Beer, tattoos, boobs, and Jesus

photo by Kelly Soprych

That pretty much sums up Sturgis, SD and the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally. The juxtaposition of sex and Christianity is confusing. The storefront windows with naked women getting their boobs painted is even more confusing.

The Sturgis rally is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

It’s sort of like the Gay Pride Parade but with no parade and more bandanas. Oh, and a LOT more motorcycles. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is solid proof that the Wild West still exists. It’s a whooping good time is what it is…. a chance to completely let down all your defenses and, if you choose, get laid in almost any location or situation. And now that I’ve seen it, I can say that I have, and I probably don’t need to go back.

One of the reasons I like vintage pin-ups so much is the suggestion of sex without the reality of it. Let me be blunt: women in chaps, a beaded top, and a muffin top isn’t sexy, but Sturgis is a man’s game – that’s for sure – so what do I know…

The “welcome women riders” tent had pink studded t-shirts for sale, a bike on training wheels where “girls” can try what it feels like to ride a real motorcycle (!), and a tent selling low-calorie beer.

But,

taking in the whole scene was WELL worth it, and all the vendors, purveyors, and even the attendees were actually really nice. I think Sturgis really wants its tough, Wild West persona, but it’s more like a bunch of dudes who love motorcycles and music, and are looking for an excuse to let their hair down with like-minded men (and a few women too).

The prices were cheaper than any other festival-type-thingey I’ve attended, the weather was fine, and if you find yourself near the Black Hills the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a must-do for your bucket list. Just don’t forget to bring cash and your ass-less chaps and beaded top.

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Lauren

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance writer and editor, focused on dance and cultural criticism in Chicago and across the Midwest. Lauren is the dance critic for the Chicago Tribune, editor of See Chicago Dance, and founder/editor of Art Intercepts, with bylines in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Holding degrees in dance and kinesiology, Lauren is an instructor of dance and exercise science at Loyola University Chicago.

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