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Lance Armstrong to Lead Sturgis Mayor’s Ride August 4

In the midst of the open season Sioux Falls motorists have apparently declared on bicyclists, the City of Sturgis® announces an odd choice for grand marshal of the Mayor's Ride during the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™:

The City of Sturgis is very excited to name Lance Armstrong as the official Grand Marshall of the 12th Annual Mayors Ride at the 74th Annual Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™.

The annual Sturgis® Rally Mayors ride is on Monday, August 4th, 2014, and is a fund-raiser for the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department. Join Lance Armstrong, Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen, state and local legislators, industry professionals, motorcycle enthusiasts, other celebrities and legends on a motorcycle ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota. Space is limited. To join the Mayors ride, visit

“There is a large cross-over of cyclists that ride both motorcycles and bicycles. Teaming up with Lance was a natural fit, as he is also an avid motorcyclist.” said Brenda Vasknetz, Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™ Director [SturgisBuzz, Facebook post, 2014.07.22].

I'm glad Armstrong enjoys both forms of two-wheeled activity. But hold on: a large cross-over between motorcycles and bicycles? Neighbors, when's the last time your rode through the rally and saw a conclave of pedalers amidst the Harleys and body-paint peddlers?

The City of Sturgis chose Lance as our Grand Marshall because he represents the American spirit. Lance represents the business owners who have lost it all and are fighting to make a comeback. Lance represents the single mother who works 16 hours a day and has to keep pushing when she has nothing left to give. Lance represents the cancer patient that wants to beat the diagnosis. We understand the controversy that surrounds Lance, but we are willing to meet it head on. The City of Sturgis is about second chances.

Lance will also be making guest appearances at many of the Official Sturgis® Rally Sponsors, the BozBros Lot at Exit 32 and at local businesses such as Sturgis Coffee, Easy Riders Saloon, The Knuckle, Loud American Roadhouse, and Mid-States Campers [SturgisBuzz, 2014.07.22].

Sturgis is about second chances—I haven't heard that town slogan before. But I will look forward to the South Dakota business owners who step forward to say, "Yeah, we cheated, used drugs, and lost it all, but now we're rebuilding our businesses, just like Lance!"


  1. Tim 2014.07.26

    Since when were west river conservative citizens interested in second chances for anybody, except cattle ranchers to stupid or stubborn to listen to the weatherman last October.

  2. mike from iowa 2014.07.26

    Pardon moi while I puke. Armstrong cheated in several aspects of his professional life(and lied about it repeatedly)-not exactly a record that should sprout admiration/drivel espoused above.

  3. Bob Newland 2014.07.26

    Sturgis: Come on vacation. Leave on probation.

  4. SDBlue 2014.07.26

    Lance Armstrong and Ted Nugent at the Sturgis Rally. Two pillars of society. (sarcasm font)

  5. SDTeacher 2014.07.26

    They missed a few of his other primary attributes- not only did he cheat, use drugs and lose everything, but he consistently lied and tried to destroy the people who were honest. Sturgis must be so proud.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.07.26

    On the bright side-the motor city madman isn't in demand to appear with Rs as much as he was last year. Maybe Rs are getting sick of the fauxknee,self professed,all-'murrican pedophile.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.26

    The mayor needs to add Rounds, Daugaard, maybe G. Gordon Liddy and a few other liars, cheats, and felons to round out the group. That would be a proper representation for South Dakota.

    Ted Nugent will be appearing at the Full Throttle Saloon on Aug. 16, there is a Native American movement afoot to protest and boycott the pooper's hate performance.

    Naturally the Full Throttle is defending this poster child of hate on their Facebook page, while deleting comments from Indians.

    This past week the Couer 'd Alene tribal casino in Idaho cancelled a Nugent performance because of his racism, he in turned called Native Americans "vermin", among other things.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.26

    Sorry to be off topic, but this is important.

    The Emerald Queen Casino, owned and operated by the Puyallup Tribe in Washington state, has cancelled an Aug. 2 and 3rd concert with Ted Nugent. The tribe cited Nugent's "racist remarks" as the reason for the cancellation.

    James Magaska Swan of the United Urban Warrior Society is organizing the "Protest Rally Against "Ted Nugent" Concert At The Sturgis Rally On 8/06/14"*.

    The initial date showed the concert on 0816/14 was incorrect and has been since been corrected.

  9. Paul Seamans 2014.07.27

    Doping is bad enough, denying everything and calling his friends and teammates liars is inexcusable.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.27

    Yeah, but Paul, apparently the Sturgis Rally is full of cheaters and liars:

    What happens when you combine 700 cash-only vendors with 500,000 people at America's largest motorcycle rally?

    You create a recipe for easy tax evasion.

    At least that's the fear of Sturgis city officials, who believe this year's Sturgis motorcycle rally, set to begin officially on Aug. 4, will offer yet another opportunity for scores of tattoo artists, T-shirt sellers, and other temporary merchants to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and city sales taxes.

    "This has been an ongoing concern of the city, depending on who you talk to, for probably more than 20 years," said Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis city manager [Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, "Sturgis Officials Urge State to Crack Down on Tax Evasion During Rally," Rapid City Journal, 2014.07.27].

  11. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.27

    Ted Nugent is a nasty, reprehensible piece of humanity - more or less on the humanity part.

    He and Armstrong are not good ambassadors/role models/ spokespersons. I can't help but think Sturgis can do better. However, if one wishes to promote an outlaw, immoral, lawless type of image, well those two are top notch.

  12. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.27

    Sturgis could add Mike Prieffer to the list. He's the MN Vikings special teams coach who advocated mass nuclear death for all LBTG people on the planet. When he was called on it by punter Chris Kluwe, he lied about what he said repeatedly, publicly, and energetically. "I vehemently deny" saying that, Prieffer said.

    When caught in his lies, those paragons of public virtue, the Vikings (or any NFL team), really came down on him by instantly firing him! I wish. The Vikings actual response was a 2 game suspension and keeping the entire investigation results secret. What upstanding citizens!

    Yeah, I think Prieffer, Vikings general manager Rick Speilman, and owner Zygi Wilf, all ought to be added to the roster of role models headlining the Rally.


  13. Donald Pay 2014.07.27

    I actually kind of like the idea of Armstrong as Grand Marshall. He's done a lot for charity, and western South Dakotans like folks who get knocked off their horse, or motorcycle or bike, and get back on. I like the statement they put out, too. "The City of Sturgis is about second chances." Gosh, is western SD turning into a bunch of liberals? Probably not, but, yeah, that's part of why western SD is so interesting. Even the conservatives can be great guys at times.

  14. Jenny 2014.07.27

    Doping is prevalent in the competitive athlete world. I'm not saying what he did was okay, but from what I've read and heard it's pretty common.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.27

    Doping is one of the reasons I'm less interested in watching professional sports and more interested in just doing sports myself, like going for a ride or a run. Hey, that reminds me... [cloud of dope-free dust hovers briefly near the blog desk].

  16. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.27

    Donald Pay,

    I like the idea of second chances and comebacks, they are usually great stories. But does that include honoring them as a a parade grand marshal when you haven't seen what they have done to better their lives?

  17. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.27

    Good point Roger.

    I find the doping so disappointing. I grew up watching baseball in the summer and football in the winter on tv. On a farm in the middle of SD, there weren't many other options. Now I watch much less. That's because of the doping, the gratuitous violence, and the exorbitant salaries. So disappointing.

  18. bearcreekbat 2014.07.29

    You all really surprise me. Lance Armstrong ingested unlawful substances and now you demonize him and call him immoral. Would you do the same thing to a South Dakota cancer victim who got caught ingesting medical marijuana? How about a South Dakotan who likes illegal recreational marijuana? How about a recovering heroin/meth/cocaine addict?

    So what if a competitor ingests some substance into his or her body to improve his or her skills. Who does this harm besides the user, if even that? Many of Madville's commentors seemed to recognize the absurdity, indeed cruelty, of the drug war, yet treat Armstrong as if he is a pariah equal to Ted Nugent. Sure, Armstrong broke the rules, but the rules he broke seem pretty archaic and stupid. Lighten up folks, stop calling our fellow human beings "dopers" and open your eyes - using illegal drugs, whether for pain relief, pleasure, or to get big ugly muscles, is not a moral failing on the part of the user, it is a policy failure of the society that decided to enact laws to control what an adult decides to ingest into his or her own body.

  19. Lynn 2014.07.29

    bearcreekbat it's a little more complicated in regards to Lance Armstrong. Cycling is the #2 sport in Europe after Soccer or European Football.

    Lance's sophisticated doping routine didn't just affect him personally but the outcome of the races such as the Tour de France and other high profile races. It changed the dynamics of racing with a significant unfair advantage to those riders racing clean. The clean riders were not competitive. Those drugs didn't just affect speed, power, aerobic and anaerobic capability but also a very key element being recovery and being able to compete at peak level the next day in a long grueling season. It's one of the toughest sports out there.

    The rampant drug use almost destroyed the sport with it's lost credibility and sponsorship which can be very lucrative to the winners. Prior to the cleanup of drug use in cycling in recent years there had been a long history in the sport of performance enhancing drugs where riders died during races and off season they would be at some remote Caribbean island drying out but many paid a price with their health from doping.

  20. Bill Fleming 2014.07.29

    Bearcreekbat, as I understand it, the main thing Armstrong did was to inject himself with a surplus of his own blood. This apparently increases one's endurance and performance somehow. I too had a hard time understanding why it would be illegal, but apparently it's quite dangerous to the athlete, wouldn't be good for young athletes to emulate, and is thus illegal for health reasons.

  21. bearcreekbat 2014.07.29

    Bill, I think that society adopted a similar rationale - illegal for health reasons - for marijuana and the rest of the illegal drugs. Your link identifies some dangers, but they don't seem any worse than the danger of smoking cigarettes of drinking alcohol. And the history of the prohibition is interesting, since this type of enhancement was not against the rules until 1985 or 1986. Indeed, the link points out that "Following the 1984 Summer games it was revealed that one-third of the U.S. cycling team had received blood transfusions before the games, where they won nine medals, their first medal success since the 1912 Summer Olympics." It looks an awful lot like this prohibition was imposed as part of the war on drugs mentality existing in the mid-80's.

  22. bearcreekbat 2014.07.29

    Lynn, it seems the problem is not using performance enhancing drugs at all, rather, it is cheating at a contest. So instead of calling Armstrong a "doper" perhaps he should be called a cheater. If the use of these performance enhancing drugs was not against the rules, then each rider would have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to use the drugs. That is why the rule seems unfair and counterproductive.

    In any event, does cheating in a bike race make the rider morally inferior to people who break the law against using marijuana. That seems a form of cheating, especially among sick people, since the user illegally obtains relief from pain while the more honest law-abiding citizen does not and must suffer the consequences (some might argue the consequences of having to live with pain and other debilitating conditions is a more severe consequence than losing a bike race).

  23. Lynn 2014.07.29

    Lance was a cheater but he was not alone. In recent times when the cycling governing body realized how much dangerous doping was and how it gave a significant and unfair advantage they made it illegal.

    Keep in mind bicycle racing was big from the late 1800's to modern times so many things were tried and used to gain advantage. Poor farm kids in Europe or the US could make a great deal of money racing the dangerous sport of bike racing in the early 1900's going into the 20's for example so there was a lot at stake.

    Later it was all about having the most sophisticated undetectable system that was always trying to be technically ahead of detection methods.

    Those riders who race clean sacrificed to get to that level to compete. They and those that invest in the sport have every right to be angry against those who cheat.

    Personally I see a big difference from those people who break the law using marijuana and those who cheat such as Lance Armstrong.

  24. Bill Fleming 2014.07.29

    Cheating is more like it, BCB. Games only work when everybody follows the rules. That said, I think its also a function of the social contract for us to protect one another from harming ourselves. Okay, go ahead, call me a nanny stater. I can take it. ;-)

  25. bearcreekbat 2014.07.29

    Bill, it seems important to frame an objection accurately. If we object to Armstrong because he is a "doper," then that same objection seems to apply to everyone using illegal substances, including medical marijuana. I doubt that is the message Madvillians really want to send.

    And as you recognize, we are talking about "games." Sure cheating by not following the rules of a "game" is inappropriate. Armstrong got caught, and lost his medals - he paid the price for violating a rule by his conduct, the same conduct that lawfully won nine American Olympic medals in 1984.

    The law distinguishes between acts that are "mala in se" and "mala prohibita." The former acts are illegal because society condemns them as intrinsically immoral behavior - like murder, rape theft, etc. The latter are illegal because society declared the act to be prohibited - like parking violations and drug laws - but not because they are immoral acts. Armstrong's cheating by using performance enhancing drugs falls in the latter category, his use of these drugs or techniques simply does not qualify as an intrinsically immoral act. Hence, demonizing him for this type of "cheating" seems over the top to me.

  26. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.29

    I think I follow what you are saying, BCB. Here is my feeling about this:

    I am an athlete and have competed on levels from local to national for more than 40 years. I love the competition, whether I'm playing or watching. I love all the mental challenges and strength, which is more crucial to success than the physical. The physical part is indeed important, but limited physical inequalities can be overcome by the competitors with the greater strength of mind.

    When a competitor or team cheats by breaking the rules in some way, the entire notion of competition, the challenge, is all destroyed. For me that means that the effort of one woman, or man, to overcome all the odds, is made a mockery. The individual or team who dedicated themselves to a goal are denied the reward they deserve.

    Not only did Lance Armstrong embarrass and make suspect all American bikers, he sullied the entire sport. His desire to compete was overrun by a narcissistic greed for records. Seven participants in the Tour de France were cheated out of their opportunity to reap the rewards of years, months and weeks of devotion and deprivation focusing on one goal every time Armstrong "won."

    I feel the same way about Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemons, among other baseball players. I feel that cheaters such as them ought to feel ashamed of what they've done. I'm very glad that the voters for baseball's Hall of Fame are apparently disinclined to vote the cheaters in.

    I have an affinity for fair contests. I believe competitors should follow the rules established to uphold equal opportunities to all competitors. If the athlete doesn't like the rule, she should change it, rather than secretly break it.

  27. Bill Fleming 2014.07.29

    I had a friend in Yankton College named Lyle Alzado who later played for the Denver Broncos. His use of steroids killed him. He was a lot of kids' hero. Before he died, he made a plea for young athletes not to follow in his footsteps, because it's not worth it.

    Like you I'm not big on moral judgements. People make mistakes. But at the end of the day, I think Lyle did the right thing, after many years of doing the wrong thing.

    Maybe that's what you're saying about Lance. He's come clean, now let's move on. Life is short.

  28. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.29

    Yeah, I remember Alzado. Sad story.

  29. Lynn 2014.07.29

    I remember Lyle Alzado too and how fierce of a player he was for the Raiders right?

    Tom Simpson a very popular British cyclist died during the 1967 TdF

    Quite a few professional cyclist who used performance enhancing drugs died of cancer, their lives were shortened and others it mentally screwed them up as a result of the culture then to gain an advantage.

  30. mike from iowa 2014.07.29

    If memory serves,steroids weren't banned when McGwire used them and I thought he said he used them to help recover from injuries. He also had corrective lenses made because his vision was poor. Big Mac hit a record 49 homers his rookie year and was not accused of juicing then or for several injury filled years afterwards. I also believed he stopped taking steroids when they were banned,something Bonds did not do. That is my opinion. McGwire will always be one of the best big sluggers in my mind regardless of how he is ultimately judged.

  31. mike from iowa 2014.07.29

    bearcreekbat-I'll take the hard one because I'm not afraid of a challenge. From Legally Blonde(mala in se vs mala prohibita)

  32. bearcreekbat 2014.07.29

    Bill, exactly - Armstrong has come clean, let's move on. I do not seek to justify his actions, rather, I seek to encourage people to stop demonizing him for his misconduct. What he did certainly was not justifiable, but in my view it was not an immoral act. And while I agree with Deb that his victories wrongfully denied his competitors glory, apparently his multiple victories also inspired many young folks. I don't golf, but Tiger Woods' multiple successes fired up an interest in the game for me.

    I also agree that when someone harms himself or herself by using any kind of drugs, it is a sad event. When we compete, however, why should the rules limit the efforts of our competitor to improve his or her abilities to the maximum? A rule against using performance enhancing drugs makes no more sense than a rule against excessive practicing to prepare for competition, studying your opponent through videotapes for weaknesses, building your body through exercise or weight lifting, or in chess, studying openings that your opponent seems to be weak in. What's next, controlling your opponent's diet to make sure he or she doesn't consume more protein than anyone else?

    And if you choose not to use these drugs, exercise more, control your diet, or study chess openings, but your opponent chooses the opposite, you simply need to step up your game to a level where you can win against the opponent despite his or her extra efforts. And it seems worth repeating - it is only a game.

  33. Bill Fleming 2014.07.29

    LOL. Okay, BCB. And what about bionics! (just kidding... I'm imagining again. Always dangerous.)

  34. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.29

    BCB, is it all right for competitors to ingest substances that might harm them? It seems to me that's what you are saying. So if I'm going to compete with a drug user on equal footing, then must I risk my life and health to do so? That doesn't sound like good competition to me. Sports carries enough risks to body and mind without adding various performance enhancing drugs to the mix.

    I suggest that sports follow the direction of professional weight lifters. One competition will be only for the drug users. The other will be restricted to the "natural" competitors. (I think those are the terms they used.) Fair competition for all. What do you think?

  35. bearcreekbat 2014.07.30

    Deb, yes I think it is alright for a mentally competent adult to ingest substances that have the potential to harm, so long as they know of the dangers. If a seller knows a substance is dangerous but presents it as something benign, however, the seller should be held criminally and civilly liable for any harm to the user - much like our current products liability laws.

    I like your example of weight lifters. That makes using such substances out in the open where it belongs.

  36. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.30

    Thanks Bear. I can agree with the emphasis on being clear about the risks and the liability issue. Imagine the disclaimers for LSD for example! Crazy.

  37. bearcreekbat 2014.08.01

    Scott Feldman offered an inspired defense of the selection of Armstrong in an Aug 1, 2014, RC Journal article at page C5. He raised points that none of us discussed in this thread. According to Feldman, Armstrong has apparently established a foundation for cancer research, raising an estimated half billion dollars for research and treatment. Feldman makes the argument that had not Armstrong cheated, he would not have won so many races, gained international fame, and would never had the ability to create a foundation to make an impact in the fight against cancer.

    Perhaps this is evidence that we should not be so quick to condemn someone caught cheating, as if the cheating is the only factor in his life that deserves consideration.

  38. Lynn 2014.08.01

    bearcreekbat I believe that article refers to LiveStrong that Lance founded after he had testicular cancer and almost died. If I remember correctly while in the hospital he confessed to his close friends that he had used EPO it probably caused the cancer. This is so long ago now that I believe that confession was later used by his former close friends at his trial. I used to keep up with all this years ago and my memory has lapsed.

    I don't like what Lance did and I suspected long ago he was "juiced up" winning but there were plenty of other riders doing it at the time even though the governing bodies were doing what they could to catch and penalize these riders to clean up the sport. It really hurt the sport as a result and is just recovering now. Overall there were some very good things that happened with Lance's success and there were some bad ones too. Lance has paid for what he has done and I wish him well.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.01

    Bad behavior made it possible for a man to gain wealth and fame and thus do good... I feel a Sanford argument coming on!

  40. bearcreekbat 2014.08.01

    Cory, that is just what Andrew Carnegie did. Indeed, even the Koch brothers do some good.

    Armstrong's improper behavior, however, pales when compared to Carnegie and the Koch brothers. Sanford's exploitation of risky borrowers also seems to pale compared to Carnegie's handing of the Homestead strike and his atrocious treatment of steel laborers. Indeed it is somewhat difficult to demonize the Koch brothers simply because they fund political groups that advocate for policies we might disagree with. But Armstrong, all he did was join and best all the other cheaters in bicycle races.

  41. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.01

    BCB, I don't think good behavior excuses bad, otherwise everyone would be singing the praises of the Roman Catholic Church and there would be no lawsuits.

    Lance Armstrong is no more black and white than Andrew Carnegie or Bill Gates. My opinion is that the Rally leadership should have and probably could have found someone without worldwide notoriety.

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