A dusty race up the hill
A traditional event — competition much like the Wing Rodeo I wrote about last week — only different.
The annual Father’s Day Hill climb by the Dakota Riders at Valley City pits local riders against each other and nature — in this case, a hill. The goal for the smaller bikes is to see how far up the hill they can get. The larger more powerful bikes challenge each other to get to the hill the fastest. In all cases, it’s man and machine against nature — this hill.
It’s a subculture of note, these North Dakotans who gather at the base of the hill to socialize and to watch the events. They share a commonality of a love of motorcycles and the motorcycle lifestyle. But that’s about where it ends because they come in all sizes and shapes.
Still, a warm Sunday afternoon, good people good entertainment and good competition make the Fathers Day Hill Climb one of my annual events. I used to shoot the competition and that only.
Now I see there’s a whole lot more to the event, and that’s the people, and in some cases the motorcycles. It’s not a drunk fest like some motorcycle events, it’s much more family oriented so there are plenty of good photo ops.
Sometimes I think as a photographer I forget to look at the whole picture. I get so focused I miss the best stories to be told by photo — the people and the crowds.
You can check out more images of the Hill Climb in the photo garage at www.kickstandsupnd.com
Have you been there to the Hill climb?
That’s the only way to get this thing started up the hill, and hopefully over the top . It’s a race against gravity. It’s like a drag race, only vertical instead of horizontal.
The annual Father’s Day Dakota Riders mc Hill Climb in Valley city could not have had better weather this year for competitors and spectators. Club brothers line the track to catch both rider and machine if they don’t make the top. Because if they don’t gravity wins and all will descend back to the starting blocks if they’re not caught.
DR catcher runs to save a rider
I’ve made it to three of the annual hill climbs and would catch more, but well, you know North Dakota isn’t exactly known for its formidable hills on which to cut a challenging tug-of-war against gravity. These riders come from all over the upper plains states to catch this hill, so it must be a good enough competition to warrant such attendance.
The only other hill climb I’ve attended is the Jack Pine Gypsies hill climb during the annual Sturgis rally, but it doesn’t allow spectators to get as up close and personal as does this one in Valley City.