Big wheels hit the road
H-D execs join enthusiasts for a pilgrimage
Milwaukee, Wis. to Sturgis, S.D., Aug. 5–10—The Harley-Davidson-sponsored Ride to Sturgis began on Canal Street at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on a hot Friday night in August. Dozens of H-D enthusiasts accompanied Harley-Davidson executives and employees, and the pack made its first stop at Capital City Harley-Davidson in Madison, Wisconsin, one of eight stops scheduled at dealerships along the way.
Bob Oyler, Capitol City dealer principal and president, welcomed the riders by rolling out the black-and-orange carpet that led to platters of fresh fruit and cold bottled water and juices. Motor Company executives included CEO Keith Wandell, Senior Vice President and Styling Officer Willie G. Davidson, President and COO Matt Levatich, Creative Director of General Merchandise Karen Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum Bill Davidson, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richter and Core Customer Marketing Director Mike McCann.
Willie G. addressed the crowd at Capital City H-D by stating, “It is better to be on my scooter than behind my desk,” which brought cheers, but before he climbed atop his scooter for the jaunt west, he was at his desk designing some cool Willie G. Ride to Sturgis and H.O.G. commemorative merchandise later seen draped over the shoulders of many in the crowd.
Riders from all over Wisconsin were also at Capital City Harley-Davidson to meet and greet the executives, including 1996 XL-riding Donald Lyss from Montello, who wanted to meet Willie G. for the first time. Donald arrived at the dealership at dawn with Willie G.’s book 100 Years of Harley-Davidson in tow. It was clear by the smile on Donald’s face that he not only met Willie G., but also acquired a Willie G. signature in the book as well as on his leather jacket.
The ride continued with stops at Wisconsin dealerships Bala’s Harley-Davidson in Mauston and La Crosse Area H-D. Saturday brought the group to Rochester H-D and Mankato H-D in Minnesota as well as J&L H-D in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. On Sunday, the group stopped at Peterson H-D in Pierre and Monday’s stop was at Black Hills H-D in Rapid City.
The Road to Sturgis ended with 950.8 miles logged when the riders arrived with the 10th annual Dakota Thunder Motorcycle Run, followed by a veteran’s tribute and B1 flyover that could be seen from Main Street. But the real conclusion was at the Harley-Davidson Road Tour at the corner of 3rd and Lazelle, just a block away.