Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame Calls for Nominations

Nominations for the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame are now open and must be submitted by Tuesday, January 10, 2017. The Hall of Fame was established back in 2001 to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long term positive impact on the motorcycle community. After vetting and voting, the Class of 2017 will be honored during the annual Rally on August 10, 2017.

Myrick Robbins Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Director

Myrick Robbins Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Executive Director

“Unlike the confusion caused by the schism between the electoral college and the popular vote in our nation’s presidential election, there is no confusion as to our nomination process,” explains Executive Director Myrick Robbins. “The Hall of Fame’s mission is to honor those who have made a positive and significant impact on the sport and lifestyle.”

There are no restrictions on who may submit nominations. Once the deadline for submissions transpires, all nomination files are reviewed by the Hall of Fame committee made up of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum’s board of directors, its Executive Director and staff directors.

“The criteria for being inducted into the Hall of Fame is to recognize the men and women who have dedicated much of their lives to improving, promoting and advancing motorcycling,” adds Robbins. “We also have a separate nomination specifically for the Freedom Fighter Award, which recognizes those individuals who have made sacrifices to protect the rights of those who ride. These men and women serve diligently, humbly and quietly so that we may enjoy the liberties that many of us take for granted.”

Nomination forms must be accompanied by credentials explaining why an individual should be considered for induction. Please keep in mind that while their achievements may be outstanding, not everyone knows it. A comprehensive overview of their accomplishments is necessary to make an informed and educated decision. Biographical information, newspaper articles, historical documents, etc. may be submitted.

Click here to download the official nomination forms for both the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall Of Fame and the Freedom Fighter Award: http://www.sturgismuseum.com/hall-of-fame

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Celebrates Success & Upcoming Expansion

From the motorcycles to the industry’s pioneers and innovators, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame recognizes every aspect of what makes motorcycling great. The Museum was chartered in 2001 to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long term positive impact on the motorcycle community, and plans call for improvements that will make it possible to create world-class exhibits. However this progress would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of the board of directors, the local community and most importantly the sponsors.

“It was time to Honor the Ride and Build the Legacy,” says Executive Director Myrick Robbins. “The mission for the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum remains unchanged, however the means to achieving its lofty goals are certainly advancing courtesy of our sponsors and supporters of the Museum.” A record number of visitors over the course of 2016 and a complete sell-out of the annual Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremonies breakfast highlighted a record year for the Sturgis landmark.

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum

The support of the community and the amazing efforts of Rod Woodruff, founder and President of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, will make it possible for the Museum to expand on its mission to honor those who have made a positive and significant impact on the sport and lifestyle,” says Robbins. This year alone the Chip donated $18,356 toward expansion, part of a total $228,000 contributed over the past nine years to help build a world-class Museum in Sturgis showcasing motorcycling’s history.

Also making a major contribution to the Museum was Russ Brown Motorcycle Accident & Injury Attorneys. The original attorneys who ride contributed $2,500. “We know the challenges, danger and bias that riders face on the road as we were riders long before we became lawyers,” says managing partner Chuck Koro. “We are proud to support the museum’s efforts to honor the men and women who have dedicated much of their lives to improving, promoting and advancing motorcycling.”

Strider Bikes stepped up as the presenting sponsorship for the Hall of Fame. Based in nearby Rapid City, Strider Balance Bikes are putting the next generation of Hall of Famers in the saddle today! “Next year marks the 100th anniversary of bicycles in the Black Hills and we are happy to welcome Strider to the party,” notes Robbins. “This is an ideal match… Just as Strider is a resource for future generations of riders, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame stands out because of the fact that we not only document the history of the machines, we document the history of the people who have shaped and changed the sport and lifestyle.”

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

2016 Sturgis Rally Aug. 5 -14 

The biggest bash in the Black Hills of South Dakota celebrates its 76th rally. http://www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Salutes Freedom Fighter

FREEDOM-FIGHTER

In keeping with the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum’s mission to Honor the Ride, a special “Freedom Fighter” award recognizing an individual who has fought to protect the rights of motorcyclists was instituted. For 2016, the Freedom Fighter is Gary Wetzel, a Vietnam Veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who has been active for decades in raising awareness of not only Veteran’s issues, but also protecting riders’ rights.

“There truly is no one more deserving of the 2016 Freedom Fighter award than Gary Wetzel,” says Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall Of Fame Executive Director Myrick Robbins. “It is an honor and a privilege to salute Gary’s achievements during the induction of the Class of 2016.” Initiated in 2001, The Freedom Fighter award honors someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty for motorcyclists and expended efforts in the political arena.

“That criteria is epitomized by Gary,” adds Robbins. “A longtime rider, he has ridden with Rolling Thunder since 1989 and has stepped up countless times as an advocate for the disabled. In fact, one of the first formal events of Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary Celebration was “Military Day” and there was a motorcycle ride to the VA hospital to raise money. Leading the way that day was Gary Wetzel, and he continues to be a leader every day.”

Wetzel received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson for his service in Vietnam. “Every time I wear that blue ribbon, I wear it for everybody,” he insists. “I’m just a caretaker… just a soldier doing a job.” When Wetzel’s helicopter was shot down, the survivors came under heavy enemy fire. “I was trying to save my buddy and my pilot when a grenade went off about four feet behind me and caught me pretty good,” he says. Wetzel lost his arm and suffered multiple life-threatening wounds to his chest, right arm, and left leg, but continued to man his machine gun to aid his crew chief who was attempting to drag a wounded aircraft commander to safety.

But that’s all in the past. What he does now is to serve as an advocate for his fellow veterans, usually from the saddle of his Harley, “Ruby” – a 1993 Electra Glide Classic with more than 140,000 miles on the odometer. By the way, Ruby hasn’t been modified to accommodate his prosthetic left arm. “I more or less designed my arm so I can pull my clutch in and out, and take off,” he explains.

Starting with the second ride in 1989, Wetzel has been involved with Rolling Thunder, the big annual veterans ride to Washington, D.C. In fact, he has had the honor of riding the lead bike almost every single year. Since the ride’s inception, Wetzel says, the remains of more than 1,500 soldiers have been brought home to the U.S. to be buried.

“Join us in honoring Gary Wetzel and the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees,” says Robbins. The 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame 2016 Induction Breakfast will be August 10, 2016 at the Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, South Dakota. Breakfast tickets are available for a $35 donation, tables of eight for $300. Tickets are available by calling the Museum at 605.347.2001 or they can be purchased online at http://www.sturgismuseum.com/shop/hall-fame-breakfast.

Brittney Olsen and the Inaugural Spirit of Sturgis Festival

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Brittney Olsen hosts inaugural vintage moto racing festival in Sturgis

Brittney Olsen, 27 year old antique motorcycle racer and founder of 20th Century Racing, is among the fearlessly fast champions whose name graces the motorcycle racing history books, especially in Sturgis, South Dakota, where she claimed two of her victories on the Historical Half Mile at the Meade County Fairgrounds. After finding out the city’s plans to close down the old track for good, Brittney began to think of a way to revere the Sturgis half-mile and its glorious motorcycle racing history. Good friend and mentor Bruce Eide approached Brittney after the 75th Sturgis Rally with the idea of hosting a vintage motorcycle festival, thus the concept of The Spirit of Sturgis was conceived. Following months of planning, hard work and gaining the blessing from the city of Sturgis and the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce, Indian Motorcycle Sturgis and Brittney are set to host the first ever Spirit of Sturgis Vintage Motorcycle Festival on Friday, August 26 through Sunday, August 28 of this year.

The Spirit of Sturgis Vintage Motorcycle Festival is proud to announce guided gypsy tours through the Black Hills and two days of vintage motorcycle races, plus a swap meet and antique flea market for vendors, collectors and enthusiasts at the Meade County Fairgrounds located at 1802 Ballpark Road in Sturgis. Friday’s main event is the half-mile vintage motorcycle flat track races, with classes ranging from the early 1920s through 1980s, as well as a benefit party and vintage bike show following the races Friday night in the infield of the old track. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Saturday’s main event features exciting pre-1970s “Run What You Brung” dirt drags. “From touring the Black Hills on an old bike, to watching the thrillingly fast vintage racers compete for the Spirit of Sturgis championship title, Sturgis was built upon a multifaceted weekend of motorcycle racing. Now it’s time to bring the grassroots racing back to Sturgis!”

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The world renown Oil & Ink Expo will have moto-inspired art by artists from around the globe on display with prints for purchase, and free motorcycle films will be playing at dusk at the Harley-Davidson Plaza Rally Point on both Friday and Saturday night. The all-ages affair includes a special kid zone with a Strider course for the tots, bouncy houses, bicycle field games for kids under 16 and motorcycle field games for those over 16 years old.

To purchase tickets and obtain more information about The Spirit of Sturgis Vintage Motorcycle Festival
please visit www.spiritofsturigs.com or contact Brittney Olsen via email at spiritofsturgis@gmail.com.

Buffalo Chip Challenge Students Score Big at Black Hills Motorcycle Show

Black Hills area high school students participating in the 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge scored their first big win this weekend at the Black Hills Motorcycle Show. Just days after completing two world-class, custom baggers, the students unveiled the bikes at the Black Hills show and received two first place trophies. The students will now take the motorcycles on to compete at the prestigious Donnie Smith Bike and Car Show in St. Paul, Minn. on April 2 & 3. The program, developed by Sturgis Buffalo Chip president Rod Woodruff and coordinated by Keith Terry of Terry Components, was designed to prepare the next generation of American motorcycle experts and cultivate motorcycle industry economic development.

The 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge participants had the opportunity to fully customize a 2016 Victory Cross Country and a 2015 Indian Chief Classic under the instruction of some of the industry’s most celebrated customizers. Randy Cramer of Dakota V-Twin and Chris Malo of Baggster provided hands-on instruction to students from start to finish to create signature builds that fit the style of their teams’ esteemed captains. Renowned builders Rusty Jones of Rusty Jones Customs and John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts served as team captains and provided a great deal of influence on the look and style of each bike, with their extensive lines of custom body parts and components.

2016 BHMS Challenge Group

The students in the Buffalo Chip Challenge unveiled this years bikes at the Black Hills Motorcycle Show and rode off with two first places.

The student-built custom Victory Cross Country took top honors, winning first place in the Full Custom Bagger – Victory class and the Indian Chief Classic took first place in the Full Custom Bagger – Indian class. The students competed against professional custom bike builders, which makes winning these awards an even more remarkable achievement.

“The students are the big winners in the Buffalo Chip Challenge program,” says Rod Woodruff, president of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. “They’ve spent countless hours after school and on weekends learning from the pros to build these magnificent bikes. I couldn’t be more proud to see them succeed and win such well-deserved awards.”

The two award-winning custom motorcycles will be auctioned in support of the Buffalo Chip’s signature Legends Ride charity event on Deadwood’s Main Street on Monday, Aug. 8.
The Buffalo Chip Challenge is a collaboration between the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Terry Components, Dakota V-Twin, Baggster and a large group of industry-leading sponsors. This is the sixth consecutive year the Sturgis Buffalo Chip has led the regional program focused on American innovation and craftsmanship.

2016 Students of the Buffalo Chip Challenge Celebrate Victory

Students in the Buffalo Chip Challenge stand proudly with their first award of the season. Something tells us more are on the way.

Many of the motorcycle industry’s top companies continue to supply world-class parts and services for the Buffalo Chip’s build program each year, recognizing its significance as part of the growth and success in American custom bike building. Special thanks to American Iron Magazine, Baggster, Dakota V-Twin, Dirty Bird Concepts, Hot Leathers, Indian Motorcycle Sturgis, Rusty Jones Customs, Terry Components, Arlen Ness Enterprises, Carl Brouhard Designs, CT Designs, Flat Earth Art, Hawg Halters, Inc., Jamie’s Repair, KewlMetal, Kreun Kustom, Legend Suspensions, Lloyd’z Motor Workz, MTX Audio, RC Components, Sturdevant’s Refinish Supply Center, Trask Performance, and Vee Rubber America for contributing to the program.

Those interested in bidding to win one of these award-winning bikes can visit LegendsRide.com or call (605) 347-9000.

About the 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip continues its commitment to education and the growth of South Dakota’s motorcycle industry with its sixth annual Buffalo Chip Challenge. The program utilizes award-winning veteran custom builders Keith Terry, Randy Cramer and Chris Malo to serve as instructors and mentors to students customizing two stock motorcycles. The goal is to develop students’ skills and knowledge in a real-world experience they can use after graduation. Throughout the years, the custom creations produced in the Buffalo Chip Challenge have received much acclaim at prestigious motorcycle competitions, including winning multiple first place trophies at the Donnie Smith Bike Show.

About The Sturgis Buffalo Chip
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip is the Largest Music Festival in Motorcycling. It is the world’s first and leading entertainment destination for the motorcycle enthusiast. Established in 1981, the venue’s high-profile festival, known as The Best Party Anywhere, remains one of the world’s most televised and longest running independent music festivals. Guests from all 50 states and 22 countries have the freedom to party and play while experiencing world-class concerts, outrageous events, moving freedom celebrations, thrilling powersports and more. Located three miles east of Sturgis, SD on 600 creek-fed acres, it offers eight stages of entertainment, a swimming hole, bars, mouth-watering food, showers, cabins, RVs, camping and more to visitors traveling from all corners of the world. The Chip’s concerts are free with camping. More details are available at www.buffalochip.com.

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Announced

From pioneers and innovators to customizers and dealers, the 2016 inductees into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame represent every aspect of what makes motorcycling great. The Museum was chartered back in 2001 to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long term positive impact on the motorcycle community. Arguably the most diverse -and deserving – group ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, the Class of 2016 will be honored during the annual Rally on August 10, 2016.

“The Hall of Fame’s mission is to honor those who have made a positive and significant impact on the sport and lifestyle,” explains Tigra Tsujikawa, Marketing & Development Director for the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. “It honors the men and women who have dedicated much of their lives to improving, promoting and advancing motorcycling.” While the Museum certainly pay tribute to the heritage of the Rally, the Hall of Fame transcends the Black Hills of South Dakota, she adds.

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Buddy Stubbs is one of the 2016 nominees to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame. 

“Having a living off-road legend like John Penton, demonstrates that the Hall of Fame recognizes all aspects of our great sport,” says Tsujikawa. “Many consider John to be the godfather of the dirt bike industry and his pioneering of small, lightweight 2-strokes changed the world of off-road motorcycles.” Not to mention shaping and defining KTM to this very day. In addition to Penton, four other equally deserving inductees have been named to the Class of 2016.

The Class Of 2016
Bert Baker – V-Twin motorcycle drivetrain innovator, businessman and patriot, Bert Baker is committed to using materials, labor, creativity, know how and grit born of America.

Jerry Covington – Whether it is on TV or the cover of virtually every biker magazine in the world, it is hard to miss custom builder Jerry Covington. What does get overlooked is Covington’s behind the scenes commitment to the motorcycle community, his selfless donation of time and resources to those less fortunate through has various charity projects.

John Penton – One of the most influential figures in off-road motorcycling in the world, John Penton developed a legendary brand of motorcycles that bore his name (better known as KTM today). He also founded Hi-Point, an accessory and distribution company that had 50% of aftermarket sales in the U.S. and set the mold for modern distribution powerhouses like Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky and WPS.

Gary Spellman – Using motorcycle as means to further charitable causes, philanthropist Gary Spellman has been quite effective in utilizing motorcycles to raise money for charities benefiting first responders and their surviving families. He has also brought major business owners into the family of motorcyclists as well as creating the Peace, Love and Happiness Charity Ride with fellow Hall Of Famer John Paul Dejoria.

Buddy Stubbs – Talk about being born into the business, Buddy Stubbs was raised in his father’s Harley dealership in Decatur, Illinois and has spent his entire life in and around dealerships, including opening two of his own in the greater Phoenix area. This year marks his 50th year as a dealer and more significantly an ambassador to the motorcycle lifestyle.

“Come help us honor the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees,” says Tsujikawa. “The 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame 2016 Induction Breakfast will be August 10, 2016 at the Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, South Dakota.”

Breakfast tickets are available for a $35 donation, tables of eight for $300. Tickets are available by calling the Museum at 605.347.2001 or they can be purchased online at http://www.sturgismuseum.com/shop/hall-fame-breakfast.

Motorcycle News: Full Throttle Biker Bar in Sturgis Burns To The Ground.

STURGIS, SD – Flames early Tuesday morning engulfed a popular Sturgis saloon that bills itself as the “world’s largest biker bar.”

Full Throttle bar on fire in Sturgis, SD

Full Throttle Saloon on fire in Sturgis, SD

The Full Throttle Saloon is a total loss after crews battled the blaze throughout the morning.

Sturgis Assistant Fire Chief Sean Barrows says crews tried to get inside but heat and smoke forced firefighters to battle the blaze from the outside in heavy winds. The building was completely on the ground by 3 a.m.

Barrows says there were no injuries.

The bar on South Dakota Highway 34 has been the subject of a reality television series. Its amenities include zip lines, musical stages and rental cabins.

The fire remains under investigation.

AIM Winner Receives ’15 Indian Chief Vintage At Sturgis

IMG_053225 logo 8Where did the time go? I was only 4 years old when Buzz Kanter bought the American Iron Magazine title in 1991. And while I’ve learned how to walk and, debatably, talk since then, AIM has gone from being published in a spare bedroom in the Kanter household, to the number-one selling Harley mag in the world, with headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, along Fairfield County’s Gold Coast. And for more than 25 years now, AIM has been going strong. That said, all of those issues we’ve printed would not have been possible if it weren’t for you, our readers.

To celebrate AIM’s longevity, we decided to give something back. So in issue #305, we announced that American Iron Magazine would launch a giant sweepstakes event, with a chance for readers to win various prizes, including a brand-spanking-new Indian. To enter, all you had to do was subscribe to AIM or send in a 3″ x 5″ card with your contact info as an entry. If you already were a subscriber, your name was automatically entered. Easy, huh? And, no, employees weren’t eligible to win. Bummer!

From issues #308 to #320, we randomly pulled three lucky people’s names from the hat as winners of the three monthly prizes: a complete set of Fix My Hog DVDs, a $100 gift card to our GreaseRag.com web site, or a $1,000 Dennis Kirk gift card. Their names were announced each month in the Quoted & Noted section of the magazine. If you do the math, that’s 39 prizes total.

In issue #323, we announced all of the winners! And Gary Moody of Fort Worth, TX, our grand prize winner, received the keys to an all-new 2015 Indian Vintage at the 75th Anniversary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally!

This article originally appeared in American Iron Magazine issue # 323, published in April 2015. To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
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Harley-Davidson Brick Ride (Full Story)

Harley Davidson Brick Ride Milwaukee-Sturgis March 25th 2015

The legendary ride marking the H-D/Sturgis 75-year deal

Text By Tyler Greenblatt
Photos by Josh Kurpius

IMG_0409On January 15, 2015, Harley-Davidson announced that it had signed an unprecedented 75-year deal with the town of Sturgis, South Dakota, to be the Official Motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. As part of the announcement on that frigid, gray morning in Milwaukee, a H-D employee, mounted on a new Street 750, began yanking bricks from the wall of the famous Motorcycle Only parking area outside the Juneau Avenue headquarters. The high-revving, liquid-cooled twin did burnout after burnout, until 73 bricks were free. He repeated the semidemolition process once more at the historic entrance to the original factory location a couple hundred feet away, and again at the H-D Museum.

Harley Davidson Brick RideThese 75 bricks, honoring 75 years of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and representing The Motor Company’s past, present, and future, were destined for use in constructing The Harley-Davidson Rally Point, a new year-round, open-air plaza in downtown Sturgis. The plaza sits on the corner of Main St. and what is now officially called Harley-Davidson Way (formerly Second Street). And for the occasion Harley also announced that on March 23, the bricks would be packed onto motorcycles and ridden the 900-plus miles to Sturgis, making Harley Owners Group (HOG) and dealership appearances along the way.

A couple weeks later, I received a phone call from The Motor Company asking me to join the ride. As a Wisconsin resident, I know that icy conditions, below-freezing temperatures, and probable snow storms are still very much a factor that time of year. As if anticipating that very notion, the next sentence of my invitation stated that I would also be provided full heated gear and a 2015 CVO Street Glide for the ride. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.

Harley Davidson Brick Ride Milwaukee-Sturgis March 23rd 2015Harley Davidson Brick Ride Milwaukee-Sturgis March 24th 2015A few weeks later I awoke bright and early in Milwaukee’s Iron Horse Hotel for the ride. It was Monday, March 23rd. Bursting with enthusiasm, I flung the curtains open to enjoy the view of the H-D Museum and the sun rising over Milwaukee’s distinct skyline. What I got instead was a snow shower that had already begun to show its white aftereffects on the museum and downtown Milwaukee.

But to my pleasant surprise, we got the green light to fire up the bikes  and hit the highway for our westward adventure. Our first stop would be Wisconsin H-D in Oconomowoc about 30 minutes outside Milwaukee. We brushed off our snow-covered steeds, cranked up the heated gear, and to perplexed onlookers and motorists exited away from the brick entrance to H-D’s headquarters on Juneau Avenue for the first leg of our journey. I couldn’t help but notice that the entry had one brick missing as I motored past.

Harley Davidson Brick Ride Milwaukee-Sturgis March 23rd 2015The ride to Oconomowoc took nearly an hour as our caravan clawed our way out of town, carefully staying within the clean tire tracks laid out by the cars ahead of us. The CVO Street Glide felt surprisingly stable in such conditions, thanks in large part to the bike’s low center of gravity. The Dunlop tires never lost grip, and the 110″ engine’s power let me comfortably select a higher gear to minimize, or even eliminate, wheel spin. We’ll have a full report of this bike in a future issue.

Enthusiastic employees, offering hot cups of coffee, greeted us when we arrived at Wisconsin H-D, which was supposed be closed on a Monday. Eventually word got out that conditions were considerably worse inland. That didn’t deter us, though — we were having way too much fun to call it quits just yet! So, we saddled up and headed to Madison to visit Badger H-D, which happens to be the dealership that I frequent.

Harley Davidson Brick RideFrom Madison we set our GPS for Sauk City, home of Sauk Prairie H-D. My heated riding gear made the cold, one-hour ride almost uneventful. Our route sheet pointed us to scenic Highway 60 along the Wisconsin River, but the snow plow crews had yet to venture that far, so we waited at Sauk for awhile longer than anticipated. A fresh snowfall in rural Wisconsin is as beautiful and serene as one could ever come across, and I was thankful to be experiencing it on a motor­cycle where all the senses come into play. We eventually got back on the road, stopping for lunch about halfway to Waukon H-D in Waukon, Iowa. As each of us emerged from our riding gear at the diner, our waitress politely asked how our snow­mobile trip was going. She nearly freaked out when we told her that we were on Harleys. Maybe we were the crazy ones?

Crossing the mighty Mississippi River from Wisconsin into Iowa offered a great deal of pride and reprieve as the most challenging part of the day was behind us and we had ridden every single mile of it. With darkness approaching and black ice a major concern, we loaded the grungy, road-weary machines into the support trailer at Cedar River H-D and did the final stretch to the hotel in Mason City in the truck. Foremost, though, we had accomplished our goal of stopping at every planned dealership along the way. And we did so on two wheels, not four.

Harley Davidson Brick Ride Milwaukee-Sturgis March 25th 2015Harley Davidson Brick RideThe following morning there was no snow to contend with, but the temperature was lower, the humidity was higher, and I put my heated equipment to the test. We kicked off the day at H-D of Mason City, where, incredibly, local HOG members had also braved the cold to greet us and wish us well on our trip. Four of them, including one lady on her brand-new Softail Deluxe, even took up extra bricks and joined us for a stretch! We stopped at Okoboji H-D in Okoboji, Iowa, before hitting the road for J&L H-D in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, our final stop for the day. As if cold and heavy winds weren’t enough for us to contend with, it started to rain. No, make that a downpour. Again, due to the inclement weather, we were way behind schedule, forcing us to load the bikes for the final leg, and five hours to Rapid City, South Dakota.

Harley Davidson Brick RideIt was a short, sunny hop from Rapid City to Black Hills H-D, our final dealer destination. After enjoying an in-depth tour of the state-of-the-art dealership, we headed to downtown Sturgis to deliver all 75 bricks for the official groundbreaking of the Harley-Davidson Rally Point.

A sizable crowd had gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony, enthusiastically cheering us — and the bricks — as we pulled up and parked in the cordoned-off section out front. Bill Davidson and Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen started things off with speeches in front of the dirt construction zone. Overlooking us from the hillside was the famous Sturgis sign, and you couldn’t help but feel proud to be a part of the occasion. So where were the shovels for the ground-breaking ceremony? There wasn’t a shovel to be seen (unless you count the Shovelhead chopper that was present). Instead, motocross star Carey Hart, riding a Project LiveWire, and H-D factory flat track racer Brad Baker aboard a Street 750, appeared and, on command, proceeded to do dirt and pavement burnouts, respectively, shrouding attendees in a swirling storm of sand and tire smoke. It was only fitting that the ride of a lifetime that began in Milwaukee with a Harley-Davidson burnout end in Sturgis with a double Harley-Davidson burnout.

Harley Davidson Brick RideWily readers might be questioning how we fit 75 bricks onto only seven motorcycles. The truth is, we didn’t, although we probably could’ve used the added weight for traction. Before leaving Juneau Avenue, we were each given one brick to steward from the site of the original factory in Milwaukee to the Rally Point in Sturgis, the rest were in the truck, and handed out to the brave few riders who joined us. Ceremoniously, the riders and support truck drivers gathered in a circle and dropped our bricks into the dirt that would soon be their final place of honor.

It was truly an epic ride, one that, in certain ways, took 75 years to accomplish. And we seven riders helped lay the foundation, one brick at a time. AIM

This article originally appeared in American Iron Magazine issue # 325, published June 2015. To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
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