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.
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.
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.
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.
eBook By Carlan Tapp