Sturgis Stories – Celebrating the People of the World’s Largest Motorcycle Rally
by Thomas G. Endres, Ph. D.
135 pages, $24.00
Kirk House Publishers, Copyright 2002
www.kirkhouse.com and Whitehorse Press
by Sev Pearman
By the time you read this, it will be the first week of August and the 62nd Anniversary of the Sturgis Rally and Races in South Dakota. MMM celebrates this tradition with this month’s selection, Sturgis Stories.
Publisher Wanchena assigned me to this book review claiming I was a good fit. I don’t “get” cruisers, I’ve never been to the Sturgis Rally and have publicly stated I have no intention of ever attending. Who else better suited to critically review a book about riders at Sturgis?
Author Endres is a local professor (Univ. of St. Thomas) and rider. In Sturgis Stories Mr. Endres presents twenty-seven interviews with riders, entrepreneurs, “one-percenters” and locals. Wisely, he lets each individual tell his or her own story. He refrains from projecting his own opinions and bias on each interview, leaving the reader to experience their story personally.
We meet Papa Smurf, a retired former boxer who works as a bouncer at The Dungeon Bar. We get to listen to (non-sexual) massage entrepreneur Lisa, who works thirteen hour days at the rally three years in a row, and returns every fourth year solely to spectate.
Sportbike-riding Chris tells us that, “Basically, I don’t fit in at all. But…I like to ride, so I take part in it.” He talks about sportbike riders getting heat from some Harley owners. It doesn’t appear to bother him as Chris assures us that, “(I) definitely someday…want a Harley for sure.”
Each story is illustrated with a photograph of the subject taken by the author. They are casually posed snapshots, and have a certain non-professional honesty to them.
These are stories of ordinary people you’ve never heard of, and most likely will never meet. Most are riders. A few are unsavory. Like a good editor, Mr. Endres has distilled each of their stories into a concise nugget. You can’t help but respect each person, even Doug, who gets a DUI on Main Street on his wedding day. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened.
Light-hearted, genuine and objective, Sturgis Stories is an excellent read. Recommended with Four out of Four Cylinders.
Non-Rider – Excellent personal accounts of why we ride.
Serious Reader – Well-edited and objective. Worth your time.
Righteous Bro – “If I have to read it to you, you wouldn’t understand.”
Special thanks to Jim Winterer for bringing this book to MMM’s attention.