STURGIS, SD – Plans for the next sculpture to be placed on Main Street Sturgis is a tribute to a custom motorcycle legend. Community organizers, friends and family hope to place the art piece of Jesse Rooke during the 80th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, August 7-16, 2020.
Described as ‘handy with a welder, quick with a smile,’ Rooke catered to the younger crowd. He showed up in Sturgis in 2006 with his first build, the groundbreaking “Dinah” chopper. In subsequent years he would also bring the groundbreaking KTM-powered retro board tracker, “Darla,” to the Sturgis Rally where the bike took the metric class championship at the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
He lost his life in a motorcycle accident April 5 in Arizona. Longtime friend of the Rooke family Terry Rymer and others reached out to local connections including Tammy Bohn to explore the possibility of a memorial to Rooke.
South Dakota native Benjamin Victor has been commissioned to create the sculpture. He is an Artist-in-Residence and Professor at Boise State University with three works in the National Statuary Hall in the nation’s Capitol. Plans are for the clay sculpting process to be open to the public in Sturgis, once a local building is found for the artist to work.
In addition to the sculpture that will be placed on the corner of Fourth and Main streets, there will also be an electronic kiosk which tells Rooke’s life story.