Between the standing room only Class of 2017 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Pappy Hoel Speed Classic races and the brand new block party with bands going live at five on the Glencoe Stage every day, the 77th Sturgis Rally was rocking for the entire rally week! Better weather and a full schedule of events helped bump up attendance to more than 376,000 people this year.
“Come for the races, stay for the entertainment,” said Myrick Robbins, executive director for the Sturgis Museum & Hall Of Fame. Appropriately things kicked off at the very same historic dirt track where it all began back in 1938. The Pappy Hoel Speed Classic roared into the Meade County Fairgrounds in downtown Sturgis on August 3-5.
“We were twisting the throttle to the stops with the Speed Classic, the inaugural Block Party co-hosted by our friends from Monster Energy and the annual Hall Of Fame ceremonies,” said Robbins. “But that is what the Sturgis Rally is all about. Founder J.C. ‘Pappy’ Hoel started with a race and a week-long spectacle just sort of evolved from there.”
Also evolving was the Sturgis Block Party. For the first time this year, merchants on the newly revitalized Main Street teamed up with the Museum and Monster Energy to host a week-long event right in the heart of downtown. “Motorcycles, music and more… it was rocking,” said Robbins.
However, the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony presented by Strider Sports was definitely the highlight of the week. John Paul DeJoria, philanthropist co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products and Patrón Spirits (as well a Hall of Famer himself) emceed the class of 2017 induction ceremony in his own inimitable style… he even passed along some business advice to everyone in the room.
“I’d like to give you a little secret to building something,” said the man who went from being homeless to becoming a billionaire. “However you participate, whether it is as a rider, builder, or any way you participate in this industry, make sure the quality of what you personally do or the quality of the product you produce or the quality of the words you say are the finest quality in the world.”
When DeJoria started Patrón in 1989 it was the quality that made the difference. “Quality reaps longevity. Quality continuously keeps something going… and it is the quality of these people that will keep the industry and the Museum going.”
“The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame recognizes individuals or groups who have made a long-term, positive impact on the motorcycle community,” added Robbins. “We honor our Hall of Fame members by telling their stories and history, showcasing their contributions and accomplishments. In doing this, we hope to inspire our visitors and the riding community.”
The class of 2017 may have been the most influential and inspirational yet. From Lifetime Achievement honoree William G. Davidson to the Pappy Hoel Award winner Rod Woodruff, founder of The Buffalo Chip, the Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, South Dakota, was packed with the best and brightest in the motorcycle industry. Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Mike Taylor, Cory Ness, Mark Shadley, Jim Thiessen and Terry Vance comprised this year’s inductees.
“I get excited every year at Sturgis… I jump up and down a lot and I yell and scream and I blew out my voice, “said Lifetime Achievement honoree Willie G. after being introduced by his son and current director of the Harley Davidson Museum, Bill Davidson. “I would like to thank the Sturgis Hall of Fame for honoring me and I will always remember a day like today.”
Blown out voice or not, Willie rallied to conclude the ceremony shouting a message near and dear to all the honorees, past and present: “Ride free! Sturgis forever!”