Published In The November 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source
Photos By: Darren McKeag, Bart Mitchel, Kerri Schindler
It seems as though there are more and more motorbike events popping up around the U.S., and some of them taking up entire weeks on everyone’s busy schedule. There are plenty of events to choose from that promote the love and the life of motor biking. With so many it can be difficult to pick which ones you want to go to, which ones you can afford to go to and which ones are absolutely a must to go to. For me, Sturgis falls into the “must go to” category. The Super Bowl of motorbike events, Sturgis is the one trip where everyone comes together for that once a year gathering. This year’s Sturgis would prove to be one of my best, in so many ways. I only wish my brother Roadside, Paul and Big Don could have been there.
My original plan was to head out with Will on Friday afternoon. However, like every year in the past, as the date got closer, I became more excited and had to leave as early as possible and stay as long as possible. Will sent me a text saying he would be done at noon on Thursday. I responded with, “I’ll be done at 3. Let’s roll.” Blasting across I-80 westbound, we made the wonderful decision to head north on I-35, in an attempt to avoid rain. Well, the lack of meteorology classes took its toll on us and yes, we got soaked. Brad was heading up our alternate route, I-29 from Council Bluffs to Sioux Falls and he too got wet. It appeared that no matter what, we were destined to get wet on this trip. Arriving in SFSD around the 11pm hour, Kelderman finally caught up with us. It appeared that we had outrun his supercharged bagger, or maybe we just got a head start. Once checked in to the hotel, we literally sat in the parking lot and put a huge dent in a case of beer and a jar of moonshine, compliments of Brad. Sturgis once again was upon us and we would be there the next day. So excited, I had to drink more beer and moonshine in order to calm down.
The next day would be a rough one on us. We literally traveled from SFSD to Merdo in the pouring rain and with the minimal amount of rain gear we carry, I can assure you, we were wet to the bone. Now, before you feel sorry for us, let me tell you that Kelderman was very prepared. Blasting across I-90, Kelderman was beside me on his bagger, rain gear and helmet keeping him dry and warm. We had to be doing about 85 or 90 m.p.h. as he looked over at me, giving me the thumbs up, “are you ok” gesture. So excited for what the week had in store for us, rain blasting me in the face and soaked to the bone, I gave him the thumbs up, “yes I’m ok” gesture; life was good. Once we hit Merdo, the weather was sunny and 80+ degrees. I have to give Brad some props here, as he rode his rigid Sporty alongside me, easily doing 100 m.p.h., not even missing a beat. We had made such good time on Friday that we arrived in Sturgis early in the afternoon, completely dry and just in time to get settled in to our camp spots at The Broken Spoke north of town. This would be our spot for the week and Cycle Source’s home base for the Sturgis rally.
Now most of you probably think Sturgis is a time to ride, relax, enjoy some drinks with friends, while staying up late and sleeping in. I can assure you that being a part of the Cycle Source family, relaxing and sleeping in are not options for Sturgis. However, I do participate in all the rest. Everyday has an event that one or all of us needs to be at and I can promise you, it makes for a very busy week. This year would be no exception, especially with the art show open house event that we threw into the schedule. Everyday offered a wonderful event for us, ranging from the Lichter ride, to the Cycle Source Nighttime Chopper Show. The VIP party/art show was one of my favorites of the week, with an amazing amount of talent in one room — so much energy. I might add that the concert venues this year were great as well, and I managed to make all the ones I wanted to see.
As Monday evening approached, I had already gone against my maximum number of burnouts for the week, doing six of them before Sunday. My tire was not going to make it through the week. By Monday, everyone had made their way to Sturgis and got settled in. Milwaukee Mike rolled in with Kayla, Sandee and my good brother Danny. Long Jon, Pinky and Bob had also made it. Then the rest of the Cycle Source crew from PA showed up as well as Jason from Northeast Chop Shop, Brent and Amy from Cycle Boyz and Noah from Hawaii, just to name a few.
Kicking off the week with the Lichter ride, the Lichter exhibit and The Horse Chopper Show is one hell of a way to start a week. These are three big events that are a must for me during Sturgis. The Lichter exhibit this year, like all the years, is absolutely amazing. Prior to the Lichter show, I had truly thought I had every possible bike I could want. Well, as luck would have it, I found another style I liked — damn my luck!
If you’ve been attending Sturgis for the last few years and you enjoy burnouts, then the Baker Burnout Contest should be of no surprise to you. This event promotes pure chaos, ranging from circle burnouts to lighting bikes on fire. If you were there, I don’t need to speak of the wonderful preevent display that my brother Patrick and I did, as it’s already been blasted all over the Internet. Things went so horribly well, that Rusty Wallace came up to me when I was done and said, “That’s the craziest shit I’ve ever seen!” It literally took Chris, Bill Dodge, Russ and a few others to hold my bike still. So, just be sure to be there next year as this is a great event that promotes pure debauchery of motorbikes and shifting to your highest gear the fastest. This year Chris Callen walked away from everyone with the honors and still rode his bike home, some 1300 miles. Congrats brother!
Towards the latter part of the week, the schedule would host some of the best events. The Cycle Source ride to the ranch was Wednesday; it was an epic day of shovel races and drag racing. The CS daytime bike show and evening bike show had not only great attendance, but
some of the best looking motorbikes I’ve ever seen; what an amazing turnout. The Chop’in Block bike show was a huge success with some amazing prizes and motorbike goodies given out as well as money raised for good causes. Special thanks to everyone that helped out on this event.
By the time Friday was upon us, you could see how the week was starting to take its toll on everyone. Arriving in Sturgis for the week is a grand event: hugging, talking, hanging out and catching up. However, by week’s end, no one really says goodbye, you just wake up and people have literally left. It’s so hard to say goodbye. Every new morning, I repeatedly told Danny that I wasn’t drinking anymore, and by evening time he and I were gassed, along with whoever else was left hanging around. We needed to decide when we were leaving, as each night we were drunk, we decided to stay an extra day.
In an attempt to make the party last as long as possible, Danny, Kayla and I decided we should stay until Monday morning. So, we made the logical decision to drink more Friday night — a lot more. The only problem with this was that we forgot to tell Milwaukee Mike our plan. The three of us woke up early Saturday morning, in a very unfamiliar place, to the ringing of my phone. It was Mike asking if we were packed and ready to go. Danny, Kayla and I looked at each other in confusion; we decided we needed to hit the road. Within 30 minutes time, we were packed and headed out. The ride home would prove to be just as eventful as the week itself. From riding through rain, Danny running out of gas and chipping his tooth from a rock, someone having a shit attack in a cornfield, to me having to piss myself in the pouring rain because my kickstand was broken.
Literally, down to the last hour, this year’s Sturgis trip was one for the record books. If you have the time, please mark your calendar for Sturgis next year; I can assure you it will be epic.
Ride safe brothers and sisters and see you at the next event…love and respect!