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Hail Storm Pummels Sturgis Friday Night

Saturday, August 8, 2009
We were lucky that the storm didnt knock out our window the same way it did in this car  especially since we were stuck inside our
A brutal hail storm swept through Sturgis Friday night leaving tons of damage in its wake.
A severe hail storm swept through Sturgis with unbridled fury Friday evening, shattering windows in cars, denting motorcycles, and creating havoc on campers. Hail the size of tangerines fell almost horizontally, fueled by driving winds as the storm left revelers at Sturgis in a state of shock and disbelief.

People scrambled to seek cover under anything they could. We had just pulled into the parking lot of the Full Throttle Saloon around 6 p.m. when the storm hit. The clouds hung low on the horizon, blotting out the sky just before the first few stones fell. 

Luckily, we weren’t riding motorcycles at the time.

“Look, it’s hailing,” said Eric Novisedlak, MCUSA’s videographer as the first pea-sized pebbles fell.

There was no time to make a dash for the Full Throttle Saloon so we waited out the hail storm, trapped in our rental SUV as the intensity increased. The noise of the impact against our vehicle quickly turned from a few taps to an angry mob hammering on our car from every direction. The wind blew hard as the hail come down in horizontal sheets. The
We ran across this huge chunk almost two hours after the storm.
We came across this chunk almost two hours after the storm.
storm swept in from the direction of town, so we moved our SUV close to a trailer to try and tuck in against the onslaught. Not soon after, the first crack in our front windshield happened. Not long after two more followed. Our fear was focused on the glass sunroof over our head, but the tempered glass held.

After the storm, people returned to assess the damage to their vehicles. A blue Saturn near us had a fist-sized hole in the right driver’s side fender. Countless windows were knocked out, while others were peppered with holes. Cars hoods were cratered, E-Z ups were blown over trailers, and motorcycles sustained major damage. Tents at the Buffalo Chip Campground were flattened, newer RVs fared the best, while older tin ones were heavily pock marked.

If the hail wasnt bad enough  the winds turned everything inside-out.
If the hail wasn't bad enough, the winds turned everything inside-out.
We walked by a local girl working at the Full Throttle Saloon who sat crying in her front seat when she discovered how badly her car was damaged. Another couple about a hundred feet away got caught out on their motorcycle and had to seek shelter under the metal awning of a fifth-wheel that wasn’t attached to a truck. The husband had taken a direct hit on his forearm and showed us a two-inch welt  and a wide purple bruise but said he didn't think it was broken. Another rider dumped his Harley trying to load his battered bike up a slippery wet trailer ramp, the bike almost pinning him to the ground. We rushed over to make sure he was
Poor  poor Vulcan!
Poor,poor Vulcan. 
alright, then helped him push his motorcycle into the trailer. Though we don’t have an injury report, we met several people who had been hurt by the giant hail stones.

Insurance companies will have their hands full with the amount of claims pouring in after this one. Many others, like the owner of the blue Saturn we mentioned whom we talked to immediately after the storm, didn’t have insurance. The damages to vehicles alone will likely run into the millions.
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grumpy -Here we come...  February 25, 2010 05:35 PM
The storm has passed, and all but forgotten. But we ride. And this year is no exception. We're gettin fired up for more events and rallys, and the long rides that go along with them. So brothers and sisters (no matter what you ride) get on that bike, and hopefully I'll see you out there. We do it because we love it, and wouldn't have it any other way.
Tonya Goodman -the worst storm ever!!  February 14, 2010 08:58 AM
I was there and we were staying in a tent at a camp ground, that was the worst storm that i have ever been through in my life!
Nancy Taddeo -Sturgis 09  January 15, 2010 11:51 AM
That hail storm totaled out our RV. We bought the RV specifically for Sturgis. That is exactally what we used it for. End of story lol.
thndrous1 -WOW!  August 27, 2009 05:01 AM
Protect the easily offended.....BAN EVERYTHING!
The Beave -Hail  August 19, 2009 09:17 PM
I think you are uninformed, the Victory is not a Jap bike.

Look it up.
Craig -Sturgis Hail Storm  August 18, 2009 04:51 PM
This storm totaled my bike, I think the worst part is dealing with the insurance company, I've talked to a half dozen people at Dairyland no one has a straight anwser, I have a feeling I'm getting screwed again.
capnahab -sturgis hail storm  August 17, 2009 06:21 PM
Great article wish I had'nt read the comments they suck moving on.
LOU PALMASANO -H D  August 16, 2009 05:05 PM
Scumbucket -HD vs JAPS  August 15, 2009 10:15 AM
Yeah. What he said!! Go find a bathroom wall somewhere and leave it there instead.
lonnie jensen -hail  August 15, 2009 07:08 AM
Ben -You are a funny gay I mean guy. milwaukee mike  August 12, 2009 01:16 PM
I heard your Harley dealers owner is a little low on CASH he needs to make his Ferrari F4 payment. The silver lining is he only needs to sale one bike so you need to run whoops ride down and buy that new harley. LOL..
milwaukee mike -To that Unbelievable Clown Ben  August 12, 2009 12:13 PM
Used to ride a Harley?
Now a honda rider?
What have you gained?
I believe that you've lost touch with reality.
Ben -UNBELIEVABLE  August 11, 2009 08:15 PM
You know this kind of BS is why I sold my fatbob and bought a Honda VTX1800 and its even made in USA >>((Just think how many jap bikes were damaged and will be totalled as a result.Now those owners have the opportunity to buy a real motorcycle(HD).)) Most but not all harley owners got their head so far up their arss. They pay out the arss to buy the bike and then keeeep paying it out for all that chrome. Dont get me wrong, I love harleys just tired of all the cost and this kind of crape. A good deal to a harely dealer is MSRP plus this and that plus shipping that is more then most "jap bikes" $400 plus verses $120. U KNOW Guys like U milwaukee mike are what HD live for they cant wait for U to walk thru the door. TO THE EDITIOR, GREAT articie

milwaukee mike -Sturgis hail  August 11, 2009 07:09 PM
Weather is unpredictable, but the damage is not all bad.
Just think how many jap bikes were damaged and will be totalled as a result.
Now those owners have the opportunity to buy a real motorcycle(HD).
Every cloud does have a silver lining.
DanDolfn -jodyrd: there's something wrong with the way you buy bikes!!  August 11, 2009 06:32 PM
i have had 91 motorcycles so far

* * * * * * * *

Obviously, you've picked some crappy bikes!

Seemorebutts -jodyrd  August 11, 2009 08:28 AM
This guy is telling like it is. Harley is nothing but a $25,000+ piece of junk. The owners dont want to think they wasted money so they say its the American way. F... That!
Patrick Houser -Hail Storm  August 11, 2009 08:25 AM
"Would you rather the bikes not come and the community as a whole loose out on the revenue generated by that kind of event?" - Lee You've apparently never seen Sturgis any other time of the year. It's rather pathetic. More and more houses and buildings are continually plowed over each year to make more flat blacktop space for vendor tents. I've lived here for about 16 years and it's amazing just how much the town has changed. It's grown outward, but the population hasn't really increased because the homes toward the center of town keep getting plowed over. The city of Sturgis may make a lot of money off the vendors and such, but it sure doesn't show. Most of the lots and buildings that house the vendors are owned by out-of-state people, so most of that money never makes it into the hands of the local populace. On the hailstorm though, it definitely sucks, and there was an AMAZING amount of damage. Hundreds and hundreds of vehicles and campers left Sturgis right after that. Saturday was rather pathetic because so many people had left. The insurance companies are definitely going to have a hell of a time.
sosad -article  August 11, 2009 06:57 AM
good article...informative...to the point. only going to make one comment...jodyrd, this is for you. Maybe you would not have gone through 91 bikes had you bought one good Harley. Never have I read such an egotistical, self centered, inconsiderate, OFF THE SUBJECT, comment. Congratulations. You are good at something.
GFY -Hail  August 11, 2009 02:53 AM
Its unfortunate that this had to happen during the rally. There were 3 of our bikes that got damage. The largest one I picked up was about the size of a baseball
GFY -Hail  August 11, 2009 02:52 AM
Its unfortunate that this had to happen during the rally. There were 3 of our bikes that got damage. The largest one I picked up was about the size of a baseball
Rob -comments section  August 10, 2009 06:37 PM
I thought the comments section were about commenting on the article. The majority of these comments HAVE NOTHING to do with the article at all. It appears that it is an open bashing and defending section. I for one feel for those that got hit and/or hurt because of the hail. It is unbelievable the damage that hail can do to a motorcycle, a car and a person. When I read the article all I can think about is what are the people getting hit and running for cover while their bikes get trashed. It is just odd that people can't get past their petty attitudes and have a decent conversation.
Armchair Rider -Girlfriends...  August 10, 2009 04:24 PM
Hey Dennis T - yer right! My bad. I really needta get off these night-shifts...
Earl -same ol'  August 10, 2009 04:10 PM
It's not WHAT you ride,
It's THAT you ride.
wdj -deaths  August 10, 2009 03:49 PM
we were inside Gunners when the storm hit. Later out to the FTS. A bartender said their were three people killed by the hail. any confirmation on hail deaths?.
bryan harley -poor,poor Vulcan, Harley, Raider, Victory...  August 10, 2009 03:15 PM
I meant no slight toward Kawasakis. We ran that picture because it was one that clearly showed the damage to motorcycles (in general) that happened to the storm. Racer1 nailed it on the head.

The tank is silver and the damage was easy to see. Their were motorcycles of all kinds that received damage, just as there were unfortunate people of all ilks that were affected.

I love to ride all styles and makes of bikes. My first bike happened to be a 1986 Red, White and Blue 6oo Ninja. Made by who else, Kawasaki.

Like I said, Poor,poor Vulcan. I hate to see that it got so banged up in a storm that potentially could have killed someone. I sympathize with the owner because I experienced its wrath first hand.
tim -wtf?  August 10, 2009 01:33 PM
WTF is wrong with you people?
SkidRow -Surreal  August 10, 2009 12:35 PM
Jodyrd; you're a bufoon! I'm sure Harley would prefer you to not be a customer either with your attitude. And no, I don't own a harley, i own a Kawi. An ole saying is "be a friend to have a friend" or something like that. Jerks ride both HD's and metrics; just like life, there are jerks everywhere. The vast majority of HD riders i've met are very friendly if you care to be friendly to them as well. And i thought this article was fine. No matter what is written and on what subject, there are always people who live in la la land waiting to down it.
Jimbo -Helmetless Hail  August 10, 2009 12:28 PM
Hey Steve. Hopefully the hail hitting your helmetless head knocked some sense into it.
steve -hail riding  August 10, 2009 12:00 PM
I got caught in a hail storm on the highway back in '90. Riding without a helmet and miles from an overpass to hide under, I got beat to carp! My KZ1300 survived without a dent; I wish I could say the same for my face and head!
Lee -Good article, horrible comments  August 10, 2009 08:54 AM
WTF kind of people really try to sell their own agenda in a comment? If you don't like the loud bikes in a place that's KNOWN for getting loud bikes then move the heck away. Would you rather the bikes not come and the community as a whole loose out on the revenue generated by that kind of event? I love riding period. I love American bikes, I love Japanese Bikes, Chinese bikes, Hungarian Bikes... if it has 2 wheels and a motor and I can go cruise I'll ride it. It's just like music... there are many different types to suit all people to encourage them to have a good time. If anyone has a problem with a certain type of bike then let them be ignorant and not bring yourself down to that level, cause you are no better then them because of it. Then again I've never heard of Brave Men and their Honda's! LOL!!! Just kidding. As a retort to jodyrd, I know why the japanese bikes are call rice burners. Not all Americans are idiots, and not all bikers are a$$holes. Not even a majority are. Just because YOU had a bad experience and hold a grudge doesn't mean that the community as a whole is bad. You, Sir, are acting like an Elitist. You are no different then the hooligans that were picking on you for being a "japper" back when riding a Honda wasn't cool. Personally I own a 1981 Honda 750F SS, so I know all about getting picked on by the Harley Scene, however they still respect you if you respect them because you're on 2 wheels and are still Living to Ride, and Riding to Live.
Racer1 -OK - some issues going on here...  August 10, 2009 08:21 AM
First - if you like Harleys and also sportsbikes but won't buy one because you don't like some of the people who ride them, the only person to suffer is you - that's truly cutting off your nose to spite your face. Ride whatever you enjoy - you only live once. It's sad to be so angered that you deny yourself something for the sake of making some point that no-one else even knows about! As to the types of riders you describe - yep, we've all seen all of them. They are out there and none of them really bug me particularly. Why would you care if someone rides their Harley ten miles to meet with others of their "ilk" - it's a free country and they are having a good time - why all the superiority, judging and hating? I see the "AARP" crowd cruising with trailers and, likewise, they seem to be happy and enjoying themselves. They generally go pretty slowly and I'm not seeing accident stats to back up your fears. Unless someone's riding is endangering others why not live and let live and concentrate on your own gig? Loud pipes do bug me as they are clearly anti-social and intrude on other people's lives, but they are a small irritant compared to texting car drivers who might actually kill me! I race, instruct track days, tour and commute on a bunch of very different bikes - I just hope other people are having as good a time as I am on their bikes, whatever type they choose to ride.
EAB -Commentary  August 10, 2009 07:29 AM
First, I love Harleys. Honestly, I do. I would like to have either a Sporty 1200 or a touring rig. I am partial to the RD standard, Electra Glide Standard, or even a Road Glide. I won't buy one though. Most of the folks that own one are, to a man or woman, aresholes. Even folks I get along with that are perfectly logical, hard working, honest Honda/Toyota driving individuals turn into blowhard buffoons when they put on their biker dress up clothes and go "ridin"...ridin being the 10 mile trek to the local watering hole where they can meet up with others of their ilk. I'd own a sportbike too...but the sportbike crow has their own set of arseholes. Wheelies at 110 in traffic, or flip flops and shades while their "girlfriends" 6 years old daughter sits on the rear seat with an oversized adult helmet on. Then you have the elder statesmen of arse-clowns, the AARP touring riders. Take a touring rig desiged to hall 400-500Lbs, and lets load up two 300Lb'ers along with 150Lbs of BS in accessories, clothes and what not, and tow a trailer the size of a Coleman popup. I wonder what happens when one tries an evasive maneuver with something like this, especially when they have the trike kit or training wheels which amounts to an oversized version of the ATV three wheelers that were OUTLAWED because they were unsafe. Of course, all of these bikes have illegal mods made to enhance other properties of the bike, primary sound. I don't mind a good sounding engine, but straights are flat annoying and yes, the noise laws should be enforced. The reality is that you take all of the folks above and I think one could safely say that 95% of the riders in America have their head up their arse. It's a sad commentary, but one I will stand by.
Don and Jodyrd -I salute you!  August 10, 2009 12:21 AM
Totally agree, especially Don's statement. If I had my way, I would surround sturgis, and noise test every bike that came out (I include metric cruisers as well!!!). $1000 fine for every one of them with noisy bikes AND I'd hold their head down next to the open pipe as I wound the throttle wide open. They could then tell me that there was not a problem, perhaps with a blown ear drum, they might try to listen to other people? We are not talking about anti bike laws here (many makes of bikes are noisy but Harleys are the worst offender by far), just common respect for other people. I SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT NOT TO HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOUR NOISY BIKE!
Bill -wtf people  August 9, 2009 10:00 PM
Arguing about nothing for nothing. Ride to live, live to ride. Brand name/anti-brand name crap means nothing. A bike is a bike is a bike. If you have this much time to bitch, you need to be riding more.
irk.some -Sturgis hail  August 9, 2009 07:46 PM
So God hates the Yankees AND Harleys.
Don -Agree w/ jodyrd  August 9, 2009 07:27 PM
I wish cops would write noise tickets to the mental midgets that have to replace their stock pipes with the ridiculously loud pipes. For some unknown reason, it seems that Harleys are exempt from noise laws. Message to you morons, loud pipes don't save lives - they just annoy people and lower the quality of life for people.
Dennis T -Armchair Rider - DOH!  August 9, 2009 04:01 PM
Did it not occur to you that Creerider Joy was a GIRL called JOY referring to a friend of hers that happens to be female? I worry about some people.
John R -Jodyrd comments  August 9, 2009 03:51 PM
Jodyrd your comments are a real testament to the person you are and all those you personify. pretenciousness seems to be your strong suit so I assume you have all the facts before you speak and you are able to generalize an entire segment of the riding population as both ignorant and bullying because of your expertise in human personality traits. As one who has ridden Harley,Honda,Ducati,Kawasaki and Yamaha I didn't notice becomming smarter or more ignorant,meaker or more aggressive when riding one brand or the other. Does that mean I'm mixed up ?
Jeff -jodyrd ranting  August 9, 2009 03:50 PM
After reading your hate filled rant about how much better your motorcycles are and what scumbags we "Bikers" are I'll let you in on alittle secret. The loud harleys aren't waking up your grandkids its their psycho granddad. Their just plain scared of you. You should really seek out some professional help. I've been riding motorcycles for years and have many brands. They all have their place and I've enjoyed them all.

jodyrd -why i dont like harleys  August 9, 2009 11:00 AM
i grew up being insulted by hog riders because i rode japanese machines in the 70s. i remember going into any hog shop and being able to buy "friends dont let friends ride rice burners" or " 2 atomic bombs were not enough" stickers for thier puddingbowl helmets. after my 1st 50 machines-i tried some of the modern hogs,i really tried to like them.. but i dont get it. under powered,not that i want to go fast anymore, they dont go and they dont stop.. not to mention the prices they are being raped by the dealers for those loads.. i like 55 chevys as much as the next guy,but that is what a hog is,a 55 chevy on 2 wheels. nice to look at-parked,not to drive.. ill stick with my bmw k1200lt-my guzzi v11 sport-and my honda pacific coast-- i have yet to ever meet a hog owner that knows what a "rice burner" really is... it comes from WW2- the japs had jet aircraft ready to fly-but they were so low on fuel-they made jet fuel out of bamboo shoots-it took 100,000 shoots to make just 1 gallon of jet fuel.. they actually towed the jets onto the runway with cows to get ready for takeoff to save fuel...by the way-brando and james dean -(the moviestars you try to immitate with your dress code- they rode triumphs-steve mcqueens favorite machine to ride when he wanted to just go for a ride was an indian that sold for $4500 after his death.. and mr harley stole the idea of putting the 2nd cylinder on a motor was stolen from indian,who stole it from glenn curtis the avaition genious..
i have had 91 motorcycles so far,and i will never own a harley,not even if they put harley stickers on MV agusta's like they did when they bought armachi.. i remember when harley went to ronald regan and got a tarrif put on all over 700cc jap machines and drove the cost of all motorcycles that size and larger up 45%.. they did it to "save the few hundred jobs at harley" but what really happened was-more japanese motorcycle shops went out of business from that tarrif with americans working in them,than harley had employees total.i was one of them that lost my job in a yamaha shop too..i dont want harley to go out of business-because if they do-anti motorcycle regulations and requirements and laws will be passed,that is the only reason i want harley to stay in business. oh ,the other reason is,you can instantly tell if the guy is an asshole if he is on a harley without even talking to him. you can hear him ,usually from 1/2 mile away ,when you are trying to sleep,or have a quiet day fishing,or just after you finally get the grandkids to sleep.. i cant wait till more people get fed up (its happening,look at new york city) with those loud pipes. i am actually embarrassed when someone refers to me as a biker,because i ride motorcycles..i always correct them and say" not a biker,i am a motorcycleist. i wear a full face helmet,leather,gloves,boots,and you cant hear my machines comming,and i ride rain or shine,and i own a trailer,but only use it for hauling my dirtbikes...
no-- i will never ride or own a harley. i lived thru the name calling promoted by hog shops and harleys anti japanese ads they ran in the 70s cycle magazines...i will never forget
The traveling Weirdos -hail storm  August 9, 2009 08:22 AM
We left sturgis Friday morning because 2 of the people in my group had to be back to Wis. on Sat. So glad we missed the storm and my heart goes out to all that had to endure it. Thanks for the update.
Jake -I'm with Tim B Nick  August 9, 2009 07:54 AM
The first thing I noticed was the dent on the Vulcan and I thought the same thing. I guess the antiquated Harleys will not dent, they're made of Kryptonite. I understand the Macho feeling on riding a very loud, annoying bike that shakes and puts out about 20 to 50% less HP than it's inferior compitition, not to mention the suspension. The ape hangers are particularly attractive and practical. We do look bad ass though. well thought out article Brian. jake
Racer1 -Wow - such a bummer  August 9, 2009 07:43 AM
Hopefully nobody got hurt and all the damage is merely property and mostly covered by insurance claims. As to the people giving Bryan a hard time - GEEZ! He wrote an informative article with pictures and a good first hand point of view... It never occurred to me that the Vulcan pic and comment had any mocking tones at all... if it had been a Harley that was damaged and the tag line was "Poor, poor Harley" I wouldn't have seen that as mocking Harleys either. As to God being POed, or comments about Bryan and colleagues being in a car, etc. WTF? It seems a lot of people have some serious issues and will look for any excuse to verbalize them... Keep it up Bryan - Seriously, you're doing a great job.
Ned -Thanks for the info!  August 8, 2009 07:06 PM
I left Sturgis Friday morning after camping all week with my "family" in the national forest. I just got home today after running from and finally hiding from the storms across Wyo on friday night. Hail on a MC is no fun!

I know some folks have damage and some don't, but your article puts the storm in perspective. (Pictures)

Charles -Hail No  August 8, 2009 05:54 PM
Does not matter what type of motorcycle you hide when it come to hail storms. I have owned three Harleys. Now I have a BMW R1200RT. A different ride but still has two wheels. Thanks for the weather up date.
Tim B -Nick  August 8, 2009 05:43 PM
Nick, you blame this on God? Haha! There is no God so how can he be at fault? You are a descendant of a primate - get over it!

My beef is with the author of this article, Bryan Harley. You show a picture of dented gas tank of a Japanese bike and your comment insinuates that you're mocking metric cruisers. That's typical ignornant Harley-rider stuff. You guys think Harleys are the only "real" bikes. Well I have news for you, you're not a true motorcyclist if that's the case. I'm sure that if you or any of the other M-USA people reply to me you're going to say it was a joke. Don't give me that BS. Deep down you meant it or you wouldn't have said it.

Oh and guess what...I OWN a Harley - a Buell. Then again the same type of Harley riders don't consider Buells "real" Harleys.

You clowns are laughable.

Dee -to Nick  August 8, 2009 04:02 PM
Get a grip MORON, God loves bikers too.. You are such a loser for even thinking God is sick of Sturgis...

To the editor,

Keep up the great work
Bobcat -Awe, c'mon....  August 8, 2009 03:41 PM
Why is it that some little person always has to pick on a biker for using a cage? You can't always do everything from the back of a bike, moron. You'd know that if you actually rode...
Nick -God is obviously sick of Sturgis  August 8, 2009 03:40 PM
Repent, you backsliding sinners.
CreebikerJoy in Canada -Thanks for the update  August 8, 2009 02:00 PM
We've got friends down there - one is my girlfriend who went for the very first time riding her Sportster alongside her husband. I've been wondering how it's been going. We were down there in Deadwood the year they had that horrendous mudslide that toppled a few bikes over. Couldn't ride out of there that day back to SPearfish fast enough! Thanks for the update and disregard other's negative comments. We love ya from Canada!
Eric N. -Look closer Albert  August 8, 2009 01:44 PM
Yeah, we're pretty close to everything at this event. Bringing you the news so you can be informed (and feel closer yourself) via your PC and Lazyboy chair. BTW, the editor has been riding all week long here at the rally... Try again, Couch Potato Albert.
Sundowner Albert -Sturgis Hail Storm  August 8, 2009 12:36 PM
You are the editor of a motorcycle magazine and you aren,t even riding a motorcycle, I guess you wanted to get a closer look at the rally from your SUV.