- A. Skinner
Time for the Sturgis Bike Rally 2021
Is it bad that I already started sectioning my closet off into “Biker Babe” options before we pulled out of Cody toward the famous Sturgis bike rally???
Driving along highways 14 and 16 to jump on 90 into South Dakota provided more gorgeous landscapes and jaw-dropping views – especially around Ten Sleeps, Wyoming.
We pulled into Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort in Spearfish, South Dakota with a whole afternoon to start cleaning the bus and setting up camp for eight days of the Sturgis 2021 Rally. I elected to set up a nice bar inside and outside – I mean – it’s Sturgis and we had quite a gathering of fun friends joining in on this portion of the tour.
Jimmy Adams, president of Featherlite, is one of the BEST planners for bike rallies and he was already at camp ready to greet us with a cold beer and instructions to load up the green VW party bus for a meat carving dinner at his friends up in the Black Hills.
Our travel partners Tom & Laura arrived into the camp after their detour in Billings for some engine repair on their bus. The band was back together…and we were ready for brisket and beer. After an amazing meat carving of brisket, pork and ribs... complimented by Silver Oak cabernet! We jumped in the party bus for a lap around Deadwood, which ended up being a stop at Saloon #10 to belly up to the bar and blackjack tables.
Jimmy became the DJ in the VW bus for the drive back to camp, and I attempted to dance. We survived our first night at the Sturgis Rally….. 7 sleeps to go!
Day one of riding was Spearfish Canyon which is my favorite ride in the area. Amazing running water creek views, waterfalls and spectacular canyon walls to take in while riding curves on the back of my hubbies Indian custum Chieftan hotrod. Part of the fun is seeing everyone in their biker gear, so I had to take LOTS of pictures. Rain shortened our riding for the day…. So it was back to the resort to dry off and cook out later in the evening. I really enjoyed our late afternoons and evenings at Elkhorn Ridge. I felt like I was back in the NASCAR tracks driver owner lots with all our past racing friends pulling in and out, and stopping by to grab a beer or glass of wine and catch up on our lives.
Day 2 of riding would include a stop in Nemo and the trek into Sturgis to drive through town to see the bikes and bars in full swing. Driving down Main Street in Sturgis during bike week is a must see. All the stunning bikes on display and lots of interesting people watching!
For dinner, we drove up to Lead where some friends rented a house overlooking the black hills. Cigars and wine on the deck outside, followed by gigantic ribeye steaks - then back to Deadwood for final finals at Hickcocks where we met up with our friends OB and Angela Osceola. We thought we would get to bed early, but Skinner and some new friends from camp, Justin and Amanda came over to play guitar in the bus. HOURS later… and a couple batches of cookies baked, we went to bed. Survived another night. Barely.
Day 3: We took off a day of riding to chill at camp for a day, and tonight was the Kid Rock concert. We needed to be rested.
Tom and Laura are dear friends with the owner of the famous Buffalo Chip. Woody hooked us up for Kid Rock. We were escorted to the VIP bar backstage, and then up to our crows nest viewing area for the concert. It was the most amazing place to see both the stage and the thousands of anxious Kid Rock fans ready to rock out. After a year of no events, no concerts, people afraid to come out, it was just hair raising to see a crowd again.
Kid Rock was amazing and put on the perfect show for the biker crowd. A perfect evening.
The next morning was the Legends Ride. Tom and Mike were celebrity guests for the annual ride that starts in Deadwood and ends at the Buffalo Chip complex.
Meanwhile, Laura and I did a little shopping in the western boutiques of Deadwood - after a Bloody Mary or two - while the boys attended and spoke as guests at the Legends brunch.
The ride was well organized and quite fun, but we did veer off halfway into the route so we could make another pit stop downtown Sturgis to visit Tom’s dear friend and jewelry designer of Knight Rider, George Ganem. George is one of those very unique and perfect people. It was such a pleasure to meet him and just sip a beer and listen to his stories while he and the boys smoked a cigar at his members-only Stinger Saloon right along Main Street in Sturgis.
Our evenings dinner plans got changed a bit once we all realized the ribs that Jimmy had smoked all day got confiscated by his buddies who rented the house up in the Black Hills… We were all too tired to drive up into the hills to enjoy, so we ordered take out and called in our good buddy and Nashville recording artist Tim Duggar to provide a private show in the bus.
Sometimes these unplanned nights are the best…and we had quite the time together singing popular tunes, a little gospel and getting some sneak peak listens to Tim’s new upcoming album.
Another night survived at the Sturgis 2021 rally!
Mike and I took another day off of riding because I had planned to make a special dinner for our group, and more artist friends… Big Kenny and his wife Christiev. We also invited George from Knight Rider because he is just that cool!
It ended up being a great party at the Skinner bus lot…. Another unplanned gathering of some of our favorite folks who were also parked at Elkhorn came to say hi to Kenny and grab a glass wine. Music, wine, conversation, laughter, great food – another evening of perfection and “glamping” !!!
Our final day of riding was the Rusty Wallace Charity Ride. Jimmy came up with a really fun route through new country toward Rapid City Harley where the group would all meet up and congregate for lunch and the charity auction. The auction (which benefited the NASCAR Foundation) got real when someone agreed to pay $90,000 for the killer Southern Country Customs Harley that Rusty and his son Stephen built. Another generous gentleman in the crowd kicked in an extra ten thousand to make it an even $100,000 for the kids benefited by the NASCAR Foundation.
Once the ride kicked off…. We veered off with our smaller group of riders so we could make an attempt to take in Big Kenny’s Pool Party, also for charity, at Outlaw Square in Deadwood. Kenny had advised us that he would take the stage around 4pm and we were determined to make the show!
I don’t know how Jimmy did it, but we have exactly one hour to get to Outlaw Square and at 4pm sharp we were motoring right in front of the big stage. We got parked and as we walked into the square and ordered a cold beer – Big Kenny took to the stage! What a way to end our day of riding, and it was nice to see veterans recognized on stage and throughout the crowd.
Since we had one more night of Sturgis fun…. We all made a quick change and Jimmy arranged for a van to drive us all back to Deadwood to take in the end of the pool party and enjoy a nice dinner….. OK – another beer or three at Saloon #10. It was our last night you know!
This is the part of the blog where I say I LOVE DEADWOOD. Spearfish and Deadwood are my favorite places in South Dakota. The western vibe and history of the mystic town if Deadwood just has my heart. I love just strolling downtown walking in out and of the shops and bars and googling history of all the wild characters that use to grace the town. You know I had to look up Calamity Jane! Laura and I even brainstormed that Deadwood would be the perfect theme for the New Years Eve Bash – you can dress western or biker babe!
Spearfish is quaint and fun, not as busy as Sturgis….and that drive through Spearfish Canyon along 14 is remarkable. I would like to go in a car one day and enjoy the hikes to all the waterfalls.
I think the van ride home was just as entertaining as the band at Saloon #10. We all felt we sang Pour Some Sugar On Me better than Def Leppard – until I watched the video the next morning. Sigh.
But it was now time to depart the biker rally because our livers needed a rest and my head needed to see the pillow a little longer for the next week.