Ball VJ Ricky Rachtman. Steven Tyler popped in too, to check out the bikes and artwork. I told you he’s following me. And there were more prominent custom builders than you could shake a stick at. We chatted awhile with Bert and Lisa Baker, then met up with our friend Jim Guiffra from AFT Customs
. He and his AFT Custom Girls just won the metric class at the recent LA Calender Show with their bike LowLa and were in town for the AMD World Championships. It was nice to catch up with what he’s got going on.
Eric weaseled his way backstage at the Toby Keith stage where he snapped this picture of the Jager girls.
During the event, the mother of all storms rolled in. The wailing winds blew rain down horizontally and lightning crackled in dark purple crowds. Luckily we were indoors, but the campers in tents were getting hammered. And I still had to make the ride from Sturgis back to Deadwood.
After a couple hours of downpour, the rain lightened up enough that I made a break for it. I got my first experience of slogging a motorcycle through the infamous Chip mud. Not the funnest thing to do on a high dollar cruiser, but the Softail Convertible was up to the task. Got lucky and tailed the storm back to Deadwood but never got rained on. Small blessing. Got back to the hotel and busted out a couple of articles and posted up some pics then hit the sack about three in the morning.
It’s Day 3 and we’re headed to the AMD World Championships. Can’t wait. Aerosmith rocks the Chip tonight, which I’m sure will be pure pandemonium. So keep tuning in. We’ve got four more days of Sturgis to go, so there’s plenty more action on the horizon. Climb on with Motorcycle USA.
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