This year’s rally was… different for me.

A significant difference was that we trailered the bikes this year.  For most of us, the Sturgis experience starts the moment we throw our leg over the saddle in the driveway, and ends when we arrive back home. One of my brothers has over 130k miles on his bike and lives with random and mysterious glitches, so we thought we would play it safe and borrowed a trailer from a friend.  Now, I won’t sadden you with the ugly details of the 1400 mile voyage up there, but let’s just say that the gremlins moved from his bike to my truck. I swear, at one point when we were broken down, looking in the rearview mirror, I could see an evil smirk on my Road Glide’s fairing.  Lesson learned.

Now, our typical routine is to get up there a week before the main rally and crowds so we can enjoy the fine roads the Black Hills have to offer.  This is personally my favorite part of the trip. We don’t have roads like this around home.  Then, during the main rally week, we like to get out and hit the hot spots for brotherhood, beer, and bourbon.

For me, being part of a MC is my way of showing my passion for riding and my commitment to those men I call my brothers. But being a member of SOLMC means taking one more step – and spreading the message of liberty. And the best conversation starter I have, is my patch. Bikers and civilians alike, make it a habit to approach us and discuss our patch.

I was very disappointed to see all the “no colors” signs posted all over Sturgis and Deadwood. I never took the time to see if this was some city ordinance or just an agreed upon policy for the bars. My routine was to go into an establishment and wait to be asked to remove my colors (I would just turn my vest inside out if I decided to stay.) If I was stopped before entering the door, then I most likely would not enter.  There was no point in arguing with security staff, they are just there to enforce the rules. As a libertarian, I support an establishment’s right to set a dress code or other rules as they see fit – and I have the right to not patronize those establishments.  Unfortunately, that means that I was free to socialize nowhere inside those towns.

The good news is that outside of those towns, the establishments were still open for business.  My personal favorite this year? The Stone House Saloon; Especially when Peewee Moore & The Awful Dreadful Snakes from Austin, TX were playing their sets.

One last observation I have is that attendance appeared to be down. That first week, the roads were all but empty.  Traffic congestion in Sturgis was mainly due to cars.  Vendor participation was down. Most noticeably was the absence of H-D not unveiling the 2013 lineup.  I’m left wondering if the low attendance is due to the state of the economy? The high prices of attending the rally? or a combination of both?  Perhaps it has something to do with the pussification of the American biker? and the new image of the MoCo… You meet the nicest people on a Harley….

Where have the bikers that knew how to ride, knew how to handle their liquor, respected the rights and freedoms of others gone?  Right here baby!  I’m thinking for my next Sturgis trip, I’m going to setup a vendor tent where I can proudly display my patch and bond with like minded individuals who want their freedom back.  Probably while smoking a cigar, drinking whiskey, and eating red meat…  The way the Sturgis Rally should be!

Check out a short video of the highlights

Tim Bleeker
SOLMC – Founding Father