An article that appeared in the
Washington Post Newspaper
frontpage, style section, Sunday
last day of The East
Coast Motorcycle Rally 05.
THE WASHINGTON POST 8/14
By David Montgomery
LITTLE ORLEANS, Md. -- The hills and hollows of western Maryland were too
quiet. So about midnight Friday, a shirtless
man with "Fat Bob" tattooed on his
stomach and his newfound friend from outside Buffalo charged into a grove
trees where their motorcycles were parked and fired up the big machine. The
woods thrummed with the gas-prices-be-damned
staccato of glorious internal
It was the call of the post-industrial wild, a midlife medley of
joy. Hundreds of other encamped bikers sitting around nearby campfires heard
the sound of men and
their machines baying for the sheer helluvit, and it was
"This is a bike rally, ain't it?"
yelled Scott Herald, 37, an insurance
adjuster from Cambria, N.Y., near Buffalo. Fat Bob just laughed. After a few
loud minutes they cut their engines and got another beer.
Yes, it was a bike rally -- but perhaps not the kind
you were expecting if you
had watched too many movies about outlaw bikers or seen too much marketing
new, upscale motorcyclists. Something else was going on here.
By yesterday morning, as thousands of riders thundered
onto the campground in
this tiny hillside town between Hancock and Cumberland, and more emerged
their tents and campers where they had spent the past two days,
it sure looked like a bike rally.
gleamed in the pitiless sun on the midway field where the big machines
were parked in long, kickstand-tilted ranks.
Fenders hawked leather
accessories, tattoos, jewelry, knives, spare parts and T-shirts with naughty
played rock-and-roll from two stages. Men were as proud of their
beer bellies as not a few women were of their uncovered
breasts, and both
admired one another's tattoos. Beer was $2 to raise money for the Orleans
Volunteer Fire Department,
or you could bring your own. The two-wheeled parade
was laden with coolers and ice bags stacked like pillows.
This was the second annual East Coast Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, music
festival, campout and four-day party. It is
when Little Orleans loses its
identity to a much more famous small town: Sturgis, S.D. The annual summer
Motorcycle Rally draws hundreds of thousands of bikers to that gorgeous
western riding country near Deadwood and Mount
Rushmore. It is a biker's mecca,
and most make at least one pilgrimage in their lifetime.
But since Sturgis
is too far for some East Coast riders to make the trip
regularly, a bike event promoter named Ken Appel, 45, decided
Sturgis here. He owns the campground on Apple Mountain. He charged bikers $45
for four days, $35 if
you could make only Friday through Sunday. Last year, the
first year, Little Orleans wasn't sure what to make of so
descending on the community, and local merchants may have been nervous,
according to volunteer fire
chief Dave Yonker. But the crowd turned out to be
so mellow and polite -- and so willing to spend money -- that this
Orleans was looking forward to it, Yonker said.
Appel estimated 5,000 or more would attend by
weekend. In addition to spending
untold dollars on gas and supplies, the bikers will raise an estimated $3,500
the fire department in beer purchases, Yonker said, and they raised $1,000
for the local Little League via a charity
ride Friday, Appel said.
There were biking competitions scheduled for yesterday, including a slow ride -
the last person across the finish ride wins, but you lose if you go so slow
you have to put your foot down. A demolition
derby was to be held late in the
day, using surplus Hondas from the U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division that
still bore the agency's insignia.
So, yes, it was a bike rally, with all its attendant iconography of skulls
leather and pierced and painted flesh and grim-looking road warriors, lean
dudes in leather vests, wraparound
shades, heavy boots and black helmets
trailing long, almost delicately braided ponytails. That was one extreme. And
there was the other extreme, as well, the marketer's fantasy of prosperous
looking men in polo shirts and pre-faded
jeans riding BMWs or other top-of-the-
line models costing $25,000 and up.
But the extremes are not where
biking is at now. In fact, in America, does
anything really dwell at the extremes, except in advertising and image?
Coast Sturgis was the vast middle -- middle-aged people with middle-class jobs
and a median number of kids
who might even grow up to be bikers, too. They were
here to enjoy the cocoon of not being extreme, of existing in a
everyone shared the same passion.
As Appel promised on his Web site, "Four fun-filled days
and nights of living
the biker lifestyle. . . . it's like a feeling, a feeling you get when you
leave your worries
behind. . . . I think this event probably grew out of that
feeling. Everybody coming here to the mountain to get away
from the hassles."
Appel banned gang colors from the event and said more than once: "Zero
for attitudes." Friday night was peaceful, and Saturday was shaping
up that way.
Everybody was unfailingly
polite and almost utopian in their outlook. Maybe it
was the beer. It was like an encampment of grateful Deadheads,
different stimulants of choice. (Maryland Natural Resources Police did arrest
one biker outside the
campground for alleged possession of marijuana).
Scratch a leather-faced road warrior and you'd find a sentimentalist
romantic. A happily married man, a dad, a guy who has to get up Monday morning
and go to work. Fat Bob.
Fat Bob is not his name. That's the name of one of his first bikes, more than
20 years ago, which he memorialized
in big blue letters on his belly. Now
Thomas Sinex Jr. is a 42-year-old forklift operator for Wal-Mart from Dover,
Del., at East Coast Sturgis to celebrate his 21st wedding anniversary with his
wife, Sherrie, 42. She sells classified
ads for the Delaware State News and
rode down on the back of his bike.
"Coming here was our gift to
each other," Thomas Sinex said.
Strapped to the side of his bike was a spear-like pole with antlers on top
from a deer he had shot. It's an artifact of his Indian heritage, he said, and
his tattoos -- a bird, a black
panther, an eagle, "Mom" -- are also part of his
"I've been riding for 30 years
and I'm proud of who I am," he said.
Sitting around the same campfire were bikers from all over, new friends.
was Scott Herald and his girlfriend, also from Upstate New York, and Herald's
father, Luther, 67, a retired
truck driver who rode up from Morton, Tex.. They
had planned to go to the "big" Sturgis in South Dakota but
ended up not having
enough time and money for the trip.
"I've been riding since before I can remember,"
Scott Herald said. "My dad's a
biker, I'm a biker and my kids will be bikers. It's a friendship and a
Sitting by the same fire were brothers-in-law from Ellicott City, Bill
Trogler, 53, a Department of Defense
employee, and Terry Felty, 46, a truck
driver and rigger. They, too, had been headed to big Sturgis but changed their
plans. Trogler has already made that trip once.
"To me there's nothing more relaxing than riding a motorcycle
on old back
roads," he said.
Campfires gleamed throughout the woods, while classic rock songs blasted
the stage. In one clearing, a tall man drinking an excellent microbrew from
Vermont beckoned visitors into
the golden circle of old friends and new
He was Dave Blake, 46, a ski-lift technician at the Stratton
in Vermont, and he explained his presence at East Coast Sturgis this way: "I
have a new bike
and I wanted to ride 572 miles one way so I could have a
He rode down with Peter Davis, 47, a
firefighter from near Poughkeepsie, N.Y.,
while their wives drove in a car with beer and other supplies. It was 90-plus
degrees the whole way, and the wind in their faces felt like gusts from a
of the fun is getting there," said Davis, resorting to a
clichéd phrase among bikers.
"No, it [stunk]," he confessed. "But the principle of it was fun."
meaning and appeal of biking changes as you get older. Terry Rhoads, 47, a
cable splicing technician with a telephone
company, started riding when he was
16 because he liked the tough image, "the I-don't-give-a-[hoot] kind of thing."
At East Coast Sturgis, he was shirtless, wearing devil horns glued onto his
bald head and showing some tattoos.
Now he appreciates the less tangible rewards of riding. "When you're out on
your motorcycle you're free,
the wind in your face. . . . when you have
problems and [stuff], ride, just ride. Think your problems through."
Rhoads and his friends from Essex, including Bob Ikena, 50, and Audrey Barnes,
41, were serving spaghetti to
anyone who passed.
A young woman who called herself Gypsy stopped by, selling beads. If you
bought a string
for $5 and were interested, Gypsy would bare her breasts for
you. Rhoads and Ikena bought beads and requested the display.
In a body art booth, some women had their breasts painted with Harley-Davidson
logos and other designs. "It
ain't a thing, it's just [breasts]," Gypsy said
This somehow seemed to fit with that segment
of biker culture that is partial
to magazine covers with chicks on bikes. But there was another feminine
coming into its own. While some women said their place was behind
their man on his bike, others highlighted that they
had their own bikes and
could ride just as well on their own.
"I got tired of too many bad relationships"
with the guys who were driving,
said Barnes, a field inspector with a public utility whose boyfriend stayed at
So three years ago she got her own bike. She said she has successfully
raised her daughter through high school and now
it's mom's time to be born
free, and born to be wild. She was wearing a Harley T-shirt and had a long
"I wanted to be on the front, I wanted to be in control," she said. "I haven't
and this was someplace I definitely wanted to go. . . . We all
have jobs, we all have responsibilities, but we all have
a ton of good fun."
By late afternoon, the riders had spent hours on the midway, checking out each
hardware, the expensive bikes with machine-tooled accessories, the
antiques, the regular old runabouts, parked side-by-side
Charles Reese, 49, owner of a financial services brokerage in Baltimore, was
showing off his Honda Rune, a rare model, worth about $34,000 with all the
one for Tom Cruise," he said.
He's planning to ride to Alaska next year for his 50th birthday.
think about the Old West and guys getting on a pony and kicking it cross
the country," he said. "This is my
Next to him was John Asher, 49, foreman for a utility contractor, owner of a
humbler but still
impressive Harley. He's riding to the big Sturgis next year
for his 50th birthday. He started riding in the 1970s, but
then gave it up when
he settled down and had a family. He and his wife raised a son, 19, and a
daughter, 17. A
few years ago he got his Harley and he was a biker again.
"I'm going through a second childhood," he
said. From the stage, between
bands, the P.A. system was playing Led Zeppelin, people were dancing and
the motorcycle competitions, new arrivals roared onto the field, the
air smelled like beer and fried food.
The pony, the second childhood, the wind in your face, the sound of engines in
the woods, riding in front not in back
-- it was all the call of the wild to
people who wanted to be.
I attended East Coast Sturgis this year for the first time, and even though it took a lot out of us
to get there, we had a blast! My boyfriend's family has a mountain house nearby, and he had been to the event 2 years
ago. We came up on Friday planning on spending the weekend with you guys, but we got into an off-roading accident Friday
evening. We spent Friday night at the hospital, and I left in a neck brace. We hated to have come all the way
and not make it out, but I was worried about walking around the grounds in such a ridiculous contraption. I'm sure glad
I put my fears aside, because everyone was so wonderful to us. In fact, my boyfriend got the worst of it with people
fussing at him for hurting me! :) The neck brace was quite a conversation starter, and we had so much fun meeting
so many people. I just wanted to thank you for bringing so many good people together. I'm attaching a picture
for your enjoyment! We had a wonderful time and hope to camp out there next year!!
a great day we had at ECS, actually planning on next year being a 3 day for us. But the food, cold beer and the people was
exceptional. Ok bet you are getting bombarded with emails, just wanted to let you know we’ll see ya next year. Thanks
Bobcat of Frederick
"Weber, Joseph" < email@example.com
> Date: 2005/08/14 Sun PM 05:17:19 EDT
> To: <Apple>
Subject: Good times 2005
> Thanks for bringing a great time to Maryland for
those of us who can't
> make the trips half way across the country . I was lucky enough to
both years and had a blast both times . in 04 i met Doc and his
> crew just by happening to throw a tent down
next to them and this year
> Terry and Joe were met the same way both camps invited my friend and i
> into their party like we were old friends even though we had all just
> met and i hope to see all of
them again in years to come. If you have
> of e mail newsletter or something please put me on that
> THANKS KEN,
> Fireman Joe
> Date: 2005/08/23 Tue AM 08:32:00 EDT
> To: "'<Apple
Subject: Good Times
> Hey Ken,
> Thanks for another enjoyable year. My husband and I attended
> rally in 04' and we enjoyed it sooooo much we came back this year for more
> and more it was.
We arrived on Thursday which was the opening day and
> until Sunday. You did a good job in organizing
this event and I am sure
> years to follow will be better. We got a good site back in the trees out
> the blazing sun. We met a few new friends and had a great time. We rode
> during the day
thru the mountains and parked our bikes as evening
> and enjoyed a few cold beers as we walked the
grounds of the rally. Every
> evening we listened to music and took in the surrounding scenery ( body
> tattoo contest, bike show etc.). Everything was good and we enjoyed
> ourselves greatly. Again
Thanks for the good time, friendly people and
> close to home rally. See ya next year! Your biker
friends from Spring
> Grove, PA Ted & Cathy Horn
We just got back from the “Apple Mountains” East Coast Sturgis…………..”HAD
A BLAST”!!!! We will be going back again next year, I can’t wait!!! It was a HOOT! Although, it is NOT long
enough!!! Thank you for a grrrrrreat time!! J
Jacqueline P. Hayes
Credit Operations Dept.
Indirect Client Services Division
Wilmington Trust Company
From: "Lester Bailey"
> Date: 2005/08/16 Tue AM 07:43:49 EDT
> To: <Apple
> Had a great time, Fantastic rides, good people. Who could ask for
> could of
been a little cooler, but I can live with it. See you next
> year, save me a spot. I have a lot more roads to explore
> just did not have time to stop at.
> Thanks again,
> Lester Bailey
> Date: 2005/08/26 Fri AM 07:36:38 EDT
> To: <apple
East Coast Sturgis
> We wanted to to drop you a line and say how much we enjoyed
our time this
> year. Great job, well organized, and we are already planning next year.
> Please post the
date as soon as you know, we are planning to come a day
> early and have 20 more people lined up to come along. People
> looking for t-shirts on the website, hope you get some!
> We love your mountain.
> Thom and Nancy Waltman
From: "Les Aldrich" <firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Date: 2004/08/16 Mon PM 08:36:57 EDT
> > To: <Apple
> Subject: Great Time!
> > Ken,
> > I found out about the Apple Mountain
Rally while at the Harley
Rendezvous earlier this year. When reading the flyer I thought hey, another
3 day party
for the Biker! I told a lot of bros' about it but most of them
were either going to South Dakota or had something else
planned for the
weekend. Also, some of the not so adventuress thought an 800 mile round trip
was not worth a three
day bash. I though differently and decided I would go
> > I love the outdoors, I
love riding, I love beer, I love titties, but
most of all I like meeting new friends. But would this Connecticut Yankee
welcome below the Mason Dixon line?
> > As I was setting up my tent what would be my neighbors
for the weekend
offered me a "Pabst". What the hell is a Pabst? Then I realized it was a
good ole' beer
(PBR) that I heard of, but up here us Yankees are used to
Budweiser and ales. I chipped in some cash and helped them
drink all them 30
packs! That PBR ain't bad after all.
> > After a while I realized this was
your first stab at organizing this
rally. I do not know what your hurdles might have been with laws, permits
the likes for such an event, but in my eyes you did a fantastic job! I
hope all went well for you.
> > The Sumo Wrestling had me in stitches, the bands took me back to the
free 60's and 70's, I drooled looking
at all the nice rides in the bike
show, the rodeo was cool, but most of all, of course, the bike demolition
a riot! Oh yeah, I did not mind eating about a dozen of those 'chickens
on a stick" either. I think they're part
of the Atkins diet anyway.
> > It is my hope you do this again. If you have a mailing list add me
and keep me posted of your intentions.
> > The best thing about the trip were meeting
new bros. Teach, Pineapple,
Cowboy, and Penis all from Brooklyn, MD. are true brothers. Penis owns 12th
and he knows how to keep all those pans and shovels running
great. If you know them and see them, let them know I'll
be back next year.
> > Until then, party hard and ride safe!
> > CT Yankee
> > Les
> > email@example.com
> From: "Chris McCarty" <firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Date: 2001/10/31 Wed PM 09:09:21 EST
> > To: apple
> > Kenny;
> > GREAT JOB MAN!!!...
> > Enjoyed nmyself immensely...Met
many new friends...bought a new Honda
Shadow Aero...Learned to ride it there thanks to a great group of fellow
just bought a new Desert Fox Camper/bike carrier...and
probably a divorce to boot...!!!!...All thatnks to your Rally...Aint
grand ???...I was the old fart who drove out to see your place on the
little yellow Honda moped the Monday
before the rally...
> > Just wanted to compliment your good efforts and success...Will stop by
> > Keep up the good work
> > P.S....AS a new biker...Ray
Man (the guy selling flags formnthe war
memorial flag pole) gave me a road name...(laughing my ass
a hoot he is...!!!
> > Later Man..
> > Trigger
MESSAGE FROM THE PROMOTOR.