When Sturgis 2015 rolled around, Lock Baker (owner of Eastern Fabrications) and I decided we would keep it low key this year and not set up a vendor booth. Rather, we shacked up in a house a block off of Main Street with our friend Dale Yamada from Mad Jap Kustoms and his wife Michelle, who made the trip down, along with Ryan HK who is a professional video and photography wiz from Calgary. Our plan was to ride every day and just have fun for a change, and that’s exactly what we did! Over the course of the week we did a hell of a lot of riding, Dale and Michelle 2 up on his gorgeous panhead “Low Rider” he had just finished, myself on my trusty Eastern Fabrications (Efab) "Steel Butterfly" cone pan, and Lock on his insane "Mini-Stroker/Iron Triangle" custom hotrod.
If you have never been to the black hills of South Dakota, you owe it to yourself to make the trip. Miles of green, rolling hills dotted with lakes and cools spots to stop and eat, it’s an amazing change from the otherwise flat grassy terrain that makes up most of the Midwest. This year Sturgis was the biggest I have ever seen it, with something like 1.2 million people attending! The roads were definitely more congested then in past years, but it made for great people watching despite having to navigate our way through some bagger traffic jams.
Downtown was a total shit-show, as thousands of bikes all fight for space in front of the various bars and restaurants. Every square inch of downtown was literally consumed by bikes of all shapes and sizes. Our official report is that about 75% of the visitors are on baggers, maybe 10% on trikes/can-ams/baggers with training wheels, and 5% on everything else (choppers, crotch rockets, vintage bikes). We could count the handmade bikes actually being ridden on one hand, but that was fine with us.
We joined up with Jordan and Jesse from Union Speed and Style, who were riding their impressive handmade panhead choppers, and did some long rides through Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon, and down the black hills to Rapid City. The weather was perfect and all of the bikes ran flawless all week. Besides getting pulled over on our way home from the flat track races one night for a random shakedown, we had an amazing time. Not being restrained by an over priced booth gave us the opportunity to simply enjoy each others company and the incredible riding this place has to offer. It’s a shame it happens only once a year, but our calendars are marked for the next one!
*When John Sender is not cruising around Sturgis he operates Hollywood Motorcycle Tours where he leads two-wheeled tours of the sites and stars in and around Los Angeles. *