Just Returned From Sturgis

...and other goodies

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
Riding through the Tetons in Jackson, Wyoming, on our way to Sturgis. I#39;m second from right standing with my fiancee, Norm. Friends Diane and T.R. are to my right.

This was my 10th year going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and it was one of the most fun and productive rallies thus far. Ive been going to this biker event in the Black Hills of South Dakota way before I was involved in the motorcycle industry fulltime as a professional. Back in the mid-90s, Sturgis was about running around town with Betsy, my riding buddy at the time and columnist of “Backroads With Betsy” on WomenRidersNow.com, looking for fun and sometimes trouble. Our kind of trouble was the kind that didnt involve any law breaking – just heart breaking. Our adventures involved run-ins with cute guys and getting our hearts broken at the end of the week… or vice versa with us doing the breaking. Whatever the circumstance, we had a blast running around like two single women would on Harleys in Sturgis.

Old friends: Betsy (of “Backroads With Betsy”) and me with her chopper in foreground.


Im tamer now with a fiancee waiting in the wings and a business to promote. Ive definitely evolved in my Sturgis adventures. This year I emceed the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame induction breakfast for the third time in the last five years. Im very proud to be associated with such a quality museum that embodies all that the Sturgis rally is and was. Two amazing women were inducted into the Hall of Fame this year: Sam Storm and Marge Hummel. Look for the story soon on WRN.com.

Emceeing the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum#39;s Hall of Fame breakfast, an annual event taking place on Wednesday during rally week. Eight people were inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

I also met and hung with some other cool women in the motorcycle industry. Athena Ransom of Vagabond Chopper Company (who I first met at the AMA womens conference) was there exhibiting her pink chopper called “A Heart of a Vagabond” in a bike show. I interviewed her today for a story that will be appearing in a future issue of American Iron magazine.

Sara Liberte was selling posters of her Image Fusion artwork.

Spent some more time with Sara Liberte who we introduced to you in a news story a few weeks ago on the home page of WRN.com, and in a book review in our New Products Page. Sara is a bike builder and author. Shes also a photographer and was exhibiting her photographic fine art she calls Image Fusion at several industry events during the rally.

Posing with two of the most talented artists in motorcycling: JoAnn Bortles a custom bike painter (left), and Michael Lichter, renowned photographer who#39;s been shooting Sturgis for nearly 30 years. Lichter curated a photographic art exhibit this year in Sturgis.

Ive known custom bike painter JoAnn Bortles of Crazy Horse Painting for years when I first profiled her for a magazine article back in 1999. JoAnns written two books about bike painting now (book reviews to appear on WRN.com soon), and has two other books in the works. If you ever need a custom paint job, JoAnn is the one to go to. A lot of the top builders choose her to to paint their high dollar customs.

One of the hardest working women in motorcycling. Darcy Betlach owns Chrome Marketing, Inc. One of her clients is bike builder Billy Lane. She organized Lane#39;s “Builder#39;s Breakfast” at the Broken Spoke bringing together all of the top names in custom bike building. Look for the story soon on WRN.com.

Other news of note:
A warm welcome to our newest advertiser, Guilty Customs. Be sure to click on the ad to see the motorcycles the company is making for women. The company also produces a line of womens clothing that well be writing about soon on WRN.com

A new book by motojournalist Bill Stermer (and contributor to WRN.com) was just released by Motorbooks called “Streetbikes.” Yours truly wrote a section in the book about women riders. Well review the book on our New Products Page in the next few weeks. The book is a great primer for beginners as well as advanced riders who want to fill in their knowledge gaps. Visit Motorbooks.com to find out more about the book, or you can wait to read about it soon on WRN.com.

Im excited to announce a new addition to WomenRidersNow.com. WRN contributor Teri Conrad is now our New Products Editor. Teris done a great job writing feature articles and bike reviews on WRN.com. Shes now helping to compile all the product info and press releases we receive and posting the items we think youd like to know about.

When we talk about the number of women riders on the road today we often quote the Motorcycle Industry Councils 2003 ownership survey numbers that 10 percent of riders are female. Well, J.D. Power and Associates conducts a survey of riders each year, a project commissioned by some of the manufacturers and aftermarket companies. The latest numbers from J.D. Power and Associates came out in the fall of 2005, and results show that 12 percent of riders are women. This is in line with what Ive been observing over the last three years, a marked increase in the number of women on the road. Im looking forward to seeing what the MIC results are when the next survey is conducted in 2008. Its done every five years.

There was a noticeable increase in women riding their own motorcycle this year in Sturgis.

When I look at the calendar I see the middle of August, which means to me, summer is more than half way over. Bummer. I havent gotten in enough riding, and fall and winter come early here in Montana. Nevertheless, we have been testing lots of gear and motorcycles over the summer with reviews to appear in the fall and winter on WRN.com.

Thanks again to all of you who visit us on a regular basis. Your support is much appreciated. And welcome to those visiting us for the first time. This online magazine is alway evolving and changing so please come back often.

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