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.