Gal­lop­ing through the Black Hills of South Dakota

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Bob McClurg

The name Stur­gis usu­ally con­jures vi­sions of thou­sands of mo­tor­cy­cles con­verg­ing on the Black Hills to at­tend the Stur­gis Mo­tor­cy­cle Rally, one of the largest events of its type in the coun­try. How­ever, two weeks after all the beer bot­tles have been swept up and the throaty roar of a gazil­lion throb­bing Har­ley-David­sons has faded into the dis­tance, Stur­gis be­comes the cruis­ing des­ti­na­tion for the Stur­gis Mus­tang Rally, or SMR, as the in­sid­ers like to call it.

The SMR was co­founded some 12 years ago by Frank Lawton and the late Gary Lipold, and gov­erned by the Stur­gis Mus­tang Rally Com­mit­tee, which cur­rently con­sists of Lawton, Robin Shrake, Ed Hinker, Le­land Hol­lis, Dan Ja­cob­son, and Butch and Patty Shields. As you might imag­ine, stag­ing an event of this mag­ni­tude re­quires an army, in this case 80-plus hard­core Mus­tang en­thu­si­asts work­ing strictly on a vol­un­teer ba­sis, and you couldn’t meet a more wel­com­ing bunch of folks. The re­sult was a smooth run­ning, fun event that this year at­tracted en­tries from 35 states, Europe, and Canada. Some­where in the neigh­bor­hood of 1,100 earlyand late-model Mus­tangs con­verged on Stur­gis’ Main Street.

The Stur­gis Mus­tang Rally, or Mus­tang Week, as it is also known, kicked off with “Mus­tang Mon­day” and events that in­cluded a con­cert and a burnout ex­hi­bi­tion.

Tues­day’s ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded event reg­is­tra­tion and a golf tour­na­ment, with pro­ceeds from the event do­nated to the Wounded War­rior Fam­ily Sup­port Foun­da­tion. On Wed­nes­day, BF­Goodrich spon­sored two high-per­for­mance driv­ing schools, held be­fore and after the Mil­i­tary & Vet­er­ans Tribute Cruise, led by Wounded War­riors Fam­ily Sup­port spe­cial­ist Ed Mar­diat.

An­other cruise on Thurs­day took in the sights at Spearfish Canyon and the Spearfish Canyon Lodge, fol­lowed by a visit to the min­ing town of Lead, and then to the streets of Dead­wood for the Dead­wood Cham­ber of Com­merce-spon­sored Main Street Show and Shine.

On Fri­day, SMR at­ten­dees were treated to the Black Hills Poker Run, spon­sored by Roush Per­for­mance. They took in the awe­some sights of the Black Hills, in­clud­ing Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Me­mo­rial, and an op­tional stop at Mount Rush­more. The well-at­tended run was fol­lowed by the Gate­way (Mus­tang Club) Clas­sic Ride Along seg­ment at the Thun­der­dome Arena, fol­lowed by a drift­ing ex­hi­bi­tion and drift­ing and bar­rel-rac­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

Mus­tangs lined up as early as 6 on Satur­day morn­ing to stage for the Show and Shine com­pe­ti­tion on Main Street, which con­sisted of 82 classes and a to­tal of 36 judges. Fol­low­ing the an­nual group photo shot by Bob Davis (thanks for let­ting us share the photo plat­form, Bob!) was the Stur­gis Mus­tang Rally/Main Street Pa­rade. After that, every­one con­gre­gated at the Loud Amer­i­can Road House for the Loud Pipes Con­test. Satur­day’s ac­tiv­i­ties con­cluded with drag rac­ing at nearby Stur­gis eighth-mile Drag­way.

Fol­low­ing Sun­day morn­ing’s Cowboy Church, the SMR drew to a close with the fi­nal rounds of au­tocross and the Bar­rett Jack­son– hosted din­ner and awards cer­e­mony. A high­light of the ban­quet was the auc­tion­ing of the Roush Ban­dit/Stur­gis Mus­tang Rally 2018 Lim­ited Edi­tion con­vert­ible, the pro­ceeds of which went to the Wounded War­rior Fam­ily Sup­port Foun­da­tion. Brian and Nancy Lahti of Tower, Min­nesota, were the win­ning bid­ders.

We’d like to ex­tend a spe­cial thank you to Dead­wood’s Cadil­lac Jack’s Ho­tel & Casino for the out­stand­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions, and Front Range, Colorado, Mus­tangers Bill and Karla Puck for serv­ing as our chauf­feurs through­out the event. The 13th SMR will be held over La­bor Day week­end 2019; visit stur­gis­mus­tan­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

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