Saturday, August 08, 2020

Freedom, God, and Donald Trump

thedailybeast |  The City Council had never considered whether or not to approve the rally because that had never been a question. There had only been the formality of approving the necessary road closures. The council did so again on June 15 even though a survey showed that 60 percent of Sturgis residents favored canceling this year's rally.

Sturgis officials sought to calm rally opponents by saying the city was seeking to reduce the turnout by curtailing the usual advertising. The official Sturgis website nonetheless listed various exciting events for anyone tempted to attend. There was this: 

“JOIN US AUGUST 10TH, 2020 FOR THE 18TH ANNUAL MAYOR’S RIDE!! The City of Sturgis is excited to be hosting the 18th Annual Sturgis Mayor’s Ride during the 80th Annual City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally! This ride has been a special part of the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; not only for the amazing beauty of the Black Hills but that it brings people together from all over the word [world].”

The ultimate justification offered by the mayor and other city officials was that the hordes of bikers were going to come anyway. They noted that Rod Woodruff, owner of the Buffalo Chip campground and concert venue, had announced his intention to be open for a 39th consecutive rally. The campground’s Facebook page had this posting with a message from a Hollywood actor:

“Hey there, Tom Berenger here. Have you heard? Well, my friend Rod Woodruff at the Buffalo Chip let me know that Sturgis 2020, the 80th anniversary, is ON! I don’t know about you, but I’m packin’ her up here. I hope to see ya out there. God bless America. And God bless the Buffalo Chip.”

The Buffalo Chip is the area’s biggest, a biker mecca. It is also just outside the city limits and an incorporated town unto itself. Sturgis could do nothing to regulate it.

“We’re just celebrating good old American freedom,” Woodruff told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
He said he had unfolded the world’s largest American flag on July 3, so Trump could see it while flying over on the way to the event at nearby Mount Rushmore.