...and another annual festival of thunder is under way. Every year at this time, an endless convoy of RV's hauling trailers laden with Harley motorcycles winds its way to campgrounds twenty to thirty miles outside of Sturgis where the owners unload their bikes and roar into town with a cacophony of V-Twin engines. A sleepy town of six thousand will swell to over a half million souls, all of whom are there to celebrate the camaraderie of the road. They will meet at their favorite pub and share "road stories" like when their RV's toilet clogged outside of Omaha or when they almost got into a bar brawl with their broker because they didn't recognize each other with beards.
Moreover, like any large group of people that are far away from home and very close to a supply of alcohol, their behavior will be more outrageous as the party continues. The heat, the beer, and the party atmosphere is almost assuredly going to lead to someone removing their clothing. Now, I know what you're thinking; you're envisioning something out of one of those "crazy college co-eds on vacation" videos or some such thing. You know the one I'm talking about, wherein some lean, lithe, young co-ed exposes her supple flesh to the cheering throngs of oily muscles, all in celebration of their temporary freedom during Spring Break. The succession of flesh is given awards for categories like "Best Tan Lines", "Biggest" and "Most Perfectly Proportioned".
Regrettably, due to the decline of the economy, the devaluation of the dollar, and the constant government bungling of the economic recovery, many, if not most of this year's participants are, well, old. Seriously, I've seen them and most of them are Baby Boomers. Not only that, an alarming number of them forgot their shoes and, as such, have frequented the store where I'm employed. They discovered that boots that are well-suited for motorcycle riding are not necessarily the best for walking and hanging out at the campsite when one has bunions and hammer toes. Therefore, they come into our store desperate for relief from the pain caused by their officially logo'ed, Chinese made, motorcycle boots. Judging from the numerous women that I have observed coming in from the road, should they decide to expose themselves to the clamoring hordes, they would have to be entered into categories like "Longest", "Closest to the Ground", and "Most Veins". The saddest specimen that I saw had obviously had breast augmentation sometime in the eighties, which I'm sure increased the volume of singles stuffed into her G-string during that era. The unintended consequence of the aforementioned augmentation was that her breasts remained suspended in time, forever twenty-five years old, while sun, wind, and entropy had its normal effect upon the rest of her. The end result resembled nothing so much as a pair of cantaloupes resting on an unmade bed.
And the men are no better. With their stretch mark-adorned guts and hairy moobs protruding between the flaps of their leather vests, they look more like refugees from a Neanderthal maternity ward than veteran road warriors. Most pathetic are those that strut around while wearing the colors of "The Sons of Anarchy", a fictional motorcycle club portrayed in a TV show of the same name. Hey, I'm a fan of Batman movies but I'm not going to squeeze my oversize buns into a spandex Batman outfit and strut around like a superhero.
However, they all seem pleasant enough, and they all want to spend money. A LOT of money. As in, the entire country of Pakistan could shut down and make a pilgrimage to Mecca on the money that changes hands here during The Rally. Between the beer concessions, the t-shirts, tattoos, and all of the schlock that people here sell in those seven days, nearly a billion dollars changes hands.
All kidding aside, The Rally is truly a phenomenon. What started as an informal meeting of a few bikers each year, has evolved into an incredible, world-renowned party that attracts people from literally every continent on the planet.
Positively the best spot to be during the event is The Buffalo Chip. Both concert venue and campground, if there is one place that has it all, it's The Chip. Stars like ZZ Top, Kid Rock, Dave Mason, and too many others to name have appeared there. It is by far the premier spot in Western South Dakota during The Rally.
What those that attend these events don't realize is that all of the things that people enjoy at The Buffalo Chip; the concerts, the food, the camping, and the other activities, are made possible by the tireless efforts of one incredibly talented young woman by the name of Stephanie. Stephanie starts organizing for the rally about thirty minutes after the previous rally. Her tireless effort at bringing quality entertainment into the venue while providing a fun, festive, safe environment for the public to enjoy can only be described as superhuman. Her upbeat yet down-to-earth personality can distract you from the fact that her ability to plan, organize, and execute the entire week's scheduled events while juggling a million other things rivals General Petraeus. Hell, if Stephanie had been put in charge of Operation Iraqi Freedom, ZZ Top would have been headlining at Saddam Hussein's palace within a week of the invasion. Are you listening Washington?