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78th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Aug 20 2018

The best thing about the Sturgis Rally can also be the worst thing: there’s SO much to do and see. Every year we make a “hit list” loaded with bike shows, bars, rides, concerts; you name it. Try as we might, checking off everything on that list is next to impossible.

This year’s 78th annual was no different. We saddled up and blasted to the Black Hills with our sights set on a solid lineup of can’t-miss happenings. While we didn’t hit everything we wanted to, we damn sure had a blast trying. From Rapid City to Sturgis to Deadwood and well beyond, there’s never a dull moment in the Black Hills come early August. So, in no particular order, here’s a quick recap of yet another memorable Sturgis Rally for the Kuryakyn Crew.

11th Annual Sturgis Buffalo Chip Legends Ride
We’ve sponsored the Legends Ride for the past four years, and we always look forward to the jaunt up to historic Deadwood for an afternoon of feel-good vibes. The Legends Ride and its participants have raised north of a half-million bucks to benefit charities such as the Black Hills Special Olympics and Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. And it’s called the “Legends Ride” for a reason, as each year the ride’s loaded with celebrity star power.

A back-and-forth bidding war for this wild custom from Paul Jr. Designs ended with its new owner coughing up a cool $105,000 at the Legends Ride.

This year The Chip brought in a trio of racing legends: NASCAR fan-favorite Rusty Wallace, NHRA king Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, and off-road racing icon Walker “The Legend” Evans. TV and movie celebs included Tom Berenger, and Count’s Kustoms stars Shannon Aikau, Ryan Evans, and Horny Mike, among others. Before the ride, the streets of Deadwood were shoulder-to-shoulder packed outside the Franklin Hotel & Casino where the big moneymaker in the annual auction was a Paul Tuetul Jr. custom that sold for a whopping $105,000.

Kuryakyn President Holger Mohr is congratulated by emcee Chris McGee after presenting the 2018 "Rebellion" Chieftain Dark Horse.

Sturgis Buffalo Chip President and owner Rod "Woody" Woodruff is all smiles aboard the 2018 "Rebellion" Chieftain Dark Horse.

For us, this year’s highlight was the public debut of the 2018 “Rock, Rumble & Rebellion” Indian Chieftain Dark Horse. Buffalo Chip owner and president Rod Woodruff piloted the Rebellion Chieftain on the 50-mile scoot back to the Buffalo Chip where attendees were treated to an evening of rock ‘n roll by Buffalo Chip “house band” Lynyrd Skynyrd.

AFT Flat Track Racing
It’s safe to say flat track racing is back — and perhaps bigger than ever. Nowhere is that more evident than at the Sturgis Rally. Go-fast fans were treated to two nights of American Flat Track racing with the Buffalo Chip TT kicking things off on Sunday night.

Kuryakyn sponsored rider Jared "Jammer" Mees on the gas at the Buffalo Chip TT.

Race fans packed the famed Buffalo Chip amphitheater to watch AFT’s top talent bang bars around a beast of a track designed by flat track legend Chris Carr. The Buffalo Chip TT is the only track on the circuit with multiple right-hand turns. Combine that with a jump on the main straightaway and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a night of thrilling action in a most extraordinary setting. In the Pro Twins Class, Indian privateer Jake Johnson took the checkered flag after passing Indian factory rider Jared Mees late in the race. Mees took the second spot and H-D factory rider Kenny Coolbeth rounded out the podium.

Jared Mees (#1) and Jeffrey Carver kept fans on the edge of their seats with a back-and-forth battle at the Black Hills Half-Mile.

Nancy and Willie G. Davidson enjoying a night of racing from the pits at the Black Hills Half-Mile.

On Tuesday the stands were packed at the Black Hills Half-Mile in Rapid City, where once again the Pro Twins Class didn’t disappoint. Mees got back to his winning ways in a nail-biting back-and-forth battle with fellow Indian Scout FTR750 rider Jeffrey Carver. The two exchanged 1-2 positions for much of the race, with Mees holding off a late charge by Carver to secure his 10th win in 13 AFT races this season. Indian Factory rider Bryan Smith took third to give Indian a 1-2-3 podium sweep.

Michael Lichter’s Motorcycles As Art: Passion Built – Garage to Gallery
The 10th anniversary of Michael Lichter’s Motorcycles As Art exhibit was, in a word, awesome. As usual. This year’s theme — Passion Built: Garage to Gallery — brought more than 40 works of iron art from the minds of some crazy talented non-professional builders who are in it strictly for the love of custom motorcycle culture. The Buffalo Chip put it best when stated that, “This groundbreaking exhibit proves non-pros have a more powerful voice than ever before, and confirms that it won’t ever be just a small handful of professionals who get to decide where the industry is headed.” We could have spent a full day checking out these masterful creations. Like the Legend’s Ride, we’re truly proud to be a sponsor of this amazing exhibit.

Needles Highway & Mount Rushmore
It’s not often that we get to just “ride” during Sturgis. So this year we got out a day early to (finally) cruise the renowned Needles Highway and take a break from the heat in the shadows of Mount Rushmore. Our advice: head up the hill early. During the rally this popular route that gets its name from the needle eye-sized tunnels gets heavily trafficked and can slow your roll pretty drastically. Not a problem if you just want to check out the amazing views and scrape some pegs, but if you’ve got somewhere to be plan accordingly.

Bike Shows
Sturgis, and in particular the Buffalo chip, is quite literally the bike show capital of the world. We didn’t make it to half as many as we would’ve like, but in the end we did get to check out some killer scoots at the few we were able to attend.

Kuryakyn is a proud supporter of the Sturgis FXR Show & Dyna Mixer, where every year the lineup gets bigger and better at the Buffalo Chip Crossroads. We’re also stoked to support our friends Dave and Jody Perewitz in the Perewitz Paint Show that always drops jaws and raises eyebrows at the Iron Horse Saloon. The Sportster Showdown hosted by Led Sled Customs, and of course the Baddest Bagger and Sexiest Bagger competitions also showcased plenty of wild builds at The Chip. Regardless what your cup of tea is, there’s guaranteed to be a bike show you’ll dig at Sturgis.

Taking Center Stage at The Chip
We finished the week off with a literal bang. After making the rounds throughout Sturgis, the Rock, Rumble & Rebellion Chieftain took center stage at the famed Buffalo Chip amphitheater. Together with emcee Chris McGee, Kuryakyn president Holger Mohr and Austrian custom paint and design artist Marcus Pfeil (who absolutely nailed the paint on our Rebellion Chieftain!) warmed up the crowd before legendary American badass Kid Rock brought the house down. We’d like to thank the Buffalo Chip team and the 50,000+ screaming fans for helping to create yet another memorable night for the Kuryakyn Crew.

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