STURGIS | For Emma Garvin, watching a gleaming custom motorcycle being loaded for transport to a Las Vegas auction next week is akin to a young rancher sending a prized 3-year-old steer to market.
“It’s really mixed emotions,” said Garvin, executive director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. “It’s like a little piece of me is leaving.”
The bike, a custom springer softail, was designed by Sturgis Hall of Fame inductee Keith Terry of Spearfish and built by a handful of Sturgis Brown High School students this past year during the Museum’s inaugural Youth Bike Build Project.
The bike will be rolled across the Mecum Auctions stage on Friday, Jan. 24, with proceeds from the no-reserve sale going to fund a similar Museum project this year, Garvin said.
“The opportunity for the next round of the development of the program is huge. That was the whole point,” said Garvin.
Eight students were chosen for the 2019 youth build project starting last April. They included seniors Dylan Janke, Jace Sims and C.J. Murray, juniors Dean Relf Jr., Cody Nelson and Mason Nash, and freshmen Jadon Kaiser and Race Garvin.
The project started with students split to work on two bike projects, a vintage board track racer along with the more modern custom softail.
The vintage project suffered from the inability to locate workable antique parts, along with the higher costs of both finding or fabricating such parts under the first-year project's limited budget.
Garvin said the track racer project was shelved, for the time being, with participating student builders concentrating on the custom bike build.
“We want the students to continue to work on (the track racer) and gather parts for it,” Garvin said.
Terry, owner of Terry Components of Spearfish, drafted the concept for the custom softail, with Randy Kramer of Dakota V-Twin providing build experience. Another Hall of Fame inductee, Lonnie Isam, donated shop space, tools, and machines for the project.
The list of donated components and services includes: S&S Cycle (engine), Jim’s Machine (6-speed transmission), BDL (open 2-inch belt drive), Paughco Frame (custom springer, swing arm, teardrop tank), RC Components (26-inch front wheel, 23-inch rear wheel, custom wheels and rotors), HHI (lower controls, brake calipers), Arlen Ness (upper controls, mirrors), J&P Cycles (grips, oil, hoses, variety of small items), Namz (wiring harness), Chris Thompson (paint), Flat Earth Art Co. (pinstriping), and Barnett Clutches (clutch and throttle cables).
Additional project support came from Law Tigers, Jason Sims, and Dr. Craig Bailey, Garvin said.
The Youth Build project bike is expected to be auctioned at about 3 p.m. on Jan. 24. The Mecum Auction, at the South Pointe Casino, features about 1,750 motorcycles, with the auction scheduled for tape-delay broadcast on cable channel NBC-SN.
Because the Youth Build Bike is being auctioned for charity, with no reserve, the usual auction fees paid by a seller are also waived, Garvin said.
“We’re very excited to see it go across. It’s been one of the featured bikes because it is a charity bike,” said Garvin, who will attend the live auction along with Terry and other Museum board members.
“We’re hoping to get some big money coming in so we have a bigger pool of funds for future projects,” she said.
Those future projects include the 2020 Youth Bike Build, which gets underway in February. The Museum advertised the project to high school freshmen through seniors throughout the Northern Hills, but as with last year, the only applicants came from Sturgis, Garvin said.
Those completing the bike build project receive scholarships for technical education classes after graduation. Two of last year’s students are now using their scholarships to attend technical school classes, she said.