I Worked my first Sturgis Rally in the early 80's. At that time There were a fraction of the vendors that now exist. It was a small tight knit community. Although we competed fiercely with each other there was a degree of cooperation, comradery and honor that was fostered by our enforced intimacy and shared experience of a very hard life on the road. There were no corporate vendors or vendors supported by outside money. It was a string of Mom & Pop operations. A lot of them like me started from scratch and worked with their families on the road. At that time, all the leather on the circuit was made in the USA, a condition that transitioned into imported leather almost overnight.
The first place I ever set up in Sturgis was the Buffalo Chip Campground the weather was hot but all the security people were wearing dusters. The reason for the dusters became apparent as I would occasionally get a glimpse of automatic or semiautomatic weapons under the dusters. The wet T shirt contest at Buffalo Chip involved no T shirts and sometimes no panties.
The next year I set up on main street. My fondest memory was closing shop, crossing main street late on a windy Saturday night and having my brief case pop open and spill thousands of dollars into the wind and on to the street. My wife, my kids and a spontaneous army of bikers chased down the flying paper. I don't think I lost a dollar.
My kids who were about seven and ten at the time worked long hours. I would give them breaks where thy would roam the streets on their own or crawl into a pile of leather in the back room and take a nap. A lot of vendors knew my kids so there was a loose form of adult supervision as my kids visited from one store to the next. Once in Sturgis, I found them in front of a taped off police area where there had been a shoot-out.
The logistics of transporting, housing and feeding a crew in Sturgis were daunting. I often left Virginia with a skeleton crew, hired local people and tapped into a network of Christian bikers across the country that I worked with for years. One night I found my kids in a circle of Christian bikers that were testifying about what their lives had been like before they were saved. A lot of rough people with a lot of rough stories - a priceless education for my kids. The best thing about working the road was that it was a priceless education for my kids. They got to witness just about every illicit activity and the ill effects of just about every drug or drink while they were under adult supervision. It didn't call for any moralizing on my part. There wasn't any romance in it just the hard cold facts. I'm sure if social services knew how we were living they would have taken my kids away but as my son Pete once told me: "I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything"
John Brown is a repeat customer from Kirksville, Missouri who came down here to get Leather Motorcycle chaps and Fingerless deerskin gloves. Clay and Tekla from Greensboro, NC came up to get a men's Highway 21 Vest.Annie and her husband from Maryland came to ride the Claw of the dragon and stopped by to get [...]
We had the pleasure of meeting Donita (aka Minnie) and husband Carlus Breland in May. Standing at 4'10.5" tall, every motorcycle Minnie has ridden has had to be modified for her. This particular bike, a 2007 Victory Jackpot, has been converted to a trike and received a special Disney motif paint job by her husband.Minnie [...]
Ursula Wachowiak has had a passion for motorcycles since a young age. Her enthusiasm for the biker community has spread as she motivates people to get out there and ride, chase their own dreams! In 2013 she decided to chase her long time dream of touring the US solo on her motorcycle. She camped wherever she could find [...]
Effie Hotchkiss was only 26 years old when she made her historical trip across the US on a Harley Davidson with her 52 year old mother. Avis rode in the sidecar dubbed “The Bathtub”. Leaving from Brooklyn, New York in May of 1915 she traveled across many dirt roads where service stations were sparse and arrived in San Francisco, California [...]
Did you know July is Women’s Motorcycle Month? This month we celebrate the growing number of women who ride motorcycles. We love to see women on two wheels and this month we’ll be featuring a few special ladies who have helped influence this growing trend. Bessie Stringfield was considered the Motorcycle Queen of the 1930s. She began her 60+ [...]
Pete and Seth started working on the road for Fox Creek Leather when Pete was seven and Seth was four. Working on the road meant sleeping in motels, vans, trucks, tents and stores in Daytona and Sturgis. Pete built Fox Creek Leather's first website and Seth is currently coordinating a comprehensive regeneration of Fox Creek Leather. [...]
This week is a bittersweet one for the Fox Creek Leather family. Brittany has worked here for 6 years and she moved to Nelson County, Virginia on Thursday. Brittany started out a little on the shy side but has worked her way up to newsletter management, managing inventory and has especially excelled in customer [...]
"As I set my Flag this morning it rolled to a rise on a soft breeze and then quietly laid the wave back down. Another peaceful day started at my home, but not necessarily for the world.Fox Creek requested stories of Veterans for Memorial Day and so I want to submit my Father’s, Richard O’Hara.He served from 1955 and retired [...]
Phil, whose Father is buried in Arlington Cemetery and Mother also served in the military, spent much of his time honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Country. We want to salute Phil for that, and his family for taking the time to honor him by sharing his story."My late husband of 26 [...]