Sturgis bike shop pays tribute to rally legend - KOTA Territory News

Sturgis bike shop pays tribute to rally legend

Statue of Pappy Hoel at Gypsies Vintage Motorcycles. Statue of Pappy Hoel at Gypsies Vintage Motorcycles.
Pearl Hoel Pearl Hoel
 A Sturgis motorcycle shop rebounds from a hard winter; benefiting the town's biker heritage at the same time.

Owner Coe Daniel Meyer and workers like specialist Amarae Ploog have been restoring salvaged bikes since a November fire gutted the showroom at Gypsies Vintage Motorcycles. The fire followed the October blizzard that pounded the property.

Now, eight months later, visitors Jeanie and Michael Hickman of Arizona see their riding past in the rebuilt showroom.

Sturgis residents like Alan Freeman also are back at the shop. He's been coming here to talk bike deals since Clarence and Pearl Hoel owned the shop.

"They were the motorcycle people of Sturgis," Freeman said about the Hoels.

Pappy and Pearl started the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club and the Sturgis Rally that's grown from nine racers in the 1930s to today's mammoth gathering of hundreds of thousands of bikers from around the world.

Meyer wanted the Hoels' legacy honored. That's where the blizzard's destruction turned into a blessing.

"It occurred to me that nowhere in this town or anywhere else that I'm aware of, have there been any significant tributes to Clarence Hoel -- Pappy Hoel -- the man who started the rally," Meyer said.

So he added a statue of the larger-than-life Sturgis rally legend.

Freeman likes what he sees. "Hands on hips, ready to deal with it. That's Pappy!"

Meyer says a planned second statue will depict the effervescent Pearl helping greet rally visitors.

Pappy's statue is adorned with a tea leaf lei, a gift from Hawaiian bikers. The figure greets visitors entering Sturgis on Junction Avenue.

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Rapid City, SD 57701

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