Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Man with a Dream, Passion, and a Motorcycle...



The dream of Clarence "Pappy" Hoel, become the legend of the Sturgis Bike Rally. In 1936, in a small town in South Dakota, a man known as Clarence "Pappy" Hoel would start a tradition, that would grow into a legend and reach biker immortality. The Sturgis Bike Rally. It started with just 9 people and a single race, and grew into an attraction that brings hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to visit it. For many it is a life long dream to make various rides enroute to Sturgis. Follow LRS as we make our dream ride to Sturgis, and as we dig in to the living legend of the Sturgis Bike Rally on this portion of LRS Myths, Legends, and Tales from the Road...



In 1936, Clarence "Pappy" Hoel purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis, South Dakota. Hoel was the founder of the "Jackpine Gypsies" motorcycle club, and would start a tradition that would grow to attract nearly a million bikers annually. The Sturgis Rally originated as the "Black Hills Classic" with just 9 people and a single bike race. 
     Not only would the rally become a legend in the motorcycle community, but it's fame would launch the "Jackpine Gypsies" into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1997. The "Black Hills Classic" was originally envisioned to be an exhibition of racing and stunts. That wouldn't suffice for one of the greatest bike rally's ever conceived, and in 1961 the rally was expanded to include hillclimbs and motorcross races. The first ever champion of the "Black Hills Classic" was "Smiling" Johnny Speigelhoff riding none other than a Harley-Davidson

When Clarence "Pappy" Hoel started the "Black Hills Classic", I wonder if he ever imagined that it would evolve and attain legendary status in the biker community. What would eventually become what we know as the "Sturgis Bike Rally" has been held religiously every year, with the sole exception of 1942 during World War II, when gasoline rationing put a hold on this amazing event. Who knew that 74 years later, the rally would bring nearly a million people to Sturgis, South Dakota. Not only bikers come to the rally, it has grown to attract a spectrum of followers, from young to old and even draws "families". In recent years, going to Sturgis has become a badge of honor in the biker community, prompting many to buy t-shirts and patches that say "I rode mine to Sturgis". 


So now that Matt and I will be able to say we lived the dream of riding nearly 4,000 miles to Sturgis, we can look forward to our next big adventure. The journey is not so much about the destination, as it is about the journey. We'll be riding half-way across the country with just two bikes and our gear, to become a part of history by visiting the 2012 Sturgis Bike Rally. Follow us on our next adventure through history, on the next portion of LRS Myths, Legends and Tales from the Road...



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