Don’t make me wait, dude

Day 34: Tuesday 5th August 2013 – Sturgis, SD 

Hanging out at the Buffalo Chip is not as easy as it may sound, primarily due to sleep depravation. The main concerts go on in the amphitheatre until about midnight, and then the house bands kick off in the various smaller bars around the campsite. All of this sounds as if it is right next door to my tent. The music continues until around 2am, and then a lot of folk have their own private parties around the campsite until 3, 4 or 5am in the morning. By 6 or 7am, the first of the day’s bikers are revving their engines and heading either for home or for a day’s ride in the scenic black hills.

So for some strange reason, today I was beginning to feel the effects of 5 nights at the Buffalo Chip. I was struggling to muster the energy to do much of anything.

A lot of folk trailer their bikes to Sturgis. This might be against the spirit of the event, but it does give a much quieter resting place than a tent. Those that do ride, proudly proclaim this fact on vest patches along the lines of “I rode mine to Sturgis 2013”. It’s not uncommon to see a whole line of patches with different years on people’s vests. Alan, my camp neighbour, took a slightly different view of this with his T-shirt.

From South Dakota, August 2013

Wandering around the Chip, I found that the Scots are not the only ones who like their fried foods, although I couldn’t find deep fried Mars bars or pizzas anywhere.

From South Dakota, August 2013

One of the things about the Chip that was beginning to get under my skin was the cost of everything here. $7 for a bag of ice, which I heard had gone up to $10 for the end of the week; $7.50 for a pack of smokes; $5 for a small can of domestic beer; and a $5.35 charge for using the ATM. Someone was certainly profiting from all these bikers turning out every year. If you are coming to Sturgis, allow lots of cash for living expenses, especially if you want to party hard, because in theory at least, you can’t bring your own into the venue.

The zip line at the Chip is another tradition. When Doreen and I had visited in 2011, she had been keen to try it, but the queue had been an hour long, so she’d passed. I’m not so keen on heights, so I was happy to just watch other people using it.

From South Dakota, August 2013

One of the things you see at Sturgis that perhaps isn’t so common away from bike rallies, is a lot of people from different MCs all hanging out at the same place without any trouble whatsoever.

From South Dakota, August 2013

And don’t forget the wannabes.

From South Dakota, August 2013

I actually saw someone it a full SOA replica cut, with both top and bottom rockers, but didn’t have my camera handy at the time.

Not everyone dresses the same though, my new friend Six Pack makes a fairly unique style statement, and just loves posing for the photographs that everyone seems to want to take.

From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013

Actually, Six Pack was in a lot of pain for most of the event. He’d had a hip operation the year before, and within days of arriving at Sturgis, he’d hit a huge pot hole in the road, and seriously bruised his inner thigh and groin region. I had a lot of sympathy for this kind of injury after straining my groin in California, but Six Pack’s was much worse, even with all the pain medication that the VA hospital and Mike had supplied him with. It really curtailed his riding, he barely made it further from our camp than the amphitheatre, but he was there every evening to enjoy the show.

By the time evening came around, I was really feeling the fatigue. I stayed well back to watch the opening bands, Sweet Cyanide and Tesla, drinking beer with Mike and Donna, who had brought their quad in to act as seating for the evening.

From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013

I didn’t imagine that Toby Keith, the headlight act for the evening, was going to be my cup of tea, but I was prepared to give him a go. He was due on at 10.30 – every other band that played the Chip, had pretty much made their time slot. When Mr Keith hadn’t appeared by 11pm, I decided that perhaps I’d just rather try to get a bit more sleep tonight, and be fresher for my main event of Sturgis, Rob Zombie, the following night. From what I heard from my tent, I didn’t miss much.



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