Photo by Bob Davis, Sturgis Bike Week, for the Girls of Sturgis Bike Week. http://www.sturgisbikeweek.com/
THIS BLOG ENTRY HAS BEEN UPDATED MANY TIMES AS I GO THROUGH THE DEEP MOVEMENT OF UNDERSTANDING. . . My final comment, 4/28/08
To everyone who supported my entry into Miss Sturgis. I thank you.
And here was the blog that I wrote last week....I have finally laid this strange experience to rest.
The real girl motorcycle rider who loves the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, lives and breathes and works motorcycles...who got the most comments and love from our beautiful motorcycle culture, did not qualify in the eyes of the committee for the role of Miss Sturgis.
Miss Rachel Reilly, a spokes model from Las Vegas with several contests under her belt, is your new Miss Sturgis 2008. She was selected by the official Sturgis Bike Week Committee representing Glencoe Nation, Lehman Trikes, 93.1 radio and X-Rock radio. She doesn't ride, has never been to Sturgis before, nor is she familiar with the motorcycle culture. But she's the right "package" according to the judges.
With all due respect to the local girls of South Dakota who entered the Miss Sturgis contest and did not make it into the finals, I hereby sponsor my position in the Girls of Sturgis to a local girl, in order to give her opportunities to pursue her goals.
As if turns out, the contest was and is for spokesmodels, after all, and I am not one - my motive was from the angle of ambassadorship, (peace, love, rally and ride), which was incongruent with the committee. Here's what I was told: "People who emphasized how much they wanted to bring attention to the bike shows and do promotions to bring people out to Sturgis ranked higher than those who didn't show that same enthusiasm. Like you said a long time ago, you may be trying to make the position into something it's not." Yeah, well, I guess my ambition to make this title about real riders and the real rally experience in its entirety, the legacy and heritage, remembering Miss Pearl, and promote ALL the cool aspects about the greatest rally in the world didn't match their qualifications. Oh, and the fact that I'm a motorcycle journalist who writes about all things motorcycles and events and was wrapping up an article for a national publication which raved about the Sturgis Bike Week events, didn't count as promoting Sturgis and bringing people out to the bike shows. What about the fact that I had the industry supporting my entry, because I marketed the heck out of their contest to all kinds of great word-of-mouth outlets and the motorcycle community at large?
The committee representative further clarified the qualifications for Miss Sturgis to me: "It's not just the spokes model experience that we were looking for. It was the whole package of what we needed from our perspective, what radio needed from there's and what the Miss Sturgis sponsor needed to fit their needs. . ." Um, you didn't solict for spokesmodel experience. Tho, I think I could be a great spokesperson if you're looking for authenticity. Well, you've got your package, whatever that means; radio got what they needed, a professional stringer for their remotes; and the sponsor got their professional model. And what about what the TRUTH that the real windbrother and windsister wants in their Miss Sturgis?
Come on now! Then why did ya'll promote this contest to the motorcycle forums to get more real girls who rode motorcycles, and local South Dakota radio to get local contestants? Why were you so enthused that I entered your contest and repeatedly told me so? Why would the contest rep consult with me about ideas, promotions, etc? Why was my time and energy wasted if you were looking for a pro-spokesmodel who has never been to Sturgis, nor does she ride? Though, you said that she will be given motorcycle riding lessons so that she can participate in promotions at Sturgis. There are so many wonderful beauty contests at all the rallies which are fantastic and entertaining. Hotties galor! Lots of T&A! Fabulous fun for the fellows. And a great fashion show to see new and stunning outfits for us hotties not on stage. But, the title of Miss Sturgis...I don't know...I think that should be more, sacred, well, more amazing and soulful, yet sexy and fun, too, of course.
I was so loyal to my entry. I drove about 5,500 miles all told, sleeping in truck stops to save money, to get to the Miss Sturgis committee meeting in Sturgis because we had received an e-mail that we had a better chance if we appeared in person. (this mileage includes my first attempt to make the meeting in Sturgis right after my Daddy Poppi's death from Leukemia. I drove from Dover, Delaware to Illinois and then headed south to Nashville for a few days because I was so distraught over my father's passing. I then again left for Sturgis three days later.)
We're a family of riders and rally go-ers who love to have fun. You proved it! I received about 150 comments on my contestant page (the most out of everyone and way more than the chosen candidate who had 15 comments) and tons of e-mails from folks around the world supporting my entry. I thought I had a good chance to be an ambassador and make something of this title as a real female motorcycle rider who has been going to Sturgis for over ten years, whose art and profession is in the motorcycle world. If anything, it made me realize how truly a family the motorcycle culture and business really is to want one of their own in there, representing us.
But the committee did not see our view.
Apparently, I also was not photogenic enough. "We took all things into consideration, the head shot at the interview is what we looked at for photogenic and we all take this project very seriously." – another small excerpt from the committee e-mail. Sigh...it must have been that piece of spinach stuck between my teeth : ) My up against the white wall mug shot was one where I bet I was captured in mid sentence, you know, with my mouth twisted and eyes closed because I was asking, “what is this photo for?”
They didn't want the real biker chick girl. I felt so sad about this. Did they pretend to be intriqued and highly enthused that the real female motorcycle rider authentically from the culture entered their contest? They kept telling me how happy they were that I entered? Why then? They knew why I entered and then at the end of the contest it was a mere surprise...my motive was incongruent?
How could they show enthusiasm at my hard promotional work to get lots of folks to the contest site and help them to brainstorm ideas for their big Sturgis events featuring Miss Sturgis and the Girls of Sturgis? I feel sad that it seems they didn't want the real girl motorcyclist all along, no matter what the windbrothers and windsisters wanted, but still I was loyal, my dears, and drove all the way to Sturgis to meet them, with great enthusiasm. Even while I was grieving my amazing Daddy Poppi, who I lost barely a week to the day that I arrived in South Dakota. Couldn't they have just let me grieve at home, then? I guess God turns things into opportunity for divinity, because I did get to journey up Bear Butte to honor my father's soul in his transformation to spirit...and maybe that's also wear the protection of the BEAR came to me.
"Bear symbolizes introspection and intuition blended with instinct. The Lakota Sioux call Bear “Tob Tob.” To this tribe, Bear is a symbol of wisdom. This animal reveals the interrelationship between the person within the environment of creation, personal truth within the clan and the universe. Bear helps people recognize personal truth and when to stand up for rights and when to walk away. According to Chippewa tradition, the grizzly, Mudjekeewis, is the Spirit Keeper of the West. This totem symbolizes introspection and strength and imparts inner knowledge that makes it possible for people to seek alternative paths to their goals."
Though it was fun and I had great fun ideas for the title, I took this contest seriously, too. After all, it's a role to represent the world's greatest rally from a sexy, powerful female perspective. Oh friends! I live and breath motorcycles: the lifestyle, the business, the world community of riders! The sisterhood, the brotherhood. Oil runs in my veins! Know that I worked very hard to promote this contest. Every day I was doing something for it. My efforts included: extensive marketing and promotion of the contest worldwide, helping to find sponsors, appearances on radio and podcasts and online articles and blogs about the contest. Surely that's an example that I could bring people to bike shows and Sturgis? I went for broke, literally, to try and capture this title for us, the true folks of the culture, all to represent the real rider, the real passion of the rally and love for South Dakota.
Because I received so many comments on my contestant page, e-mails from around the world, and made it into the finals on an honest effort to promote the contest and secure votes, and validate the legitimacy of the contest by speaking with many female riders and the industry about it, I thought I had a real good chance at the title. And if not the title, I'd participate in the Girls of Sturgis team to represent, but that's not what they're interested in, what I am, and I can't be a part of just a modeling thing. THIS IS STURGIS! THE SOUL OF THE RIDER…THE WILD WEST…THE PIONEER…THE FRONTIER. To me rally, riding, and the like is not something I can pose for. http://downtheroadapeace.blogspot.com/2008/04/miss-sturgis-is-ms-nevada.html - to see the 154 comments.
I suppose I shouldn't have been so presumptuous to wear my heart on my sleeve about the rally and lifestyle, and should have honored the fact that the contest is for spokesmodels. Sorry, folks. I am from the street : ) I am who I am, a greazy biker chick with an insatiable love for the open road and all things motorcycles and rally. ; ) You market something like this to the actual culture, why, you will get real rider girls like me.
To be fair, I gift my Girls of Sturgis role to a local girl from Sturgis who will be able to shine and use the incredible and valuable opportunities this position will afford, to chase her modeling and spokes model dreams, through which to promote the rally, too.
Congratulations to all the Girls of Sturgis, you are so beautiful, so strong. I encourage you all to ride and live free.
To Miss Rachel Reilly: the identity of Miss Sturgis, our fine biker culture, the legacy of the rally, and the heart and sentiment of South Dakota folks is in your hands, girl, so cherish it please. You are a visitor in the motorcycle world. You've never been to Sturgis, nor do you ride. You will need to learn many things. Folks will help you to understand.
We are a windbrotherhood and windsisterhood with a passion for riding beyond words. The Girls of Sturgis who are from South Dakota are the true ambassadors to learning about their mysterious and magical home state. This was never just a contest to them or to me.
From my song Rock N Roll N Motorcycle Soul:
"Isn't that what life's about, kickin' back and hangin' out; you and me ride this land of Liberty, hittin Sturgis and we're just livin' free, oh yeah!"
CHECK OUT THE LOVE for a Biker Chick:
http://downtheroadapeace.blogspot.com/2008/04/miss-sturgis-is-ms-nevada.html - to see the 156 comments.
And be sure to Check Out the follow up to this Blog:
- S a s h a
- N Y C and Nashville, United States
- Hippie, Gypzy, Biker Chixie. Yep, that's me. www.bikerlady.com and www.chromecowgirl.com - my websites and I welcome your comments in this blog called Down the Road a Peace. Because, after all "do you wanna a peace of me?" : ) I'd love to hear your thoughts, so share them here. Personalize the topic and make it your own by sharing your own experience relative to the topic at hand, or let's create a new topic. U R Loved by Me.