Monday, August 16, 2010

Check us out in Korea!

STURGIS -- People in Japan, South Korea and China will soon have a taste of the Sturgis rally without having to come to Sturgis, courtesy of a new company, SturgisAsia.

The company, headed by Tom Bandy, has a booth at the Motorcycle Expo next to the Sturgis Community Center on Lazelle Street.

Bandy, of Rochester, Minn., has been a rally licensee for a dozen years and has been attending the rally for nearly 40 years.

“I had a dream to bring Sturgis to the rest of the world,” Bandy said.

It has taken him a few years, but his organization now has its first trip planned: It is heading to South Korea Sept. 17-21.

SturgisAsia will fly participants and their motorcycles to South Korea.

The program in South Korea will include a hill climb, a mini moto cross, a rock concert, a traditional Korean performance, a custom bike show and a biker fashion show, plus plenty of riding through the South Korean countryside.

He said he figures to draw tens of thousands of South Koreans to the events.

“They’re gobbling up western culture,” Bandy said of the South Koreans.

In South Korea, the tour will hold a Support the Troops Day for American and South Korean military. Accompanied by American service personnel, the tour group will ride up to the demilitarized zone, Bandy said. He said he visited a military base in South Korea and commanders are enthusiastic about the visit.

VIPs signed up for the first trip include custom builders Arlen Ness, Cory Ness, Eddie Trotta, Dave Perewitz and Donnie Smith, as well as Harley-Davidson artist Scott Jacobs and Michele Smith, host of “American Thunder” on the Speed Channel.

Next year, SturgisAsia will take a group of bikers to South Korea and Japan. In 2012, it plans to visit South Korea, Japan and China. And in 2013, it will add Australia to the tour.

Bandy said he didn’t know how many people were signed up to make the trip.

The South Korea trip runs about $3,500 for two people, according to the SturgisAsia web site. But Bandy said prices vary, depending on the travel package chosen.

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