Monday, July 18, 2011

Biker Festival

Sturgis North, The First Annual Canadian Biker Festival; the venue, Salmon Arm's Fair Grounds:

    • the price for one day, $120, 
    • for the whole festival, $500; 
    •  for all B.C. residents from Chase to Sicamous with picture ID and address, priceless (that is, free for the first day).

    Bonnie, David, Gabe Treleaven and I lined up for our wrist bands and we tried to make it to the fair grounds for the 11:30 stunt riders.  We missed them by just a few minutes, so we hung around for the day, waiting for the 3:45 pm show, figuring out exactly which of the bleachers we would sit in the best view.

    Biker at Intersection of TCH and Bernie Road
    One barrel of popcorn, one Styrofoam dish of French fries, one blue and another green snow cone, one diet coke and the lunch we packed did not disappoint us while we were waiting for the prime festival draw for us.  We saw the stunt riders go down the street with their motorcycles perpendicular to the pavement, riding only on their back wheel, and then to return with the same stunt, but this time with only the front wheel on the road.  One rider sat on his motorcycle and made it do a full circle, the front wheel not moving at all and the back one spinning him around in a perfect circle.  Another sat on the pavement, only his back wheel spinning and white smoke billowing out of his exhaust pipes three times the height of his motorcycles and ten times the length of it. The result? A tire with virtually no tread, only bare threads holding the air still in the remaining tire. The miracle? No blow-out.

    When the applause from the crowd died down, all of us moved over to the other bleachers to watch the Canadian Champion Motorcross Stunt Rider and his colleague whom he introduced as the future Canadian Student Rider.  They drove their motorcycles up a ramp and then off the motorcycles went, arcing through the air and coming down on another ramp.  They upped the dramatic effect of their jumps, riding with their feet on the handle bars, then with only their hands on the handle bars and their bodies in a superman position, the bikes flying beneath them, and finally flying through the air, no hands and no feet anywhere near the bikes.
    “Coming back tomorrow for even more tricks,” were their final words to us – as well as “meet us over in the tent where we will sign autographs, and have pictures, hats, DVDs, and t-shirts for you to purchase”.

    Bands played at the bandstand: Blue Woods, James Shepherd, Robin Brock, Malibu Nights, March Hare, Doug and the Slugs, Jerry Doucette, and Dr. Hook (featuring Ray Sawyer).  Even though the tickets were free to residents, they did not come out in droves.  The four of us made up one third of the crowd listening to Blue Woods – plenty of room for us to dance in the Moshe Pit.  Gabe is good – between his private tap lessons and the music teacher at school who does hip-hop every noon for any child who wants to come, he is a nine-year old star.  David gets his moves from the dance sequence in the movie, Annie, so he spends quite a bit of time on the ground.  I am stuck with moves from the ‘60’s and Bonnie from the ‘80’s.  The two of us exchanged looks over the tune “Reefer-head Woman”, a song that acknowledges God’s hand in creating the ultimate woman. It was not a song I was familiar with from listening to CBC’s Radio 2 - Canadian Music every morning from 6 a.m to 9 a.m., where I have been trying to learn the names of famous tunes and national bands. We also got to hear a song with the loudest word being “cocaine”. Bonnie altered the lyrics for her young listeners to be “we don’t use cocaine”.

    The six child-friendly inflatable play stations were next to empty, so Gabe and David had a lovely afternoon, running from one to the other, occasionally returning to the knoll from which we were watching them, to have a drink of water or to tell what fun they were having. David showed us how to cool off your head. He poured half his water bottle contents into his baseball cap, and then slipped it onto his head. I had to slip back out to the car to bring in the backpack full of food.  On returning the security guard asked, “What is in your backpack?”

    “Peanut butter sandwiches, juice and the raspberry bran muffins I made this morning.”

    “We are supposed to look for guns,” said the security officer.

    “I don’t mind slipping this off my back so you can have a good look,” I replied.

    “Never mind,” he responded. “You don’t look like the type to carry a gun.”

    “I don’t even know how to shoot one.”

    “You could learn,” he called after me.

    My favourite T-shirt slogan was “When the gates of hell are full, the tattooed will walk the earth.”

    My favourite overheard conversation, “Nice festival, but not much violence.”

    My favourite booth: “Photographs -- $100 sitting fee gets you a 15 minute photoshoot, a 15 minute consultation and an 8 ½ x 11 photograph shipped free to your home address.”  The larger-than-life photographic advertisement was a close-up of a woman’s face, leaning on the shoulder of a well muscled, colourfully tattooed, clean shaven (both face and head) motorcyclist.

    The name of my favourite motorcycle: Eyecandy

    We came home to drop the boys off and go back to hear the bands at night but the heavens rained down hail and so that is about it for 1st Annual Sturgis North / All Make Motorcycle Rally, Outdoor Trade Show & Music Festival in Salmon Arm, B.C.,  billed as “the largest rally of its kind in Canada with the biggest rock reunion that stands the test of time”.

    Gabe and David counted bikes on the TransCanada Highway on the home. Gabes final count? 354 bikes. For those of you who miss the 80s, the music in the Canadian Superstore today was a mixed tape of ZZ-top, Mick Jagur, Nazareth, Black Sabbath, Doug and the Slugs, and others, and to Bonnie’s surprise, she knew most of the lyrics.


    1. Just ask Adam or Curtis, Teague, Lurene or Tim. Even Richard. Each can teach you how to shoot a gun. Then again if you haven't learned by now, with Doral the hunter as your dad, I am guessing you just aren't interested. Making raspberry bran muffins are perhaps a better investment in time than gun slinging.

    2. I love Doug and the Slugs! what a great festival!