Jul 30, 2015

Sturgis Stories

Some of the MMM folks were swapping Sturgis stories today. So, I plugged in a couple of my own.

I don't have much for Sturgis stories. Back in the mid-70's, before the gangbangers took over (one year before, in fact), I rode in a two-man team cross-country race at Sturgis. There were flat track, motocross, scrambles, and, probably, road racing events. The following year, I was out due to broken ribs and missed the cross-country. My teammate found another guy and went. They barely escaped with their bodies unbroken and bikes unstolen when the Texas and Oklahoma Harley gangbangers showed up and trashed the races and racers. Before that, I competed in quite a few South Dakota cross country races, including some 24 hour events, but that was my last year for all of that. By the time the ribs healed, I was on my way to my first engineering job and racing turned to a couple years of riding Midwest trials around the Omaha area and a lot of non-competitive off-road stuff along the Elkhorn River valley.

My last year in Denver, one of the sleazier pacemaker salescritters and two of the absolute worst cardiologists I ever watched botch surgeries decided to play "motorcyclists." Being rich assholes and more into pretending than doing, they bought new Harleys and had the dealer deliver the bikes to a custom shop for repainting, loud pipes, and a few thousand bucks worth of other stupid shit. Then, the bikes were shipped to Rapid City where another shop "prepped the bikes for the Black Hills." The pack of make-believe bandits bought fake pony tails and beards and hired a makeup artist in Rapid City to make them look "real." I have no idea how that all played out, since I went to the Steamboat Vintage Bike Week and moved to another department (managing massive product recalls) when I came back.

When I first moved here in '97 I still had the habit of riding to Denver to hang out with friends at the Steamboat Springs Vintage Motorcycle Week. Steamboat ended about the time the Sturgis thing began, so for a couple of years I had the pleasure of riding back home through clouds of the dredges of society on Harleys or, more likely, pulling Harleys on trailers. The last year of the Steamboat event, I got caught up in the cloud of dumbasses between Rabbit Ears Pass and Laramie and by the time I stopped for lunch in Laramie I'd decided to dirt road the rest of the way through Wyoming. At the time, pretty much all of the roads between Laramie and Chugwater were gravel or farm-to-market roads and that put me out of the path of the pirate parade for about 80 miles. I stuck with the county roads all the way to Edgemont, SD, which was pretty cool except for the fact that the chain on my Suzuki SV was pretty much wreaked from 300 miles of gravel.

The chain wasn't in great shape when I'd left home 3,000 miles earlier, but now it was running hot and making clunking noises unless I stopped and dumped oil on it every hundred miles or so. Just past the SD border, I was pouring cheap oil on the chain when I noticed a small puddle of oil forming at the front of the engine. It took a bit to find the source, since the whole bike was coated in a coarse layer of dust, dried clay, and chunks from occasional strips of freshly oiled or tarred gravel. I found the leak, which was pretty disappointing. The SV's front tire had been tossing bits of rock at the oil filter for 300 miles and had drilled a hole right into the top of the filter. I had a spare filter with me, but not nearly enough oil for a change. I wrapped the filter in duct tape and limped into Edgemont. A few quarts of automotive oil and a really messy spot on the side of the road a few miles out of town and I was back on the road. For the rest of the ride, I stuck with pavement and kept up the 100 mile chain lube interval all the way home. You might not think a centerstand on a 1999 Suzuki SV 650 would be a hit accessory, but I was pretty happy having one on that trip.

The pirate crowd was still heading in the opposite direction all the way through Sioux Falls and the weather behind me was dark, windy, and hot. Good thing they all had air conditioned follow trucks to hide in, because it was a nasty day to be crossing SD.


Anonymous said...

The South Dakota Highway Patrol has released updated statistics from the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Western South Dakota.

Colorado Man Dies By Lead After Driving Motorcycle Off Road
1 Fatal Accident, 25 DUI Arrests Reported At Sturgis...
As of 6:00 a.m. Sunday, there had been two fatal crashes, and 46 injury accidents in the Rapid City District.

There have been 53 DUI arrests, and 33 felony drug arrests.

Law enforcement officials have issued 483 citations and 1,400 warnings so far.

There were no fatal crashes during last year's Sturgis rally.

This year's rally officially begins Monday and lasts through Aug. 9.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday in STURGIS, S.D. — The South Dakota Highway Patrol says six people have died on the roads in connection with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota.

The patrol says four people were killed in separate accidents Sunday and early Monday. Dead are 49-year-old Rhonda Denato, of Ottumwa, Iowa; 73-year-old Archie Smith, of Kansas City, Kansas; 51-year-old Brian Ware of Seattle; and 47-year-old Todd Hay of Deland, Florida.

Smith was killed when the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving crashed into a cable guard rail in the median. The other three victims were on motorcycles.
The patrol announced over the weekend that 65-year-old William Carter of Seville, Ohio and 45-year-old Gregory Bullard of Fort Collins, Colorado, died in separate motorcycle crashes.

Anonymous said...

"Sandal said all indications are that the rally crowd will beat the approximate 600,000 people that set the attendance record in 2000 -- the 60th anniversary of the rally.

"Meanwhile, the rally traffic death toll rose to eight as of early Tuesday morning.

"One woman, 63-year-old Rose Ann Richard of Belfield, N.D., died from injuries in a vehicle-motorcycle crash on Saturday. She was a passenger on her husband’s motorcycle.

"The other rally-related death reported Tuesday was in the southern Black Hills in Custer State Park where John Rowlett Jr., 42, of Wichita, Kan., lost control of his motorcycle and went into the ditch and collided with a huge rock.

"Tony Mangan of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said injury accidents were up along with fatals this year, largely because of the larger crowd. However, he said one trend the department is seeing is that motorcyclists are taking curves on the dangerous Hills highways too fast and sharply and going off the roadways. There were 76 injury accidents in the area as of Tuesday morning, almost 50 more than last year.

"Meanwhile, DUI arrests were at 108 and felony drug arrests were at 50. The DUIs are at the same pace as last year, but drug arrests were up.

"The department reported one unusual incident Tuesday as Mangan said Deserae Emmett, 31, of Hazel, S.D., kicked and bit a state trooper about midnight after a traffic arrest north of Deadwood. At the Lawrence County jail, she tried to escape. She was charged with DUI, open container, resisting arrest, simple assault and escape. The trooper was not seriously injured, said Mangan."