Flash News From Sturgis (Part 1)

1- Visit at the Buffalo Chip. On Saturday, August 4th went directly from the Rapid City regional Airport to the Buffalo Chip to get a feel on the crowd checking in at the campground and the new Crossroads setup at its entrance where many vendors are already showing their ware and where the famous Rat’s Hole Bike Show will be held on Thursday August 9th. Unusual traffic jam in Sturgis for this first Saturday of the rally, and even more driving east towards the Buffalo Chip. Meet owner Woody Woodruff whose first words to me is that his campground fill up rate, his convert tickets sales and vendors presence is the best ever since he owns the place!

2- On my way back, making a stop at the AMD World Championship Of Bike Building big white tent on Lazelle & 3rd street in Sturgis. Hugs to my fellow builders from the US and of the rest of the world unloading their new creations to compete for the ultimate title of World Champion. Stay tuned on Wednesday around 6 pm eastern time, (3 pm pacific) when I am going to upload the pictures of the top 3 winners at the same time they will be announced on stage front of the crowd.


3- On Sunday 5th, Lonnie Isam Sr & Jr. (on my right on the picture) organizers of the famous Cannonball Endurance Run, invite me at their wonderful shop on Lazelle & 11th street (a must visit to admire lots of very rare bikes from the 1900’s) to meet with Mark Carstensen, the young and dynamic young mayor of Sturgis (on my left) Very pleasant talk about the City Of Sturgis plans for the next 2 years, the revitalization of the downtown, about the new Cannonball to start in September, about the expected attendance to this rally’s 72nd edition. As a new indicator of visitors presence, Marc tells me that the City of Sturgis already removed 20% more trash than last year for the same period (the 3 days before the official starting date of the rally, Monday August 6th. The mayor promised to stay in touch with me all week to give me more info and statistics as soon as he gets them. 

4- At noon, visited Custom Builder Jeff Nicklus at Desperado Junction, the vendors display in Lead above Deadwood, in front of the Golden Hills hotel. Jeff started to organized this show in 2011, and this year the number of vendors has doubled with some still arriving. And it includes Bourget Custom Bikes showing for the first time brand new models…More about them very soon.

5- In the afternoon, return to Sturgis to visit the major vendors of the industry along Lazelle Street. Harley-Davidson has unusually postponed the release of its 2013 models by one month. Still a lot of fans checking the 2012 models, accessories and apparel. Victory & Indian Motorcycles is just a block away, then the usual big brands of the industry and the smaller players but whose influence on the industry is as large if not more. Chatting with Bill Dodge of Bling’s Cycles whose shop has been moved to East Kentucky. Bill showed me his very new cool creations still sold at a low cost (under $20,000) to make them accessible to the “working man”. I picked one that I liked very much on which I will do a feature very soon. Met with Mike Corbin, the unofficial mayor of Hollister, Bert Baker in great shape after unloading some weight and ready to launch new products, and many other vendors on which I will report later.

6- Got a chance to have a ride with S&S CAD Designer Grant Hillegrass in a Morgan powered by an S&S 121″ engine. Loved it. You register it as a motorcycle after you pay about 50 K to get one to 1 of the 9 dealers in the US.

Ended the evening at the private Builders party organized by Robin Bradley at the AMD World Championship of Bike Building. Another opportunity to check all the bikes now ready to be judged by the competitors themselves, to meet all the who’s who of the industry. Small talk and deep discussions about customization, about the future of the industry, etc… Of course, much more to come about the Sturgis happenings during the next few days.

Tomorrow, I will be everywhere from Rapid City to Deadwood to Spearfish to Sturgis, and for sure at the Legends Ride and Michael Lichter party at the Buffalo Chip for those who wants to meet with me.

15 Responses to “Flash News From Sturgis (Part 1)”

  1. 1 Colemanfu Aug 6th, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Sounds like FUN! Thanks for taking us along.

  2. 2 Mike Aug 6th, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Cyril & Andreas seem to have fun 😉

  3. 3 MotorcycleMarc Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Nice overview reporting of your arrival at Sturgis, Cyril. Thanks.

  4. 4 Michl Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for keeping us inform in the bike industry with the builders and Sturgis activities….I will be going hopefully next year..

  5. 5 Rodent Aug 6th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Three photos of you,Cyril in article show you’re in great shape.

  6. 6 Friedl Aug 6th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Wow,what’s that bike next to Cyril and Andreas? That’s gotta be the coolest bike ever!

  7. 7 tattooeddmike Aug 6th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Thanks Cyril, Enjoyed your imput of your visit to the different area’s of Sturgis and hope to see More! Wish you the Best! Tattooeddmike.

  8. 8 Conejos (Rabbit) Aug 6th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Buffalo Chip’s gotten too big – too crowded – too dusty – to expensive to enjoy for the common working man. Since they are making so much $$$ on all of us, they should improve the site. At least clean up the spent shot gun shells and broken skeet on the site, man! We had to move over 200 of them to put our tent down. If you like cold showers, dusty roads, and unbelievable crowding – go for it! The concert would be great if you could see it! Last time we went, Pee Wee Herman headlined – really!

    Let’s rename the Sturgis Rally. The name should be the Sturgis Greed Festival. It is NOT the party it used to be, bringing bikers together to have fun and meet people who have things in common. Main purpose now is bringing bikers together to sell, sell sell – everything at unbelievable prices! Thousands of custom bikes for sale at every corner – custom bikes are no longer special – too many for sale everywhere at Sturgis. Most of us come to Sturgis for the party and to have fun – not to look at rows and rows of custom bikes because the majority of us are not high rollers. I have rode the places around Jackson, Wyoming; Durango, Colorado; and other prime tourist traps. NONE are as expensive and dupe you out of your money like Sturgis! I have been there 18 times since 1985 and it has changed. Bikers enjoy – but Bikers beware – they definitely want ALL your money and get it on the pretense of giving you a party!

    For a real good time go a week before or a week after the Rally – you still get the TShirts and get to see the beautiful S. Dakota roadways, sites, etc. for about 1/4 of the price. Good note – if you’ve never been there – you need to go. It just “ain’t” what it used to be. Have fun and ride safe.

  9. 9 PJ Hyland Aug 6th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Great stuff Cyril.

    Conejos’ advice is solid! During the week before the rally you can park on Main St, get a table at a restaurant, get a beer at a bar, find elbow room at displays and vendors and find room to ride in the spectacular Black Hills.

  10. 10 Blackmax Aug 6th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Looks like a Blast !!!
    Wish I was there with you
    Agree with Mr Hyland & Conejos it has turned into a greed festival
    but it’s one of the few rallies where you can make it, what you want to be
    You can do it on the less expensive side.
    Drink a few less beers, buy a few less T-shirts, hang out at Desperado with Conrad ….
    There are lots of things you can do to cut down, but as Cyril stated EVERYBODY has been cutting down & now people are “cutting loose”. Don’t blame them !!!
    I’m no high roller & I don;t get a new bike every year to go out there.
    But one thing they do have that’s free is all that beautiful riding country out there
    and THAT is the reason to go !!!!
    If I want to sit at a bar all day & night & have people tell stories
    I can do that here at home a whole lot cheaper than I can do it there

  11. 11 morpion Aug 6th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    merci cyril et amuse toi bien,,j,aime bien tes reportages

  12. 12 1550tc Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Without the people here it’s like an empty bar ….rides events and people are what most riders want

    Gouging yeah if u want a lemonade on the street most national chains have normal prices

    Casino on 85 in deadwood great food at Sane prices!!!!

    I agree most campgrounds are fields but man there are some real nice ones

    After18 years u shoud know all the in and outs here …..zero crowds on the eastern hills and wy border

    Like how many times can u ride up 385..?.go up to ody for a few days

    It’s still thebest rally on th planet

  13. 13 morpion Aug 7th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    i was there in 82,83,85,87 and 2005 and for me it,s the best rally on the planet,,i am planning to return in 2013

  14. 14 Darin Maltsberger- Instructor MTI Aug 7th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Great stuff Cyril. Your reporting is always an honest assessment and helps me feel a little more at ease and somewhat grounded. I had a group of students and their bikes at the full throttle for the “backstreet show” and then spent a little time up and down Lazelle before we had to head home last night. Wish I could have gotten up to Deadwood and visited Jeff and caught up with you. A lot of what you are reporting makes sense and is the industry sorting out it’s own direction. It is an exciting time to be a part of the custom motorcycle industry, many changes and some uncharted waters.Things are different…….and maybe that’s ok. Thanks again Cyril.


  15. 15 Walt Lumpkin Aug 8th, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Having to miss Sturgis is not so bad when you do such a great job of reporting. I’m on island time but at times I wish I was there to see old friends and meet new ones.

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Cyril Huze