Rally Whore?

By Dexter Brooke

Submitted by TSTUBBS


I know that next year is the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson, but can we please just cancel the stupid Rally and put us all out of our misery.

The original spirit and decadence of the Rally- rogue characters, cool motorcycles, lots of booze, and lose women all meeting in the Black Hills for some camaraderie and fun-like nearly everything else- has all but been packaged up, sold out, and ruined by corporate America.

Back in the day, the tag line “if you have to ask, you’ll never understand,” stood for a certain way of life; a particular kind of freedom kept close to the heart by real bikers.  It verbally flipped-off convention and said “you will never enslave me to your bullshit ways.”  Now all it means is “I’m just another yuppie with a ton of disposable income, a week of vacation time, and a motorcycle.”

So, instead of just jumping on the bandwagon of greed, let’s have the guts to face facts.   The Rally has become just another corporate whore; one more lame, middle-class convention where anyone with enough money to buy an over-priced motorcycle and a black tee-shirt can pretend to escape from the suburban existence for a few days and pretend that they are a biker.  The bitter irony is that now, instead of it being about freedom, it is about truck loads of marketing crap that enslaves everyone in the first place.  It’s like being at the mall, except you get to tie a bandanna around your head and look like a rebel biker while you do it.  Cool in the same manner Fonzie was when he moved above the Cunningham’s garage.

And speaking of the mall, once a mall is involved in a motorcycle rally- like ours was this year- it has officially become uncool.  Based on this fact alone, the Rally needs to be cancelled, all evidence of what it has become gathered in a central location and burned, the ashes hauled away to a remote and distant place, the ground it was burned on salted and sterilized so such a thing can never grow again.  It is only in this way that the entire nightmare of what greed did to the Rally an become a faded, distant memory told around camp fires in the years to come as a warning to anyone who would otherwise ruin a good thing by materialism and cupidity.

The fight to get to the mouth of the cash cow by the locals is as sad as anything.  Every business fights for a way to make some extra scratch off the Rally, even those that have nothing whatsoever to do with motorcycle riding.  Those that do, like the gas stations, hotels, restaurants and beer joints, gouge Rally-goers by raising prices for that one week.  Who knows how many lawyers send cease and desist letters on behalf of clients fighting over who gets to use terms such as “Sturgis”, “The Black Hills Rally,” or “Harley Davidson.”  It’s a charade now, a caricature of a biker rally, but not one.

It’s not simply that the Rally is going through a transition stage, either, as I have heard some postulate.  It’s been turned into something different, like some kind of huge home show for the disillusioned yuppies; those who found the fast-track to a profession, trade, or mid-level management not as inherently satisfying as their school counselors would have had them believe.  It is not what it is supposed to be, and so in the end, why don’t we at least have some respect for what it once was, take it out back, and shoot it.  Let’s just end it right now, before it completely becomes an “old Elvis” parody of its younger days.  The truth is that, over the years, it has been good to us.  Let’s not let it die an embarrassing parody of itself, fat, stupefied, and sitting on the crapper like The King did.

We owe it that much.