This year, the Legendary Buffalo Chip was honored to host the premier art exhibition of the Sturgis Rally where the icons of motorcycling and their stories were featured. If you were among the thousands of lucky attendees able to witness the debut of this ground-breaking exhibition and wish for a review or if you just want to get an up close and personal look at what all the talk is about, you’re in the right place. Take a minute to read on and browse the photo galleries to experience the most significant and historical collections of motorcycles, artwork and movie memorabilia ever assembled in the history of motorcycling.
“World Class” and “Stunning” are the words used to describe Michael Lichter’s 9th Annual Motorcycles as Art Exhibition held during the 2009 Sturgis Rally at the Legendary Buffalo Chip. The exhibit entitled ‘Rebel Rousers, Motorcycle Icons that Inspire Us to Ride’ was an unforgettable showcase of the most important motorcycle and art assembly to ever grace Sturgis. From August 1 through August 8 the exhibit gave a host of bike enthusiasts an experience they won’t forget. Riders, young and old, were captivated by the relics and imagery on display each with its own aura that collectively brought history back to life.
Bringing Back the Rebel Spirit
In its entirety, the motorcycles, artwork and memorabilia rivaled permanent collections and established museums; bringing the focus on the history of iconic motorcycle imagery that inspired many to ride. The ‘Motorcycles as Art’ exhibit-goers were greeted by numerous motorcycles from film including the only surviving Captain America to survive from the film (authenticated by Peter Fonda) and a replica Billy Bike from the 1969 counter culture ultra-hit Easy Rider. Also on display were representations of iconic bikes including an early 1960’s Honda Superhawk similar to the one used in Elvis Presley’s film Roustabout and ridden by Robert M. Persig in the iconic book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Also on display was the original bike ridden by Mickey Rourke in “Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man”, the original “Renegade” bike ridden by Lorenzo Lamas, replica bikes similar to the Triumph and Harley ridden by Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin in the 1953 landmark motorcycle film, “The Wild One” and the cult sixties TV series “Then Came Bronson”.
The category of Rebel Rousers wouldn’t have been complete without Jesse James’ West Coast Chopper story, a piece of his motorcycle attitude and the famous “Camel Bike”. Other bikes that have more recently made an impact on the new generation of bikers were featured. Fans of the “POW Bike” by Orange Country Choppers and Indian Larry’s Biker Build-Off Bike appropriately dubbed “Wild Child” got an up-close and personal experience with these bikes as they were featured among the other breakthrough biker celebs.
Behind the 9th Annual Motorcycles As Art Exhibit
The exhilaration for riding and overall passion for the industry that Michael Lichter has successfully illustrated through his Motorcycles as Art exhibits is tangible. Fans and enthusiasts look forward to Lichter’s yearly presentations and as a result there is an industry appreciation for the exhibits that is demonstrated through the sizeable donations of time, money, and resources. Truly creating a family-like atmosphere, a number of individuals and companies made a variety of contributions to help make this year’s show possible. A few of these contributors include; J & P Cycles, The National Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, the Wheels Through Time Museum, Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson, Jeff Decker, Lonnie Isam and many others. Lichter’s show was visited and well-received by the public as well as celebrities and industry aficionados alike. Dee Snider, of Twisted Sister fame, had the opportunity to take in the show at a private viewing Tuesday, August 4. Snider was among a number of celebrities who were able to admire the show; other celebrities included Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, the Doobie Brothers Pat Simmons, guitarist Gilby Clarke and actor Lorenzo Lamas. Other noted attendees included industry magnates John & Jill Parham of J & P Cycles, Bert & Lisa Baker, Donnie Smith, Dave Perewitz and Motorcycle Hall of Famers.
What They Are Saying
“This year’s exhibit was phenomenal. We had thousands of guests come in to take a look at the exhibit. Being our first year offering this type of event, we never imagined we would have such a good turnout!” exclaims Rod Woodruff, owner of the Buffalo Chip. “This just further establishes Michael Lichter as a true professional and gifted artist and photographer.”
Pat Simmons, motorcycle enthusiast and member of the Doobie Brothers, said this “When I walked through the door of the Lichter Exhibition Hall into the “Rebel Rousers” exhibit, I was transported back to that moment in time, when I first realized that I had to have a motorcycle. As soon as I started riding, I knew this would be a part of my life that I would never let go of. All the reasons for my love of the sport, were gathered together in that room; Beautiful amazing machinery, esoteric memorabilia from the early years through the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, rock ‘n roll music, and the icons who inspired us to ride, and being there with friends and enthusiasts who, like me, were feeling those same emotions. I kept thinking, “It just doesn’t get much better than this! Thanks Michael.”
This was Lichter’s ninth year as curator for the original Sturgis art and motorcycle exhibition but the first year that he was able to display his work in the brand-new Lichter Exhibition Hall. The 6500 square foot facility was built solely to house the annual uniquely themed exhibition that Lichter curates each year and is found on the grounds of the Legendary Buffalo Chip. Every few years, Michael will include his own photography in the display, as is the plan next year. The hall was a sizeable project for the Sturgis Buffalo Chip but as day after day of record-breaking crowds gathered to visit the show, all the hard work seemed to pay off.
“The construction of the Lichter Exhibition Hall is the culmination of a strategic vision that we at the Buffalo Chip have had for some time now. This year’s Motorcycles as Art Exhibit was the perfect inaugural event for the facility. The Exhibition Hall is going to see a multitude of such high-caliber industry events and special functions for years to come,” explains Woodruff. “We’re elated to have Michael here at The Buffalo Chip permanently.”
“I’m ecstatic with the show this year. I’ve been working on it for months and it’s good to see a wide array of people coming and taking it in,” said Lichter. “I loved the historic perspective of this year’s exhibition and am now working on next year’s show.”
By melding art and motorcycles together in a way that bikers can genuinely appreciate, Lichter was truly able to capture the iconic essence of the motorcycle genre. He explored the imagery, relics and memorabilia that defined the motorcycle culture and invariably re-fueled our passion for it. We’re already looking forward to Lichter’s next Motorcycles as Art installation during Sturgis Rally 2010.
Rebel Rousers would also like to thank this year’s sponsors including Interstate Battery, Metzeler Tires, Progressive Insurance, Spectro Oil, Renewable Fuels Association and Baker Drivetrain.
Rebel Rousers: Motorcycle Icons That Inspired Us to Ride.
Bikers who come to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be treated to a rare performance by Billy Squier, one of arena rock’s icons. Squier will play on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground.
Originally from Wellesley Hills, Mass., Squier began his pursuit of rock ‘n’ roll at 14 with a $90 guitar and amp. Early influences were the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. (Right up a Sturgis biker’s ally, don’t you think?)
He was still in high school when his group, The Tom Swift Electric Band played at The Psychedelic Supermarket, opening for none other than the Grateful Dead, Moody Blues, Cream and The Steve Miller Band, the same music that has inspired Sturgis Motorcycle Rally bikers for years.
He joined Magic Terry and the Universe while in college. He began hanging with rock’s nobility, including Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, until 1973 when he joined The Sidewinders, produced by Lenny Kaye, Patty Smith Group guitarist.
In 1974, the singer-songwriter-guitarist joined Piper, which A&M signed. They recorded two albums. The band didn’t last long, but the impression Squier made did. “Billy Squier may be the most articulate, emotionally intense total rocker the 70’s has produced to date,” wrote one critic. His solo demo prompted his signing to Capitol, and his debut 1980 disk, Tale Of The Tape, included “The Big Beat.” Squier is exactly the kind of artist the Buffalo Chip loves to bring in for its crowd.
The rest is history. Here’s a rocker who couldn’t be cubby-holed with a string of hits including “Rock Me Tonight,” “The Stroke,” “In The Dark,” and “My Kinda Lover.”