Pool held on number of dead rally bikers

2014-08-12T06:30:00Z Pool held on number of dead rally bikersMeredith Colias Journal staff Rapid City Journal
August 12, 2014 6:30 am  • 

While they admit it's somewhat macabre, a Black Hills family and their friends say they mean no harm with the betting pool they run on how many bikers will die during the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally.

A short time before the rally starts, the group gathers, and each pulls a number randomly out of a hat, and whoever is closest to the number of dead bikers wins the pool. This year, 12 people put in $5 each and the winner will take home $60.

"That’s the thing, we know they are going to die, it’s a fact of life," said Carol Landrum, 62, who travels from Arkansas every summer to her family's cabin in the Black Hills. "We hate that anybody does die, but we know it’s going to happen."

The pool is a tradition for them, started about seven years ago based on an idea from her husband's friend. That friend later died in a motorcycle accident himself, Landrum said.

"It was a joke initially," she said. "It’s just kind of a way for us to get through rally and be good humored about it."

Landrum, a retired physician assistant, said she's seen the aftermath of tragic accidents.

"It’s not meant in any way to be malicious, or hoping anyone has a bad accident," she said.

Most of the family is pretty low-key about the death count during rally week, but Carol does go online to keep tabs on the deaths, said her husband, William.

A few neighbors who were skeptical have since gotten over their initial moral objections and now join in on the pool, said William, 63.

"The first time, they kind of roll their eyes," he said.

With 12 people in this year, they can only pick from one to 12. Zero is not an option.

"Unfortunately, that's always going to lose," William said. For somebody out there, "it's their time," he said.

They are still deciding who will walk with the $60 as they settle on the final count, which was either three or four. They base the final results on the state Department of Public Safety "Rally Tally" that records deaths from the first Saturday of the rally until the final Sunday.

Contact Meredith Colias as 394-8417 or meredith.colias@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(26) Comments

  1. Celtgunn
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    Celtgunn - August 17, 2014 8:31 am
    Just shouldn't be ran on front page of this silly paper is all. Honestly there are some mil. members who know the risks and even bet on the outcomes of who will washout of boot, who will washout of tech. school. You just don't seem to get it Silverfox. It's a coping mech. for those who have a truly horrible job to do. Like my husband & his group, they disarm roadside bombs. How many of you have the kahones to do that job? These guys laugh and love to do it. It's scary to see them and hear some of their twisted humor when you're new to it. I've seen women blanch whiter than a sheet at some of the crude humor.


    Some people just need to get a grip and realize that just because -you- can't appreciate the humor of it doesn't mean others can't. Ignore it if you don't like it.
  2. humpty dumpty
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    humpty dumpty - August 16, 2014 5:10 pm
    not a double standard at all. The majority of us actually care about our service men and women.
  3. RT750
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    RT750 - August 14, 2014 4:54 am
    My wife was an ER nurse, and calls motorcycles,"donorcycles". My son is a flight paramedic. They have a sick sense of humor, shared with LEOs and EMS. I have no problem with that coping mechanism.

    I ride a motorcycle and know the risks. I do think this is not worthy of front page news. Maybe a small article near the comics would have been more appropriate. I think it is actually a passive-aggressive way of saying you wish bikers would say away. I have no intentions of ever going to Sturgis anyway. I get the message.
  4. Hiker
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    Hiker - August 13, 2014 2:01 pm
    To place this "pool" story on the front page of the journal was totally inappropriate. I am extremely disappointed with the Journal for even publishing the story and then on the front page. Disgusting. Betting on death rates is sickening and reporting on it is even worse.
  5. Silverfox762
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    Silverfox762 - August 13, 2014 10:06 am
    Imagine if this was a pool about how many US service men and women would die this week in Afghanistan- "It's going to happen. There's no harm intended" would get them run out of town on a rail. Horrible double standard.
  6. PED
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    PED - August 12, 2014 10:12 pm
    I agree!
  7. Potatoes Browning
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    Potatoes Browning - August 12, 2014 4:48 pm
    So do they think this was an original idea?? We were doing this at the office 20 years ago.
  8. Black Hawk
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    Black Hawk - August 12, 2014 4:41 pm
    Going into the Rally we speculate on the number of DUIs and deaths. Thinking about it and betting are two different sides of the same coin. Years of living with the Rally brings out a morbid curiosity. In spite of the years of death, whenever Life Flight goes over I think about the lives that have been changed forever.
  9. Fireside
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    Fireside - August 12, 2014 2:16 pm
    This is a sorry excuse for a news article.

    As for the family, I am not bothered in the least.

    What I truly find annoying are all the people who eagerly decide to be offended. It offers them a way to declare their supposed moral superiority. People do that in politics too. It's tedious and pretentious.
  10. dangerous
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    dangerous - August 12, 2014 1:36 pm
    These people must not have ever heard of the concept of "karma". Theirs isn't looking real good right now.
  11. stedjee
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    stedjee - August 12, 2014 1:28 pm
    Can't believe this article was printed. So distasteful and disrespectful. People lost their lives and theses people are making a joke of it. Way to be classy people.
  12. WYOming
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    WYOming - August 12, 2014 12:58 pm
    I don't understand how this qualifies as news. Besides being completely distasteful, it shows your audience that you're completely out if touch with what we would consider a newsworthy story. Journalism at its weakest.
  13. Aliasetc
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    Aliasetc - August 12, 2014 12:53 pm
    The South Dakota Lottery could combine time and number of deaths into a big payoff for the winner. It wouldbe right up the ally of the SD government creeps.
  14. dixon
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    dixon - August 12, 2014 12:03 pm
    Unbelievable, that the city newspaper would stoop so low; and to be front page, headline, top billing. Does money really mean that much that you have to publish insensitive, shocking junk? This isn't disgusting, it is mean, greedy and despicable!
  15. Celtgunn
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    Celtgunn - August 12, 2014 11:57 am
    I guess for someone like me, with a morbid sense of humor, it doesn't "offend" me. My husband works in a career field where people intentionally run towards death. My brother in law does the same. Husband is an EOD tech (Explosive Ordinance Disposal for the military) My brother in law? (EMT/Firefighter) With these people in my life, you grow to have a twisted sense of humor. I know many just don't "get it". I do, Darwinism. Some of you will be offended by it, some of you won't. =) Live, Love, Laugh! ~Be Blessed
  16. YESANOTHER1
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    YESANOTHER1 - August 12, 2014 11:48 am
    Honestly this is funny because its a fact that most of the rallies have had a death! so i see no problems with it!
  17. RCNative20
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    RCNative20 - August 12, 2014 11:15 am
    Nice job, RCJ! Still showing to be the worst source of "news" in this area after all these years!
  18. Oricofl9
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    Oricofl9 - August 12, 2014 10:49 am
    Sign me up next year.
  19. redbird825
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    redbird825 - August 12, 2014 10:34 am
    This is both appalling and disgusting--not only for the family with the "betting pool" , but also the Rapid City Journal for printing this story. I guess no one assumes that the bikers have people that care about them............
  20. rcsd98
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    rcsd98 - August 12, 2014 10:08 am
    As someone who has lost a sibling in a motorcycle accident, I found this article and betting on deaths incredible distasteful. These are people who are killed...not a way for you to make a buck. It minimizes their lives and their deaths.
  21. peanut
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    peanut - August 12, 2014 10:05 am
    Pennington County States Attorney Mark Vargo has made it his mission in life to shut down Football Pools but apparently approves of Dead Biker Pools!
  22. ldazzle
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    ldazzle - August 12, 2014 9:32 am
    Very sad, as is the fact it was published.
  23. marymlr
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    marymlr - August 12, 2014 9:29 am
    This is just plain disgusting. And that the Journal would run this. Come on!
  24. TMan
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    TMan - August 12, 2014 8:51 am
    Nothing wrong with this. Bikers will be bikers.

    Back in 2008 we had a pool on how long it would be before Amy Whinehouse died, I was off by 6 months.
  25. smalls24
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    smalls24 - August 12, 2014 8:17 am
    Why would RCJ run this story on the front page? This is disgusting on both the Journal and the parties involved.
  26. LuvSD
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    LuvSD - August 12, 2014 7:36 am
    Disgusting.
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