Rubber-Side Down

I’m immensely proud of what we accomplish each month in American Rider, and I hope from your perspective it looks easy and seamless. In actuality, it’s always a grind to make sure all loose ends are chased down, facts are checked, and photo captions are written and rewritten during rounds of proofing to ensure what you see on these pages is more polished than most any publication you care to mention.

This month was even more challenging, as our production week coincided with the 82nd Sturgis rally. If I was dedicated only to words and photos, I would have been a dutiful editor and remained in the office to tie up all the niggling details that keep me up at night.

But I’m also dedicated to motorcycles and the fun to be had on two wheels at the biggest gathering of riders in the world. And if I must down a few frosty brews to spend time with friends new and old, I’ll gladly do that too. Wouldn’t you?

And here I am writing this on the night before leaving the marvelous Black Hills of South Dakota, blessed with an action-packed week of riding and carousing with engaging and talented riders of all sorts – an experience that we’ll be sharing with you in our next issue. As always, it was an event you either thoroughly enjoyed or wished you were at.

Rubber-Side Down: 82nd Sturgis Rally

In terms of attendance, I’d estimate about a 20% reduction from the 2021 rally, which surged with people from around the country after the Covid-era recovery. While this drop in participants from last year might seem a little disappointing, the prevalence of open roads and clearer sidewalks made the 2022 edition of Sturgis more enjoyable in some ways. Roaming Main Street and Lazelle in Sturgis resulted in less bumping into the crush of thousands, and there still was no shortage of captivating motorcycles and characters to gawk at while visiting the Buffalo Chip, Deadwood, and other can’t-miss spots.

As time marches on, the Sturgis gathering seems to be less the “dirty biker” event it once was, morphing into a slightly more domesticated event. Baggers have far surpassed choppers as the most dominant bikes seen around Sturgis and the picturesque surrounding region. People seemed to be a little nicer than in years past, with a newfound focus on having good times rather than displaying a seemingly ruthless attitude. Not that the event didn’t have its darker sides.

The Buffalo Chip proffered its usual array of headlining concerts and motorcycle activities, bike shows were on offer around every corner and every town, and people everywhere were enjoying the freewheeling life on two wheels in every aspect.

And on a personal note, I was stoked to spend time with our new associate editor, Paul Dail, who joined me and our affable sales team of Kurt Eisinger and Stu Sutherland at Sturgis. Stu’s been with Thunder Press since 1996, and he knows the V-Twin industry inside and out, and Kurt is a jovial and creative force.

As for Paul, it was actually the first opportunity I’ve had to shake his hand after bringing him on board a few months ago. And what a delight it was to be in the presence of such a genuine and fun-loving human being. Expert copy editing isn’t evident until it is, and Paul is ensuring that care is put into every sentence we publish. You’ll soon be seeing a lot more of this talented man.

So, as the last inch of the last beer of my Sturgis experience is tipped before returning home, I tip my hat to Paul, Stu, and Kurt, as well as all our friends in the V-Twin community, for helping make Sturgis 2022 another memorable experience.

Rubber-Side Down: 82nd Sturgis Rally
Typically, the worst part of attending the Sturgis rally is leaving it.



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