Sturgis 2012 – Recap

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

 

Getting Ready for Sturgis 2012

The Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally is the experience of a lifetime in a place where local people can still show you a thing or two about hospitality and visiting exhibitors can show you anything and everything you’d want or need to dress you up or dress up your bike. Or heck, just buy a new one while you are here! Harley-Davidson and Victory introduce their new models each year during the Rally and you can demo virtually every kind of bike on the market – custom, V-Twin or metric. It’s like being a kid again, in a candy store. Only better! Because in addition to the bikes there are concerts and races and bike shows.

Incredible roads like Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, the Wildlife Loop, Vanocker Canyon Road and Spearfish Canyon take you to amazing destinations – Mount Rushmore National MemorialCuster State ParkCrazy Horse MemorialBear Butte State Park, the Badlands and Devil’s Tower National Monument. Highway 14A’s big, wide turns transport you to the infamous town of Deadwood and the mining town of Lead, and the awe inspiring Highway 385 meanders past towns like Hill City, Silver City and Custer, all contained in the Black Hills National Forest. It’s breathtaking and it’s glorious and it will make you want to come back.

Go to the official Sturgis website for more info

Harley-Davidson’s Earnings Zooms Past Estimates

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28145073@N08/5849701613

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson(HOG) delivered a string of positive earnings surprises, causing the stock to become a Zacks#1 Rank (Strong Buy.)

The Wisconsin-based company, which has a cult-like following, produced an average earnings surprise of 8.61% over the trailing four quarters and has seen its stock price rise roughly 24% year-to-date. Given its estimated long-term earnings growth projection of nearly 12%, the stock is a worthwhile prospect for aggressive growth investors.

Harley-Davidson commands a lion’s share of the U.S. motorcycle market, banking on a strong brand that combines an intriguing blend of power, motif and style. Besides a strong earnings momentum, other areas of strength include consistent revenue growth, expanding margins and a healthy price performance.

The company saw a 44% surge in profits during the first quarter of 2012, reported on April 25, sending its shares up roughly 6% to close at $53.49. Earnings of 74 cents per share topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents.

Consolidated revenues (including financial services) cruised 17% year-over-year to $1.43 billion, riding on higher motorcycles and related products sales.

Additionally, Harley-Davidson beefed up its shipment guidance for 2012 and now expects to ship 245,000 to 250,000 motorcycles globally this year, compared with its prior guidance of 240,000 to 245,000. The optimism, in part, reflects strong U.S. demand.

The Zacks estimate for 2012 has moved up 3% over the last 60 days to $2.83 a share, representing an estimated annualized growth of roughly 21%. For 2013, the Zacks estimate rose by roughly 6% to $3.60 per share over the same period, reflecting an estimated growth of around 27%.

Harley-Davidson’s price performance has been reasonably strong with the chart below showing an upward trend with a few minor pullbacks. The earnings estimates have consistently guided the stock to rally higher, something which aggressive growth investors should find attractive.

When analyzing the stock through valuation ratios, Harley-Davidson trades at a premium to its peers by most metrics. It has a PEG ratio of 1.47, a 47% premium to the benchmark of 1 for a fairly priced stock. Moreover, the stock is currently trading at a forward P/E of 17.08x, a roughly 88% premium to the peer group average of 9.09x. The P/B ratio of 4.32x is also higher than the peer group average of 2.38x.

another article reproduced from forbes.com – see original article here

2012 ROT Rally – Austin, TX

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally (ROT Biker Rally) is the biggest motorcycle rally in Texas and one of largest motorcycle events in the U.S.  Enthusiasts come enjoy the amazing motorcycles, the Austin nightlife and of course the beautiful Texas women.

The four-day ROT Rally starts June 7th and runs through June 10th 2012.  The rally is always the second Thursday in June each year and is held at the Travis County Exposition Center in Northeast Austin Texas.  The rally is known for its high caliber music acts, after all, Austin Texas is self proclaimed “The Music Capital of the World.”  The ROT Rally is proud to be a part of Austin and bring top named entertainment to the event each year.  Past years headliners include names like Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, Bret Michaels, Joan Jett, Paul Rogers, Steppenwolf, David Allen Coe, Charlie Daniels to name a few.   The city of Austin cooperates by closing off 54 square blocks of the downtown area for a huge party on Congress Ave. Friday night, June 8th.   It is considered the largest biker party in a downtown area of a metropolitan city. The ROT Rally expects more than 50,000 participants in 2012, and will draw over 200,000 spectators to the downtown streets of Austin during the Friday Night of ROT.  The attractions out at the Travis County Expo Center include a ride in bike show, custom bike builders, The World Famous Wall of Death, Comedians, national named bands, The Paradise Bar, a tattoo expo, contests for the ladies, stunt riders, 350 vendors and distributors, the ROT Rally Friday night parade and more.  The Guinness Book of World Records certified the ROT Parade as the “Longest Parade of Motorcycles.”

The ROT Rally officially starts on Thursday, June 7th at 8:00 AM.  The first full day of activities culminates with an outdoor concert (TBA).  You’re going to like it!  Friday continues and adds the escorted parade leaving the rally site at 7:30pm Friday Night. For those who choose to stay at the rally site, there will be an evening concert at the amphitheatre. Saturday features all the above but adds a “Ride in Bike Show” with over 17 classes.  Saturday night’s live concert is sure to be a stunner, don‘t miss it… The ROT Rally is an all-weather event, and it will be held, rain or shine. Rally Ends Noon Sunday, June 10, 2012! Pre-registration opens January 2012

Click here for more information

About The Author

  • Tim Bleeker is a father, biker, libertarian philosopher, ruggedly handsome, ex Marine who considers himself on the forefront of the New American Revolution. When Tim isn't doing awesome things like motorcycling, studying Founding Father history, or experimenting with bacon - you will find him grooming his beard, coaching peewee sports or playing Angry Birds.