By Jonah Kondro
In the space of three days, during the time I was present at the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, I never had a conscious moment without hearing the sound of a motorcycle. There was talk, between the riders Sid and I had met along the way, about an estimated one million bikes attending the rally. It was assumed that it was an infrastructure impossibility for that many bikes to be within a radius of a few miles of Sturgis all at once — regardless of the actual bike count, the event was oversaturated with motorcycles and motorcyclists.
I enjoy the sound of a V-Twin engine; however, the noise pollution was a little much to contend with when I was trying to sleep off a hangover, brush my teeth, find a decent outhouse, or have a clear thought. It wasn’t like camping out at Open Creek for a few days. There was no peace from the sound of a motorcycle engine even during a day ride out into the black hills.
The Full Throttle Saloon could be described as if all the Mad Max movies came to life as a living breathing establishment that served beer to bikers — it was berserk. The motorcycle citadel held multiple live music stages, motorcycle apparel shops, tattoo booths, food outlets, burnout pits, zip lines, old bridges, welded iron art, mud, motorcycles, and booze. There was nothing tame about what our group of riders stumbled into.
I seemed to befriend a nice young lady, with tattoos what would put my own to shame, which has happy to sell me a shot of the Full Throttle Moonshine whenever our paths crossed. After many encounters, she said we had to come watch her show. There were few words spoken that could be repeated to described what we all saw on one of the stages. A group of performers, that included my new friend, would suspend themselves from ropes and hooks placed in the skin of their upper backs — then they would swing around … I ran into this nice young lady once again after her suspension show, she asked if I liked the performance and I wasn’t sure how to reply so I said yes. She smiled and stuck out her tongue — it was split down the center like a lizard.
It has been a few days since I departed from the rally and started riding my motorcycle home. I’m just beginning to consolidate the rich experience I had in the Black Hills. Regardless of the madness, the motorcycles, the nudity, the music, the barbeque, and the explosive good time Sturgis was, the best moments I had were sitting in the campsite sharing a laugh with the mates I rode my motorcycle with.