Million Dollar Custom Bikes? I Ain’t Buying It

it's worth a millionAs editor of this esteemed fish wrapper, it’s my job to stay abreast on the trends in the motorcycle industry, and, believe me, staying abreast is a full time job with me, and one I thoroughly enjoy.

The only thing I like better is a well placed double entendre.

But, enough about me.

I wanna discuss the time I wasted…er.. spent recently watching Sturgis Motorcycle Mania on the Travel Channel.

To be fair, the production value of the episodes was and is outstanding. Produced by Big Fish Entertainment (Bethesda Maryland) the camera work and post production editing are as good as any I’ve ever seen, and frankly much better than anything I’ve been involved with.

But I guess what’s eating my cheese is the ridiculous hyperbole the producers insert into the story line as artificial drama in whatever event they’re taping.

A case in point was their coverage of one of the bike shows. To hype the importance of this show, and create artificial tension between the participants, the narrator says that the value of the winning bike could reach as much as “1 MILLION DOLLARS!”

It was at this point when I paused the DVR, went into my garage and retrieved my bullshit flag. It was obvious I was going to need it a lot during the next 45 minutes.

Admittedly I’m not the foremost authority on custom motorcycles, but even with my head stuck up my proverbial arse most of the time, I think I would’ve heard about builders spending less than $30k in parts and fabrication building show bikes, turning around and earning a cool million when they win this bike show.

With stakes that high the builders would be hiring 24 hour security guards and installing wireless cameras to watch their bikes when they sleep.

This wasn’t the only “contest” on the show that was hyped way beyond the realm of believability.

I suppose the target audience of these type shows isn’t middle aged motorcycle magazine editors.

I suspect these shows are aimed more toward the non-motorcycle riding viewer. Or at least the viewer who has heard the legend of Sturgis and fantasizes that one day he or she will have the funds to participate in what has become known as the “Greatest Motorcycle Show on Earth!”

My apologies to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus people for that blatant tag line rip-off.

But, truth be told the “Sturgis Experience” for lack of a better term is, for those who have yet to attend, the pinnacle of the motorcycle life.

The phrase “This year, I’m going to Sturgis” is to bikers what the phrase “This year, I’m going to Vegas” is to hard core gamblers.

Those motorcycle riders who live as much for the lifestyle as the ride, see Sturgis as the one “must do” destinations before they die.

It’s a desire I completely understand.

There are very few opportunities for working stiffs such as you and I to participate in “epic adventures.”

That’s part of the mystique of the Black Hills Rally. Even if you’re not interested in the gratuitous nudity, the easy to find debauchery, or the simply weird beyond biker weird, travelling to Sturgis promises so much more.

Endless miles of breathtaking scenery. Endless miles of prairies, bisected with mountains wrapped with ribbons of blacktop that are as close to motorcycle riding heaven as you’re likely to see this side of dirt.

Add to it the distance involved just to get there and you have the perfect recipe for a bucket list adventure worthy of wintertime daydreams, without all the made up drama.

Now that I think about it, the biggest prize in Sturgis isn’t winning some bike show, or burnout contest, and there’s not drama involved. The most valuable prize is the experience.

And, as we all know, it’s the things we do, not the things we have, that nourish our soul the most, no drama needed.

Until next time, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled

Lucky Facebook Fan Will Receive Lifetime Subscription

April 26,2011 – (Swainsboro Ga) Sometime in the next twenty four hours, one lucky motorcycle enthusiast will visit the USRiderNews Facebook Fan Page and click “like” and instantly win a lifetime subscription to USRiderNews.   Sylvia Cochran, President of Thunderwind Publishing said  the magazine remains committed to print but has embraced social media.  “We’re excited to reach this milestone” said Cochran.  “Social media is another way to engage our readers and USRiderNews has the largest Facebook fan page of any motorcycle specific magazine.”  Cochran added, “Connecting motorcycle owners and riders with our advertisers is part of our mission.  The other is to educate and entertain our readers and fans.”

About USRiderNews:  Founded in 2000 as Dixie Rider National Motorcycle News by Scott & Sylvia Cochran. Dixie Rider quickly grew into the most widely read advertising-based, free publication in the southern United States. In 2004, a unique state insert program was launched to bring local news and ride reports which are unavailable in other national motorcycle publications. In 2005, responding to readers and advertisers request, the name was changed to USRiderNews and distributed nationally. In 2010, a Facebook Fan page was established and quickly grew into the largest online presence for any motorcycle magazine.  The print edition of USRiderNews is published monthly by Thunder Wind Publishing and is available free in motorcycle dealerships and at events, rallies and online in flipbook format.


Little Sturgis Kentucky Rally Out of Gas

(editor’s note*  There is a new rally at the Union County Fairgrounds on the same weekend as Little Sturgis.  For more info, visit www.kentuckybikefest.com)

The economy has done what the lawyers could not.

It’s put the brakes on the Little Sturgis Rally and Races.

Featured on national television shows and in every major motorcycle magazine in the USA, Little Sturgis was, at one time the largest outdoor display of flesh and motorcycle eye candy in the Southeastern USA.

It was so popular, the Chamber of Commerce of South Dakota sued the Chamber of  Sturgis Kentucky claiming the small town was stealing it’s name.

Citing a drop in attendance and a huge operating loss in 2010, the Sturgis Kentucky Chamber voted today not to hold the 2011 rally, according to a well placed source.

The Chamber issued a press release that stated; “Due to various circumstances, the Board of Directors of the Little Sturgis Rally and Races for Charity, Inc cancelled its annual fundraising motorcycle event that was to be held July 14th-17th, 2011 in Sturgis KY.  The Board of Directors thanks all the volunteers and participants over the past eighteen years that made it possible to raise over $2 million dollars for various charities and educational entities.”

(added 5:30pm) According to a report in the local paper, Board Secretary Lisa Jones said that the economy and the ongoing lawsuit with Sturgis South Dakota over the use of the name “Sturgis” is the reason the rally is taking a “sabbatical” and that it may return in the future.  Both sides in the lawsuit have filed a motion to have the 2008 suit dismissed but that the suit is a “cloud” hanging over the Sturgis Kentucky chamber.