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Town Talk

Vail, CO Colorado
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Where’s the thunder?

This is one of motorcycling’s holy weeks, the annual rally/festival/drunken brawl/topless mechanical-bull ride/when the heck did I get THAT tattoo? event in Sturgis, S.D.

Every August, Sturgis, which might be about the size of Eagle for roughly 355 days of the year, becomes a temporary home for hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the nation and the world.



One of our office people is there this week, and, most likely, one or two members of our outstanding press crew are there too. Dozens of other locals have made the trip as well.

Most years, Interstate 70 becomes a virtual nonstop parade of thundering two-wheelers headed eastbound ” mostly from Southern California, we’d guess ” a few days before the events at Sturgis kick off. Our motorcycling Town Talk correspondent, whose Gypsum home is a long Jay Cutler pass away from the interstate, notices these things.

What he’s noticed this year, though, is that the Sturgis parade started a few days later than usual. Most years, the parade starts about Wednesday. It goes nonstop until about Sunday, quiets while the riders have their fun in the Black Hills and picks up again as riders stumble home the next weekend (somehow, the bikes sound a little more tired when they’re westbound, as if they’re nursing hangovers and have still-tender new tattoos, too).

This year, not so much. Oh, there have been a few small groups rumbling past, and a few individual riders, but nothing like most years. Until Saturday morning. Then the parade started in earnest.

Not a minute went by that wasn’t filled by at least a few seconds of V-twin-motor thunder (one of these days, a hearing-aid maker is going to get smart and set up a booth and sponsor some events at one or more of these rallies).

So what delayed the parade?

Was it gas prices? The stumbling economy and an unwillingness to take a couple of extra vacation days? (Because, given the cost of all things Harley, you need a good job to join this club). Maybe a lot of this year’s California-based riders had earthquake cleanup to finish before they could leave.

Whatever the reason, the thunder’s been missed, at least from a respectful distance. We’re still not sure why no one’s thought of the hearing-aid marketing angle yet. And if you see a Bel-Tone booth at Sturgis ’09, please be sure to e-mail smiller@vaildaily.com. It’ll make him mad if he doesn’t get a piece of the action.


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