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Mat Matthess

Callie Schmidt, Journal correspondent

Mat Matthess has gotten attention ever since he grew a beard. During the winter, children will often stare at him, waiting for a sled and reindeer to appear. 

The 76-year-old retired pharmacist may not be Santa Claus, but he's definitely a Sturgis motorcycle rally regular. He's been coming to the rally since 1982. 

"I love riding motorcycles," Matthess said. "This is some of the best riding in the world."

Matthess is from Iowa City, Iowa. He served in the U.S. Navy. He's also collected a wide array of souvenirs from past rallies, which were displayed proudly on his jacket Tuesday afternoon on Main Street in Deadwood. 

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Matthess says people will come up to him and ask to take pictures of his beard. But he enjoys the rally for more than the attention. The years have given him plenty of stories. 

Once, Matthess saw someone who rode down from Canada to the rally wearing white jeans — not exactly a way to fit in with the black leather crowd. 

Matthess came to the 77th rally on his 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide trike. He counted how many motorcycles he's ever owned. The number was at least 16. 

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