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Sturgis Documentary Rides One Last Time During Museum’s Motorcycle Exhibit

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The world’s most famous motorcycle rally begins in August, but you can get there on Saturday, July 21st without even leaving Indiana.

The 2005 documentary "Why Sturgis?" plays one last time as part of the "Steel Ponies: Art and History of the Motorcycle" exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN.

The final showing of “Why Sturgis?” will be on Saturday, July 21, at 11am. Doors open at 10am; film and exhibit is free with price of museum admission. Indiana residents Martin Schliessmann and John Brune created the 89-minute movie about the history of Sturgis, South Dakota, and will introduce the film.

Sturgis, SD hosts the world's oldest and largest motorcycle rally, but it is also shares history with Native Americans, U.S. Army soldiers, agriculture, and our National Anthem. "Why Sturgis?" takes an unprecedented look at this rural Black Hills community, featuring the first complete biography of the town's namesake, as well as the rally’s beginnings, tourism economy, and an opportunity to see this small town of 7,000 residents who annually hosts 500,000 bikers.

A major part of the movie includes the first biography of town's namesake Col. Samuel D. Sturgis (a Civil War General and full Colonel of the 7th Cavalry at the time of Little Bighorn). Most people know of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, but did you know that Sturgis was his boss at the time?

The heart of the documentary includes one of the last interviews with the late Pearl Hoel, known as “The First Lady of Sturgis” and rally co-founder in 1938. Other interviews include: Mayor of Sturgis; South Dakota Tourism Director; Fort Meade Museum historian/curator; sculptor and former Sturgis resident; Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club member; bikers; tourists; merchants and more.

“As Hoosiers, we are proud to have our production presented at our most spectacular museum on Western and Native American cultures,” says Schliessmann. “It is also a privilege to be part of this wonderful Steel Ponies exhibit and experience, as part of their special programming weekends once a month. We always hoped our film would be embraced in the museum environment as our movie helps bridge that western historical experience and motorcycle culture. The Eiteljorg staff has done an outstanding job putting together this Steel Ponies event.”

Schliessmann and Brune are currently working on a film documenting American wine history and our Indiana wineries to finalize in 2013.

Steel Ponies exhibit will continue to run through August 5, 2012. "Why Sturgis?" DVDs available for purchase at the museum store. Details of Steel Horse exhibition at and "Why Sturgis?" at


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