The power and the fury of Main Street Sturgis. That is a lot of chromed steel.
The 2007 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally got off to a bang this year as law enforcement officials cleared one block of Main Street last Saturday night due to a suspicious item found in the area. Sturgis Police Chief Jim Bush said that it took about an hour and 45 minutes to clear the third block of Main Street west of Junction Ave. before the bomb squad could move in and remove the item.
"The state's Division of Criminal Investigation came in, and we whisked it off," Bush said. "It turned out to be innocent."
It was not disclosed what the item was, but the area was still cleared as a precautionary measure.
Other than that isolated incident, Bush said that crime in all categories is down so far this year. Most infractions are misdemeanor drug charges and parking violations.
"The past five or six years have been pretty consistent," Bush said. "I don't think this is going to be much different."
One recurring theme in the eight motorcycle-related accident reports reported from Monday, Aug. 8, was that in seven out of eight accidents, motorcyclists were not wearing helmets. In those seven reports, many riders suffered head and neck injuries. In the one report where the rider was wearing a helmet, the motorcyclist's injuries were not life-threatening. Notice a trend here? Sure, you're at Sturgis, it's a party, and everyone likes the freedom of choice and wants to look cool with their hair blowing in the wind, but when you've got ungodly amounts of traffic and you're riding on unfamiliar roads, play it smart and wear your lid. As of this report, there were no fatalities associated with the rally, but unfortunately this statistic is bound to change.
Sturgis motorcycle rally officials said Tuesday that attendance at this year's rally is down so far from previous years. Vendors' sales numbers over the weekend confirm this assumption, but the official start of the rally wasn't until Monday, so it's a bit early to gauge overall attendance.
"They're coming," interim rally director Pepper Massey said Sunday.
Bill Harlan, a member of the Sturgis Street Blog, had this e-mail sent to him by a local who does her own estimation of attendance numbers. "Susan" from Pactola wrote:
"Every year on the Sunday before the Rally officially starts, I count the bikes that drive past my house on Highway 385 between Pactola & Sheridan Lakes. I was really surprised to count 385 bikes yesterday (that's 1540 per hour!!), especially since my 2005 count was 394 and last year was 375. I don't know accurately these numbers reflect the total crowd, but the 2006 count was about 5% lower than 2005 - very close to the same decrease the DOT came up with. I hadn't noticed a lot of bikes before yesterday."
Harley-Davidson's Jessica Craker interviews Miss Sturgis 2007, Nichole Golinvaux, and later would challenge her to a dancing competition.
These attendance figures and police reports do little to diminish the level of fun at this year's event. Last night, partygoers at the Buffalo Chip Campground were treated to some high-flying fun as Robbie Knievel jumped two WW II tanks. Tonight, they get the opportunity to meet one of NASCAR's brightest stars, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., at the Wolfman Jack Memorial Stage from 9-10 p.m. Earnhardt, Jr. will be hanging out and answering questions from fans. Stick around the Chip a little longer and catch Scotty Weiland, Slash and the boys as Velvet Revolver is scheduled to rock the campground at 10:30 p.m. tonight following Dale Jr.'s appearance.
More fun was had yesterday by Harley-Davidson's Jessica Craker. The bubbly Harley correspondent is the host of Inside Sturgis and gives a first-hand account of the scene with daily blogs and videos. Yesterday she met up with Miss Sturgis 2007, Nichole Golinvaux, at the Glencoe Campground. During the interview, Craker discovered that Golinvaux likes to dance, so she challenged her to a dance-off. Fortunately for us, the H-D team had the cameras rolling. Check out Craker's moves
as she gives Golinvaux all she can handle.
Today's highlilghts include the highly acclaimed Fourth Annual American Motorcycle Dealer (AMD) World Championship of Custom Bikes. The contest, begun in Europe seven years ago, originally was for industry insiders said AMD publisher and co-owner, Robin Bradley. Four years ago, the world championship was launched in America and opened up to the public. It now stands as one of the truly international competitions, with more than one-quarter of the bikes entered from builders outside of the States.
So far, an American-born builder has yet to win the competition. Canada's Roger Goldammer won the first two years. Last year, Japanese builder Chicara Nagata won the contest. We'll find out if an American builder can bring the title home this year. Winners will be announced today at 4 p.m.
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