Posts Tagged With: Sturgis rally

What Happens in Sturgis Stays There, Unless Somebody Tells Your Mother

The 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has probably set a new attendance record. Apparently no one knows for sure. Counting motorcycles may seem simple—just count the wheels and divide by two. But what with bikers coming and going at different times and spreading out all over the Black Hills, it isn’t that easy to come up with a crowd count. Especially since, as more and more older riders have switched to trikes, the math gets complicated.

Still, it seems appropriate that several other world records have been set during this year’s record-setting Rally. One was truly impressive: daredevil Doug Danger successfully jumped his Harley over 22 cars. Evel Knievel would have been proud—or at least envious. I just hope this doesn’t inspire any of my grandchildren to go and do likewise.

Another world record wasn’t set at the Rally, but it’s being celebrated here. The record-holder, Bobby Cleveland, has been here all week as part of a tour. People are welcome to rev the engine of his record-setting vehicle: a customized Snapper riding lawn mower that was clocked at 96.5 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And yes, it cuts grass, too.

In this spirit of competition, another group of Rally-goers set out to get into the Guinness Book of World Records, too. Their goal: To be the largest number of people ever photographed at once in their underwear.

Yes, apparently there is an existing world record in this category—2270 people. It happened in Salt Lake City. The organizer of the Rally attempt didn’t seem to know further details like who, when, and why. Too bad; inquiring minds would like to know. This inquiring mind, however, decided not to try to look it up. I didn’t want to deal with the kind of spam that would inevitably show up if I did an Internet search combining terms like “photo” and “world record” and “underwear.”

Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the Salt Lake City record still stands. The Rally group all seemed to have a good time, including the reporter who covered the uncovered event for the Rapid City Journal. But they barely mustered 182 people, not much of a thong—er, throng.

What caught my attention about the article was the description of one participant, a Wyoming woman in her early 40’s, who “asked not to be named for fear her mother would see it.”

I completely understand that sentiment. When you live in a sparsely-populated state like South Dakota or Wyoming, no matter where you go you’re likely to run into someone who knows your mother. Or your grandmother. Or your second grade teacher. Which means, if you’re doing something a little odd, like, oh, posing in your underwear with a bunch of other giggling bikers, someone is potentially going to tell your mother all about it. It’s a sort of pre-Internet version of Facebook, just, thankfully, without the pictures.

But in this case, there are pictures, right there in respectable newspapers for anyone to see. If I were the woman from Wyoming, I’d hope my mother wasn’t checking out Sturgis Rally photos with a magnifying glass.

Of course, if she did indulge in that kind of voyeuristic snooping, she probably wouldn’t admit it. She’d be too afraid that somebody would tell her daughter.

Categories: Just For Fun, Odds and Ends | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lions and Tigers and Bears–Or Not

It all started with the Beetdiggers.

Taking a break from driving during a two-day road trip, we were walking along Main Street in Brush, Colorado. We noticed a sign on a store window: Go Beetdiggers!

Okay, as high school mascot, maybe a beetdigger doesn't have the same aura of ferocity as its more common cousins, all those lions, tigers, bears, and bulldogs out there. But at least it has a clear connection with the area's major industry of raising sugar beets.

The Beetdiggers (who probably "Can't be beat!") sound a little tougher than their neighbors further down the road—the Rocky Ford Meloneers. When your town is famous for its sweet, juicy watermelons and cantaloupes, maybe toughness isn't quite so important.

Still, both of them are far ahead of Fort Collins, where the wrestlers and football players must be some of the toughest guys in high school sports. You'd have to be, to overcome a mascot like the "Lambkin."

Of course, back home in South Dakota, we have our share of school nicknames that, when it comes to that good old fighting spirit, are a couple linemen short of a full team. Some of them don't even seem to make sense, unless you know a little about the history of the town.

Like the Sturgis Scoopers, for example. The town, near the frontier military post of Fort Meade, had an early reputation for "scooping" money out of the pockets of the soldiers. These days it offers the same service to bikers during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The "Scotties," for the prairie town of Phillip, doesn't seem logical at all unless you know that the town was named after Scotty Phillips, an early rancher who helped bring the buffalo back from near-extinction.

For a real macho image, though, you can't beat the good old Mitchell Kernels. No, that's not "Colonel" as in military, it's "Kernel" as in corn. Back in the early 1900's, a lot of small towns built onion-domed "corn palaces" that were decorated with grains to celebrate agriculture. Mitchell has what may be the only one still being used and still freshly decorated every year.

My favorite sports mascot is still one I saw a few years ago in Montana. A sign in front of the school in the little town of Belfry proudly announces, "Home of the Bats."

I was surprised and disappointed, though, to discover that one well-known animal native to Wyoming and South Dakota doesn't have a team named after it in either state. The only school I found using it as a mascot was Rudolfo Anaya Elementary in Albuquerque. And that simply doesn't make sense. Everyone knows New Mexico doesn't have native jackalopes.

Categories: Just For Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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