Thanks to those who joined us at the S&S Cycle 55th Anniversary Celebration!
Great times were had by all during the S&S Cycle 55th Anniversary Celebration. On June 21st, George B. Smith, son of S&S company founder George J. Smith and president of the S&S Cycle board of directors, kicked it off with some opening words about the 55th Anniversary event and the company's 55 year history. Next to welcome the crowd was current company president, Steve Iggens, who talked about S&S Cycle today and the high school bike building program. While several of the best regional bands performed, the crowd grew bigger as many anticipated the unveiling of the five student bike builds featuring S&S X-Wedge engines. To get the scoop on each of the schools, see the interviews with the student builders and their teachers by clicking on the videos below. Ending the night, The Outlaws took to the stage with their own brand of high octane southern rock, and sent the audience home with the echos of the amplifiers ringing in their ears.
Saturday morning, only the hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts got on their bikes and tried to outride the storms brewing in the Coulee and Driftless regions on June 22nd. After a one hour tour of the scenic Driftless Region, riders parked at the S&S Ranch in Viola, WI and made their way to the pancake breakfast, prepared and served by the Kickapoo High School Track Club. After the stomach filling meal, it is always a good idea to walk, so everyone lined up to get the S&S Manufacturing and Product Development tour. Our knowledgeable tour guides (S&S employees) gave an insider’s peek into the world we work in everyday. Fans of S&S Cycle were enthusiastic to have their questions answered by the people who build the parts for their motorcycles.
Gathering at the roundtable (not literally round) were people we call “Racing Legends” because of their long standing career accomplishments in the v-twin racing world. From the Bonneville Salt Flats to the drag strip, these legends shared memories about their relationship with S&S Cycle and experiences only a few can relate.
After meeting the Racing Legends, attendees made their way through the newly remodeled S&S Museum. Here, we proudly share our history over the past 55 years. The museum layout was designed to be a path through time, so that a walk through tells the story of S&S Cycle from the 1940’s to the present day. Historically significant motorcycles, machines, trophies, and memorabilia, along with familiar and never seen before photographs, give the visitor a sense of the hard work, perseverance, and innovation that made S&S what it is today. The new S&S museum can be viewed by appointment during business hours nearly anytime during the year. S&S asks that if your group is interested in a museum visit and/or plant tour that you contact Dana Durst at S&S (608-627-0701 or) to make arrangements.
Meanwhile, back at the Oktoberfest Grounds in La Crosse, WI, the crowd gathered around the Squidwheelies Motorcycle Stunt Team who showed off their skills in trick riding, followed by our own burnout show on the S&S powered Morgan 3 Wheeler. George and Steve appeared on stage in the afternoon and talked about the S&S NHRA racing program. A video of a number of racers in the NHRA Pro Stock Bike class, congratulating S&S Cycle and thanking them for giving them the power to win! Team Arana, powered by the S&S PS160 engine, currently is positioned to take the championship in the class.
As evening drew near, with three storms headed our way, everyone gathered in the shelter, but it wasn’t the coming rain that drew them in. It was the sweet sounds of the guitar coming from The Eric Tessmer Band of Austin, Texas.
Before the much anticipated performance by Foghat, Jay Allen, our master of ceremonies, recognized and thanked all the men and women who serve our country during the Circle of Honor and Military Bike Showcase. As Taps was played for our fallen countrymen, many of the audience could not hold back the tears. Foghat's performance was the grand finale at the Oktoberfest Grounds.
For those who still looking for some action after the midnight closing at the Oktoberfest Grounds, The Eric Tessmer Band threw it down again in a more intimate setting at Howie’s Bar in La Crosse, WI, closing it down at 2:30 am.
S&S Cycle wishes to thank everyone who helped make our 55th Anniversary Celebration June 21st & 22nd a success. The list of people and organizations contributing to this event is long, and we appreciate all the help. Special mention has to go to the City of La Crosse, the La Crosse Oktoberfest Committee, Midwest Family Broadcasting, and the students who built the show bikes that were the centerpiece of the celebration.
We would also like to thank Jay Allen, our master of ceremonies, and our headline entertainers: Foghat, The Outlaws, The Eric Tessmer Band, and all the exceptional regional acts who entertained us during the two day event. Thanks to all the S&S employees and volunteers whose dedication and hard work literally made this event happen. A special thanks also goes to the racers and motorcycle industry figures who participated in the Racer’s Roundtable in Viola. Most of all, we want to thank the people who came out to celebrate with us. You’ve all helped to make this a memorable event.
In addition to a great party, the S&S 55th Anniversary Celebration benefitted The Greater La Crosse Area Boys And Girls Club, and the Kickapoo High School Athletic Association in the form of financial contributions and greater public awareness. The Boys and Girls Club received a check from S&S for $1000 and the Kickapoo High School Athletic Association received the proceeds from the pancake breakfast they put on at the S&S plant in Viola.
We’d also like to thank the weatherman for providing a perfect weekend – Just kidding!