Motorcycle Culture In America

Kings of the Road main street Sturgis. Coming from across the country they meet here each year at the Rally.

 

Photographer Carlan Tapp is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  From book/project ‘Portrait of Sturgis‘.  To see Carlan’s body of work click on any image.

 

Monday August 3, over 96,000 motorcycles entered main street Sturgis for the 75th Annual Rally.

Monday August 3, over 96,000 motorcycles entered main street Sturgis for the 75th Annual Rally.

 

Coming together as one at Sturgis.

Coming together as one at Sturgis.

 

The town is rockin'. Even the hula hoop is still popular.

The town is rockin’. Even the hula hoop is still popular.

 

If you’ve ever been around motorcycles or bikers, you’ve probably heard of Sturgis; and if you’ve heard of Sturgis you may know it’s the largest gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts in the world.  August, 2015 marked its 75th year.

The rallies have put Sturgis, South Dakota on the map.  Normally a quiet town of 6700, the town explodes to approximately 500,000 every August.  In 2015 they welcomed 1.6 million motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world, celebrating the 75th.  Since the yearly event is vital to the local economy Sturgis residents roll out the red carpet, and the bikers appreciate and respect the grand welcome.

 

Important historical information can be found in Sturgis during the rally.

Important historical information can be found in Sturgis during the rally.

 

"He would have ridden a Harley"!

“He would have ridden a Harley”!

 

Everyone hands out free items from bibles to beer kozzies.

Everyone hands out free items from bibles to beer kozzies.

 

Sturgis’ Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club organized the first rally the summer of 1938 to promote racing and stunts.  Even with low numbers it was considered a success.  The rally has been held every year since except during WWII due to gasoline rationing.  By the 1960’s the numbers grew to 1,000, and by August, 2000 the numbers climbed to 500,000.  The 75th broke all records.

Sturgis brings in motorcycle artists from around the states.  Stunning graphics are painted on bikes and body ink on arms, backs or other designated skin.  Enthusiasts bring antique motorcycles and custom built ones, and others with themes such as the complete Elvis bike.  There are bikers for Jesus, bikers supporting our veterans’ Rolling Thunder Project, bikers representing their countries in native costume, and bikers wearing t-shirts offering truly original words of wisdom.

 

"Issy" was busy all week making magic with ink on skin. He is one of the most sought after tatto artists who travels to Sturgis each year.

“Issy” was busy all week making magic with ink on skin. He is one of the most sought after tattoo artists who travels to Sturgis each year.

 

Harley-Davidson motorcycles are all about creating your own personal statement. Thousands of bikes, not one the same. A personalized Harley for the KING...Elvis of course.

Harley-Davidson motorcycles are all about creating your own personal statement. Thousands of bikes, not one the same. A personalized Harley for the KING…Elvis of course.

 

Body art at it's best displayed on main street Sturgis.

Body art at it’s best displayed on main street Sturgis.

 

This essay celebrates the men and women who rally together every year to immerse themselves in motorcycle culture, meet up with old friends and to enjoy a little uncensored Freedom Of Expression.

 

Custom paint, creative graphics, individual personal statements make each motorcycle at Sturgis a personal expression.

Custom paint, creative graphics, individual personal statements make each motorcycle at Sturgis a personal expression.

 

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See also:

Backbone of America

eBook By Carlan Tapp

 


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