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Sturgis Rally 2016 -- 76th

Sturgis Rally 2016 — 76th Year

Life is about choices. What to wear, what to eat, where to ride… And if you pondered each one in advance, trying to get it exactly right, you’d be left far behind and barely make it out of your house.

There’s something unique about touring by motorcycle whether it be spontaneous or calculated.  Some riders want a state-by-state listing of the best motorcycle roads with in-depth descriptions of each highway and ratings for the road’s scenery, surface quality, and a description of the best greasy food stops.  They obtain motorcycle maps, get motorcycle trip tips, reviews, suggestions, and more.  Others are just fine to point the front wheel in a direction with back roads, freeways and cornfields without ever looking at a map.

I’m having some personal restlessness and feeling a bit starved for rides this year. I was aiming for Laughlin, Sharkweek/Sturgis and Reno, but circumstances eliminated the first two.  I don’t need to worry about Reno, yet. Although, when I last looked, I see all the local hotels have already raised their rates for those dates.  Then I remind myself that the best rides I take are never the trips to any of the big rallies anyway.

And speaking of the heightened motorcycle adventure called Sturgis (August 6-13th) — prep is in full swing for the 76th Rally celebration which starts in a couple weeks.

Last year Harley-Davidson announced that the motor company is now the “official motorcycle” of the annual Black Hills Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota (through the year 2090!). And until November 2015, nobody had ever successfully trademarked the name of a city, but Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. is the official sponsor of the Sturgis Rally and it has trademarked “Sturgis,” “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally,” “Sturgis Rally & Races,” “Take The Ride To Sturgis” and “Sturgis Bike Week.” The corporation has also trademarked the official Sturgis rally logotype or picture mark. The oldest of these trademarks dates to 1997 and the most recent was registered in 2011, just before their suit was filed.  The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc., won that trademark infringement case against Walmart.

But, I’ve moved off topic where every American should try at least once the Legendary Steak Tip Dinner at the Loud American Roadhouse (no colors policy strictly enforced).

Harley-Davidson dropped a press release to outline all their plans at the 76th Sturgis Rally (HERE).  A quick re-cap is:
  • The Harley-Davidson Rally Point is a their permanent year-round space in Sturgis that will feature events and live music daily from the stage.
  • Kick-off Party for the 76th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Friday, Aug. 5, at 3 p.m.
  • Rides:
    • Mayor’s Ride featuring Grand Marshal Ben Bostrom, Monday, Aug. 8.
    • Harley-Davidson Editor’s Choice Bike Show, Tuesday, Aug. 9- Registration 8 a.m./Awards 4 p.m.
    • First Ever Angel’s Ride, Friday, Aug. 12 – The number of women riders is on the rise.
    • Free Motorcycle Demo Rides on the 2016 line-up.  Staging for demo rides takes place in the parking lot behind the Community Center
  • The Project RUSHMORE Experience is a behind-the-scenes and hands-on look at H-D’s latest touring motorcycle technology
  • H-D Fit Shop and Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories area is new this year will have a “Quick Install” area for 30-minute or less installations of selected accessories for your motorcycle.
  • Better than a selfie stick!  Pro Bike photos taken of you/your bike to post on social media and an option to purchase the photo as a keepsake.
  • Hollywood Harley Bikes from the movies Captain America and Avengers will be on display including Steve Rogers and the hero bike from FX’s Sons of Anarchy TV show will be located on a red carpet area

In addition, there are many, many other “not-to-be-missed” activities around town, in the camp grounds and at various music venues.

Whether you are spontaneously twisting throttles to South Dakota or making a road trip that is highly calculated — Enjoy!

@HarleyDavidson social media is providing wall-to-wall coverage at #LiveYourLegend.  The official H-D Sturgis App, is at:  www.h-d.com/sturgis.

Photo courtesy of H-D.
All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog
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HD-CrowdMany riders are on the road and in route to the Sturgis Rally.

If you rushed out of the garage before finalizing a list of things to do while in S.D., below is a list of activities Harley-Davidson will be rolling out for rally attendees.

The 2015 models will not be launched at Sturgis.  Last year the motor company started a new trend of  introducing the new model line up during the 3rd week of August after all the press/media noise subsides post-Sturgis and they can garner more mind share.

3rd & Lazelle Street, Downtown Sturgis, SD
Saturday through Saturday, August 2-9, 9am – 5pm

  • Stunt Show – 3 times daily (10am, 1pm, & 4pm) Produced by Ill Conduct Team
  • H.O.G. Rally Point – Join Tina, Thor and other H-D staff in the H.O.G. area. Pick up your FREE event Pin, join the club or renew your membership.  Plus, August 2-8 all H.O.G.® members + one guest are welcome to join us in the H.O.G area  from 3:00pm – 5:00pm for live entertainment, complimentary samples of our new H-D Road House Meats and beer samples.
  • Willie G. ® and H.O.G.® Commemorative Merchandise – You can’t buy it at home! Stop by to purchase exclusive Sturgis 2014 clothing.
  • Genuine Harley-Davidson® Parts & Accessories Display – the latest Harley® models equipped with the full line of custom Parts & Accessories. Check out our 12 fully accessorized bikes!
  • 2014 H-D® Motorcyle LineupCheck out the 2014 bikes, including NEW customized Street motorcycles, RUSHMORE bikes, the Low Rider® and the SuperLow®1200T.
  • Women’s Area – Rebel One hosts the JUMPSTART® Rider Experience and Bike Lift Seminars on how to properly lift a dropped motorcycle. Enter the sweepstakes to win a FREE Riding Academy course or Rental.
  • Weber® Mobile Grill Academy – Get a first-hand look at Weber grills and accessories; Weber Experts will be there to answer any questions you may have about grills, grilling techniques, recipes, and all things grilling!  Join the Weber Family by signing up for Weber Nation and you will be entered to win a Weber Genesis gas grill.
  • Craftsman® Garage Station – Come for a free oil fill-up and tire pressure check! Stay and watch our artists sculpt, paint, and engrave. Take home a cool new design on your bike helmet or a personalized engraving on a free Craftsman cap wrench.
  • Free Bike Wash – Wash away all the Black Hills dust and dirt at the free bike wash from 9am – 4pm. Just bring a dirty bike and a little elbow grease.
  • MDA will sell event pins and host a bike raffle. Enter to win a black 2014 Street Glide!
  • Visa will offer Visa Card membership application and free giveaways to all applicants!

Black Hills Harley-Davidson
2820 Harley Dr.
I-90 Exit 55, Rapid City, SD
Saturday through Saturday, August 2-9, 9am – 5pm

  • Harley-Davidson ® Motorcycle Test Rides – Take a FREE test ride on a 2014 Harley-Davidson® motorcycle, including our new RUSHMORE bikes, LowRider® and SuperLow® 1200T. Come early and ride as many bikes as you want. All riders must have a valid motorcycle license and adhere to riding gear requirements and safety rules.  Demo registration will close at 4:00pm daily.
  • 2014 H-D® Motorcycle Lineup – Check out the 2014 bikes
  • Harley-Davidson® Motorclothes® – Try on our new jackets – even take them for a test ride! All items will be available for immediate purchase.
  • H-D1 Fit Shop – Come experience the feel of a more comfortable, safer ride. Stop by the H-D1 Fit Shop and find your perfect seat and handlebar combination.

Featured Activities:

  • Sunday, August 3 – “Weber® Big Burger Battle Cook-Off” competition. Come to the Weber® display at 3rd and Lazelle St. to watch pre-selected finalists compete in a cook-off!
  • Tuesday, August 5 – The 6th Annual Women’s Biker Belles Ride and celebration sponsored by Harley-Davidson®. Visit www.bikerbelles.com to register and for more information.
  • Wednesday, August 6 – “Weber® How to Grill a Perfect Burger” hands-on grilling class exclusively for H.O.G members led by Weber® Grill Expert, Kelsey Heidikamp.  Classes offered at the Weber® display at 3rd and Lazelle St. at 11:45am, 1:30pm, and 3:15pm. To participate, please send your name, cell phone number, H.O.G. number and preferred class time to HandsOnGrilling@harley-davidson.com. Space is limited so sign up soon! Sign up ends Friday, August 1.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Willie G. Celeb Chair

Willie G. Celeb Chair

It’s that time of year where charities try to rise above the steady drum beat of donation noise. 

It got me thinking about Harley-Davidson and MDA’s challenge to garner more rider attention and the ever important donations.  Then wham, this idea came to me…!

For the first time ever, what if you could spend a day or weekend with Willie G. and his friends in some unique place? Let’s call it the Willie G. Experience and it’s your exclusive opportunity to have a personal experience with your friends and the world’s most famous motorcycle figure to benefit MDA as you live it.  Willie G. is a veritable legend, with more cred than most music stars.  He doesn’t need the money, which is why he’s diligent in donating it to charity.

Below I’ve developed some package/donation choices for Willie G. to consider:

Willie G.

Willie G.

Phone Call Package – $2000.00 Donation to MDA:   One signed complete Sportster fuel tank and a phone call from Willie G.  Ask him anything. Tell him a story. Or just chit chat about your day… it’s up to you. Willie G. can also change your outgoing message on your voicemail.  Limit of 10 packages.

Lunch and Demo Package – $10,000.00 Donation to MDA:  You and 3 other people are invited to lunch and a demo ride session at H-D world headquarters, complete with a tour of the facilities. This will take place on a mutually agreeable date. This package also includes two complete Sportster fuel tanks. Your group will join up to 12 other individuals for this experience.  Each member of the group will receive a hand drawn motorcycle on a scrap piece of paper from the marketing design center where Willie G. works.

Happiest VIP On Earth Package – $25,000.00 Donation to MDA:  You and Willie G. spend the day at Disneyland with a VIP escort, meaning that you breeze to the front of every line. You will not believe how many rides you can hit in one day, and won’t have to wait for a table wherever you choose to eat. You can even have a “themed” H-D party if you want to do it up big. And you can try to beat Willie G. at Toy Story Mania. If you don’t succeed, we’ll just get right back on it. We’ll finish the day with dinner at Disney’s Club 33. This package also includes a signed complete Tri-Glide model fuel tank.

LA Harley Xperience Package  – $35,000.00 Donation to MDA:   I’ll pick you up at LAX on my 150hp Tri-Glide and we will visit cliché tourist spots (Hollywood sign, Sunset Blvd, Venice Beach, etc.) on our way to the motorcycle drag races. You will then have VIP passes to see any and all drag events or just sit in the press booth with me and a Peter Fonda look-a-like while I commentate the competition. Dinner is included at Sushi Nozawa, Matsuhisa or try some blowfish at The Hump… or we can get the true LA Paparazzi experience at Koi. This package also includes two replica signed “Captain America” fuel tanks.

VegasVegas, Baby, Vegas Package – $45,000.00 Donation to MDA:  We’ll fly from Milwaukee, WI — via private jet (yes, a private jet) to Vegas two nights before the MDA charity ride. Dinner at Simon (prepared by Kerry Simon himself), ride the NYNY rollercoaster (not necessarily in that order), play blackjack at a private table or we can hit Gameworks and play every arcade game known to man. Suite at Wynn included for three nights, then VIP passes to a mystery dinner event on Saturday.  Then we’ll return by private jet to Milwaukee on Sunday. This package also includes a H-D leather vest with H.O.G. logo and one signed complete Sportster model fuel tank.

Willie G. Bike

Willie G. Bike

Milwaukee Family Day Package – $75,000.00 Donation to MDA:  You’ll come to my house and I will make cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then swimming in the backyard with me, Nancy and the grand-kids. From there we will hit Miller Brewing and my boys can show you all the coolest stuff in the “park.” Lunch at nearby Famous Dave’s, then come back to my place and play Xbox 360 games or guitar, then dinner at Maders. Taking the dogs out for a walk throughout the day is optional. We can also take the ’64 Panhead out for a cruise if I can get it started. This package also includes 3 signed complete Sportster model fuel tanks.

To make it easy people could pay for the Willie G. experience via a cashier’s check, wire transfer, credit card or PayPal.  And, your payment (after expenses) will constitute a donation to MDA and you’ll receive a letter acknowledging the portion of your payment that constitutes a contribution. 

Crazy idea?  Sure.  But what if there is a motorcycle enthusiast who loves ALL access to celeb’s and will think this is the ultimate fantasy?  Schmoozing with the famous…. like one night with your favorite rock star!  What’s that worth?  And with a donation tie in to the MDA charity, priceless?!  

Photos courtesy of H-D and ACM Awards.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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MDAMark your calendar.  The fourth annual MDA Hope Ride will be held Saturday, August 1st for the Portland, Or area.

The event will start at the I-5 Baldock Southbound rest area (mile post 282) which is just past the Carbonneau/Canby exit and will end at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City.

The event is sponsored by MDAColumbia Harley-DavidsonParadise Harley-Davidson, Latus Motors Harley-Davidson and Salem Harley-Davidson. The event is also supported by PDXTV and the Harley Owner Groups (H.O.G). Once riders arrive at Chinook Winds there will be a BBQ, awards and prize drawings.

This MDA event helps fight against neuromuscular disease. A great charitable cause!

Photo courtesy of MDA.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Jean Davidson

Jean Davidson

In today’s school environment where you’ll find a swim coach who sees children as “eye candy”… accused then acquitted of committing sexual abuse (.pdf) there comes along the real deal Jean Davidson

She is the granddaughter of Walter Davidson, one of the four founders and the first president of Harley-Davidson.  Her father, Gordon Davidson, was Vice President of Manufacturing.  Jean elected not to work at the family company, but instead dedicate her life to teaching children.  She has developed educational curriculum for all levels of teaching at both the state and local levels.

Tragedy hit the Davidson’s when Jean’s 4 year old grandson, Ryder, died in an accident that could have been prevented.  If only the child standing nearby Ryder would have known how to react or what to do.  Because of this and learning of many similar family losses, Jean developed a program called Yell and Tell.”  The program teaches young children who observe a dangerous situation how to react in a proactive way.

Yell_n_TellBesides the educational curriculums that Jean has developed, she has written four books about the personal stories of her growing up and the family stories of the HD Motor Company.  She travels extensively being a speaker at colleges, Harley-Davidson events, and educational forums.  She is a staunch supporter of charity events related to autism and can often be found riding a motorcycle to help raise money for the cause.  Recently she appeared at an event hosted by the Eureka Springs Motorcycle Club.  Jean is the mother of five children and has seven grandchildren. She has spent a number of years gathering personal family stories and old photographs to bring motorcycle enthusiasts a rare look into one of the more famous families in motorcycling history. Her books can be order HERE (.pdf).

If you want to bring the Yell and Tell program to your community more information is available on the web site.

Photo courtesy Yell and Tell and Chip Ford.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Luke Christe

Luke Christe

I wanted to give a shout-out to the top northwest Harley dealers (and individuals) who helped raise significant funds for MDA

MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat muscular dystrophy and related diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive patient and community services and public health education.  Harley-Davidson is a national sponsor and the top northwest dealers are:

$25,000 or more

Skagit Harley-Davidson Burlington, WA

$50,000 or more

Latus Motors Harley-Davidson Gladstone, OR

Downtown Harley-Davidson Tukwila, WA

Shumate Harley-Davidson Spokane, WA

At the 105th Anniversary Celebration there were a number of activities which raised awareness and funds to support this cause.  The pledges really added up and with 77.4 percent of every dollar MDA spends going directly to research, services and education, the rest to fund raising and administration it’s putting the $$ to good work.  If you missed out and wanted to donate you can do so HERE.

Photo courtesy HD and Peter Reitzfeld

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Miller Park

Miller Park

The Club H.O.G. 25th celebration started Thursday, August 28th at Miller Park Stadium (home of the Milwaukee Brewers).  Free for H.O.G. members the day-long celebration was prior to the start of the 105th Anniversary event.

We departed about 9:30am to get a jump on the day and drove the twenty minutes which came to an abrupt stop on the Interstate near the stadium exit.  Surprise, there’s a huge traffic jam! 

H.O.G. Director

H.O.G. Director

Not knowing exactly what or where we were headed…the delay due to poor traffic control wasn’t obvious until after we got parked in the stadium lot.  Once parked, we waited in a long line that took approx 35 minutes to get into the refreshments and concert area.  Within an hour it became obvious that it was going to be a “sardine packed” day and the heat/humidity was increasing.  The State Police lined I-94 and started controlling access to the exit having people go around the stadium and come in from an alternative direction.  I’ve never seen so many motorcycles let alone so many Harley’s.  Incredible!

DB Bryant Band

DB Bryant Band

While we were in line we made some new friends and shared stories of the open road.   The camaraderie of standing in line meant we all got to chat with H.O.G. members from around the world.   Many seemed surprised we rode out from the Northwest rather than trailer.

Capitol HD Plant

Capitol HD Plant

As the day progressed all you could hear was the low drone of exhaust and see a constant stream of motorcycles snaking their way into Miller Park. Wow, the place was packed! I’d be remiss not saying there was excitement building. Space presented some challenges, but people were laughing, hugging, joking, and having an overall good time. We let the DB Bryant Band rock us for a while with their cool sounds.

Milwaukee HD

Milwaukee HD

Our group wanted to experience some more of the culture that Milwaukee had to offer, so we left for awhile to enjoy some authentic Harley dealer activity in one of the historic neighborhoods and we dropped in on Hal’s (New Berlin).  We did a drive by of manufacturing plant on Capitol Drive (Wauwatosa) where the powertrain operations are located.

I was told that H.O.G. distributed 250,000 pins and ran out in under four hours.  Wow!

H.O.G. Wall of Ink

H.O.G. Wall of Ink

We headed back to the stadium as it was getting time for Kid Rock.  First off we had to sit through introductions of Jim Ziemer (CEO), H.O.G. executives, MDA spoke person (Luke Christie) and Willie G along with his family.  I’m not sure where they all were prior to the speech, but 3 of the 5 people from Harley-Davidson who spoke were nearly DRUNK…their words slurred and barely understandable.  Willie G went off on some motorcycle story about Harley HYPHEN Davidson…reminding everyone that he had the last name in the motor company’s name….odd, very odd rant.  His son (Michael) did a nice job of interrupting the word slur rant of Willie G. and tried to make some sense of the family business and his passion for making the best motorcycles in the world.

Kid Rock

Kid Rock

Back to Kid Rock and man did he rock the crowd.  People lined the entrances excited to see this dude perform. The songs from his new CD (not on iTunes!) are dam good.  “All Summer Long” is terrific, but the live version of “Half Your Age” is one of my favorites.  The crowd was the biggest sea of people I’ve ever experienced at a concert standing at stage level.  The folks at H.O.G. thought ahead to have the jumbo-tron viewing screens under the beer garden tent and in the food vendor areas. It definitely allowed more people to enjoy the headline act.  Word is that Kid Rock is getting set to roll out his own beer and cigar brand.

All told, I thought it was one great day packed with a whole lot of fun and it was a really cool place to be. Great job H.O.G.!

Interested to know more about our “Ride Home”?  Read the road blogs for: Day 1 HERE, Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE and Day 5 HERE.

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