That next August, he rode it to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally from Florida via Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming. And that was that.
He fell hard and in love with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for many reasons: the people of South Dakota, the Black Hills, and everything that the Rally offered and represented.
“The people of Sturgis, they are so generous. So welcoming,” says Arlo.
It’s not a mentality you see every day, the generosity and friendliness. Arlo thinks it from the nature of living in the Black Hills year round: “You gotta be tough to live in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In the winter, it’s like living on top of a glacier.”
Arlo, a resident of Florida, loved the area so much that in 2006 he bought a house in Sturgis, which has become the meeting place of many friends and Sturgis “Rally family.”
And he has no shortage of help keeping his house up during the winter months when he’s not there, and receives loads of help when he returns for summer: “When I come back to Sturgis in the summer, I have people offering me furniture, help for keeping up the house, all kinds of stuff. Sturgis is an amazing, small town. And it’s all because of the people.”
For Arlo, returning to Sturgis every year is effectively a “family reunion.” His now 14 year-old boy has been coming since he was three years old, and with his wife Nancy, they have developed life-long friendships with people that come together every year in this incredibly special place.
“Sturgis Bike Rally is now a family affair. These friends I’ve met over the years -- they are effectively my family.”
Among these good friends is the Hultman family: Neil Hultman, one of the original Jackpine Gypsies and Rick Hultman, his son, who has been a rally-goer since he was a child. “Neil has been a critical part of making the rally what it is today with the involvement of the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club and its mission of racing motorcycles.”
Mike Scoggin, of Tucson, Arizona, is another long-time friend of Arlo’s, and has been coming to Sturgis every year since 1979. Mike celebrated his 21st birthday with the same group of people as he celebrated his 57th birthday with last year.
Mike camps in Arlo and Nancy’s back yard, lovingly referred to as “Squaburbia,” among a sea of tents and bikes.
“We meet up with the same group of people, year after year. It’s the same routine every year,” says Mike.
But one year it wasn’t the same, and Mike met someone new. Her name was Jill. And they got married.
The Rally Family had grown yet again.