Troops in Iraq Take Part in Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
August 7, 2007
CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Army News Service, Aug. 7, 2007) - Soldiers from the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division here managed to attend the 67th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D.
Well, not exactly.
But thanks to a live satellite feed and the ability to watch events at the rally via streaming video, the Ironhorse Soldiers had the next best thing to being at the extravaganza, which draws more than a 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts each year to the small town with a population of about 6,000 people.
The Aug. 6 live video feed allowed Soldiers the opportunity to see events happening in Sturgis. Through a satellite connection, bikers at the rally in Sturgis could see what the Soldiers were doing as well.
The event sponsored by the Broken Spoke Saloon provided live entertainment for the troops in the form of a band along with motorcycle-themed events which Soldiers on Camp Taji watched on a big screen.
Soldiers who are bikers took the opportunity to give shout-outs to fellow bikers in Sturgis as well as to send messages to their families.
The Ironhorse Brigade also provided some live entertainment to its troops in the form of a rock band here, which played for 30 minutes prior to the events in Sturgis kicking off.
"This type of event brings peoples' spirits and morale up, giving us a little taste of home," said Pfc. Valentin Alvarado, an infantryman with the 1st BCT. "The fact that the folks in Sturgis took the time to set this up for us shows they appreciate what we're doing here."
"It feels nice to be a part of something like this. The only thing missing is some barbeque and it would feel exactly like home," said Pfc. Thomas Gutierrez, also with the 1st BCT.
Both Soldiers, while not motorcyclists, are part of a low-rider bicycle club on Camp Taji and were able to show off their highly polished bikes via live video to the folks in Sturgis.
"We like to show off our bikes - we think it's great for our bike club to be able to have the opportunity to participate in this," said Pfc. Gutierrez, who explained that the club takes great pride in their bikes in much the same way that motorcycle enthusiasts take pride in their machines.
"Being able to interact with folks in Sturgis makes us feel good, especially with us being out here in a combat zone," said Sgt. Chris Delacruz of the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, who is also a member of the low-rider club. "It helps break up the monotony of working eight to 12 hours a day with no days off and allows us to relieve a lot of stress."
(Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp serves with 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs.)