Article By: Jack Shit
Photos By: Mad Stork, Heather Callen, Amelia Rose
Originally Published In The November 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Hello, my name is Jack Shit and I’m an addict! What it is that I find myself addicted to these days is the same thing it seems that I’ve experienced my whole life, making people smile! I don’t know what that drive is but it supersedes most things in my life. They say if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life and in the months preceding the Sturgis Rally it all began to feel like work. I wanted to find my soul again and remember why I use to love what I do so much that I decided for the first time ever, I would not work the Sturgis Rally.
At first it was easy but as the event grew closer it became nerve wracking to me to turn down the work but I stuck to my guns. About a year and a half back I took a wicked fall at the Shed Party in Milwaukee and busted up my knee real bad and I followed that up by hyper extending my other knee, my good one, while kicking the Knuckle. With each day that passed, both got worse and worse and I’m looking at the possibility of a double knee replacement. What does this have to do with the cost of tea in China you ask, well I’ll tell ya! I had every intention of riding the Pickle Sickle to Sturgis but everyone’s buddy, Bart Mitchell hammered away at me about the stupidity of this decision. “YOU WILL BE CRIPPLED BY THE TIME YOU GET THERE, THEN WHAT?!” he asked. He finally won out and we loaded up our bikes on a trailer and began our journey to Mecca!
This maniac drove the entire way until we made it to the far side of the mountain, turned to look at me all crossed eyed and said “I can’t go on”! I took over, made it through the maze of fox, deer, elk, rabbits and other assorted varieties of God’s creatures to arrive in Deadwood at 4:30 am, where Steve from Steve’s Garage had called ahead and had two fold outs brought up to his room for us to sleep.
What a class move and a class act he is. This gesture more than likely kept us from killing ourselves or someone else by trying to push through to Sturgis and I say thank you from the bottom of my heart! The next day we boogied on into town, found our places of residence for the next week or so and got settled in. I found myself constantly checking the time, worrying about what time I had to be at the venue, what time I was going on stage and I admit, I was really freaked out! With each passing hour more and more people arrived at the house, each bike more amazing than the last. For the very first time, I actually got to speak to someone without having to run away or cut them short. For the very first time, I got to get to know people that I’ve wanted to say more than “what’s up man” to for years.
I got on my bike and Bart and I headed down to the Buffalo Chip to get our press credentials and you guessed it, this was a first too! I got to wander around a little bit, take in the sights and walk the bikes! I began to ease into my surroundings and found myself in the much improved, free area of the Chip known as the CrossRoads. This area seems to be growing more and more each year. I ran into the crew who runs the Jägermeister mobile stage and they were stunned to see me not working! As the rally progressed, this seemed to be the same reaction from most of the people that I met. No one could believe that I was not working and it finally began to set in for me. I’M NOT WORKING! It took a little while but I began to realize that every time I saw my reflection, I had a giant smile on my face and even in agonizing pain it never seemed to leave me for the rest of the rally.
I had received endless messages about Jasmine Cain performing up at the Spoke from both campers and staff up there, I was told that my not attending was not an option and would be considered an unforgivable sin. We hopped on our bikes, rode on over and I have to say that the welcome I received will be a memory that I cherish forever! The rumors surrounding the Spoke and its sale went from mild to wild leading up to the event. So many amazing people, so many memories, such an incredible place and I was thrilled to see that it had opened for the rally! I don’t know what the future holds for the Spoke but I know that it is in good hands again.
I didn’t hang out long as this party was on wheels and it was time to ride again! I do have to admit that getting on my bike and pulling out of the driveway of the bar while it was still open struck me as bizarre, but once that warm South Dakota air hit me in the face my only reaction was to twist that throttle for all it was worth! Our next stop was to check in on Leslie and her crew at the new Beaver Bar over at the old Thunderdome property! If you don’t know this joint it’s sure worth checking out. What began in Myrtle Beach has spread to Daytona and now Sturgis. The Beaver Bar is the home of the $2 beer, the same price it was when she opened the bar 13 years ago. When asked why she does it, Leslie told me that she’s not looking to steal people away from anywhere but rather just give folks the option! It seemed that quite a few people liked having that option! I’m happy that the riders at the rally now have another choice to party at and she is there to stay. It seemed that each and every single night began at Easyrider Saloon and ended with our obnoxious asses damn near crawling out of One Eyed Jack’s and culminating at Sweeto Burrito. The hardest partiers of the rally found themselves each night chowing down on some tasty vittles and hoping that the night would not end but of course it did.
This year was filled with so many firsts for me that even as I sit here writing this it’s hard to put it all into perspective. Another first for me was stepping foot onto the Full Throttle Saloon property, I thought it would never happen but The Horse Backstreet Chopper was having their chopper show there and hell folks, that’s where all the cool kids were, so it was time for me to break my Throttle cherry. There is nothing like getting to wander around, stare at insane bikes and be surrounded by the people in the industry that you have the utmost respect for and can actually admit out loud, I’M A FAN! The day was called short when our editor in chief told me that the plan that was laid out for the memorial service for Kiwi Ross had gone awry and asked if I would step up to help out! I was honored, humbled and terrified all at the very same time. The outpouring of love at the service was witnessed by so many and it was no shock to see how many people were devastated by the loss of this inspiring young man! He has left us with memories and our hearts filled with love, his spirit will remain with us forever! Godspeed Ross!
Thanks to GEICO Motorcycle Insurance the Cycle Source Ride In Chopper show at the Crossroads was pretty epic, the prizes from our sponsors Bikernet, TC Bros, Hijinx Apparel, JIMS USA, McKeag Art, Twisted Tea, Biker’s Choice, S&S, Vance & Hines, Drag Specialties and Metzeler Tires were second to none. Ole Smokey Moonshine brought in Matt Harris from 40 Cal Customs to choose the first ever Best of The Holler Bike. I even got to share in the honor of awarding the Best of Show winner with his prize, a complete rolling chassis from Led Sled Customs complete with Ridewright Wheels, Metzeler Tires, bars and risers from Biltwell and a gas tank from LowBrow Customs for a future build to be featured right here on these pages and all from the main stage of the Chip. On a side note, I got to meet the legendary Hank, the emcee from the Chip and that was one of my highlights for the entire event.
For the first time I got to attend Michael Lichter’s Built For Speed exhibit at the Chip and the combination of bikes and art shared there speaks as a testament to this legend and the place that he holds in our community! Thank you very much Michael for the invite. In the end, the single best experience of the rally was hands down the Cycle Source Run To The Line! I’ve never experienced anything like it! Ole Smokey Moonshine and Indian Larry Motorcycles kickstarted the day with a free Ole Smokey Moonshine Bloody Mary for all of us then about 150 bikes lined up and set out for an afternoon like no other. The ride took us out Rte 79 past beautiful Bear Butte so each and every one of us could thunder through the Broken Spoke in memory of Kiwi Ross Tomas then it was on to The Spur Creek Saloon to see horses and bikes racing side by side in an arena, dragging willing victims, uhm, competitors behind each had me laughing myself to tears at times! Shovel drags, barrel racing and traditional games like the slow race all made for one of the single greatest days I’ve ever spent riding a murdersickle! If you have never made this ride you need to ink, not pencil this in as a MUST DO for the 75th!
I could write 10,000 words about this event, my experiences there and on the trip home but there is not enough room for that so I’ll close it like this; I find myself blessed to have the life I do and for being able to share it with all of you both in person and here on these pages! Life is about making memories and this Sturgis Rally gave me plenty! Most importantly it achieved what I set out to do, I found my soul and I remembered why I love this crazy life I lead so very much! To answer the question I’ve been asked most since, would I do it again this way? NO! I love to bring those smiles, I would love to find a happy medium where I get to work and ride. I guess every boy can dream. See you on the road!