In 2000, I rode to Sturgis with Tom Delaney. I rode Tom’s Road King, immortalized in my Biker books. Tom rode another Harley, of which he has several. We camped at the Buffalo Chip, one of Sturgis’ venerable and notorious venues. We brought tents. The restrooms were concrete bunkers that emanated effluent. One morning I entered the pillbox to find a biker passed out on the floor amid the discarded condoms and misplaced piss. He was drooling. I went to another restroom. Since then, they have been upgraded.
Saturday night’s headliner was young blues slinger Johnny Lang. But prior to that, Cher appeared to announce the winner of a raffle. First prize was a new Harley. They had chosen Cher because of her performance in the movie Mask, one of the more sympathetic portrayals of biker culture on film. It also starred Sam Elliott. Cher had been coasting on the goodwill of that movie a long time.
As Cher walked onstage, ten thousand bikers lustily cheered. “Good evening! I’m here to choose the raffle winner who will receive a new Harley. But before I begin, I’d like to tell you about my good friend Bill Clinton.”
“BOOOOOOOO!” ten thousand bikers lustily declared.
“Now wait a minute. Bills’ really a good guy.”
Cher cut short her presentation. She has not been back since.
The next day, Tom and were walking through the campground when a man passed us on the left riding a springer. At the same time, a man on the right was playing with his dog.
“That’s a nice springer,” Tom declared.
I thought he meant the dog. “That’s not a springer,” I said.
“Sure it is.”
I turned to the man. “Hey buddy! What kind of dog is that?”
The man, his arms blue with ink, assumed a fighting pose. “It’s a GOOD dog! Why do you ask?”
We kept walking.