Bike Kick Start Contest

Easyriders Magazine puts on biker rodeo at Sturgis Buffalo Chip

STURGIS BUFFALO CHIP, SD — Since 1989, Easyriders Magazine has partnered with the Sturgis Buffalo Chip to host what they call biker rodeos.

These rodeos are a series of motorcycle games and competitions, such as a slow race where the last one to cross the finish line is the winner, a barrel race, and a balloon toss where backseat riders throw a water balloon over an obstacle and catch it on the other side.

Robert Schwellinger, field boss of the biker games, stated, “1989 was the first rodeo and I was out here, and of course we won. Here I am again, but now I am directing the biker games so everyone get out here and have some fun riding motorcycles.”

The event also has a hot dog eating contest, where backseat riders try to catch and eat a hot dog while on a moving motorcycle, and they also have a kick start contest where contestants see how many times they can kick start their bike.

When asked what his favorite event was at the rodeo, Schwellinger bragged about how his favorite was the kick start contest because he holds the record.

“It’s really the kick start contest because I hold the record. I got mine started 32 times in one minute in 1983. Then we didn’t do it anymore because everyone has electric starts. So finally, we were like, “Let’s start doing it again because the younger guys got kick start bikes.”

The winner of Friday’s kick start contest was Jerimiah Lightnin of British Colombia, Canada, who kick started his 1962 Panhead 13 times in under one minute.

“Defiantly hurt my knee and my thigh is on fire, but it was fun,” Lightnin said. “It’s very difficult for sure, but new spark plugs I think helped with that one.”

The contest also had kids as young as 13-years-old performing wheelies and doing barrel racing. Schwellinger noted that kids actually do very well in these contests.

“We let them play in the easy games,” Schwellinger said. “In fact, the kids are better at the barrel push because the tire pushes the barrel up and it doesn’t roll as fast, so they can control it better. So, the kids kicked butt this weekend on that.”

The contest attracted families of all ages and saw a father, son, and two grandsons all competing with each other. Schwellinger talked about the story and how they all competed in the barrel race.

“It’s really great seeing whole families out here,” he said.

Easyriders Magazine also hosts different events during the rally such as a trike show and a truck and tractor style pulling event.

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