There has always been a certain allure about motorcycles. Even after they have become a fixture on roads everywhere they still evoke a sense of freedom, rugged individualism, and danger. It is that aura of mystique that has enthralled Dan Jacobson Sr. aka “Dangerous Dakota Dan”, well-known motorcycle celebrity emcee, ever since he was twelve and still holds him in its thrall to this day. This passion inspired him to spearhead the first ever downtown motorcycle show to be held in Fargo, the result of a partnership between the Fargo VFW and the Downtown Community Partnership.
“I like the challenge that they always provide for the rider,” said Jacobson, expounding on the irresistible mystique of the motorcycle. “If you can master a motorcycle, you can master anything.” This feeling of confidence that motorcycles inspire in their riders is another reason, Jacobson thinks, for their popularity, especially among American veterans. Jacobson is hardly a stranger to motorcycle events, having helped run four Sturgis events. In fact, he was preparing for another motorcycle show in Springfield, Illinois when I sat down to interview him. As mentioned before, however, the American Veteran Motorcycle Show will be the first event of its kind to be held in downtown Fargo.
The timing, in Jacobson’s opinion, couldn’t be any better. With an influx of people in Fargo for the Fargo National Veteran Cemetery dedication and the Bison vs Hawks football game also taking place on Saturday, September 7th, there will be even more people to come enjoy the festivities. The event takes place at Broadway on 2nd Avenue and heads North up Robert’s Alley to Dempsey’s. Opening ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. with Moorhead Mayor Jonathan Judd, the Fargo VFW Color Guard, and a live national anthem.
Jacobson Sr., of course, will be in charge of the action, but his son Dan Jacobson Jr. aka “Danja”, a TC Hooligans Motorcyle Racer and X Games athlete will be a guest motorsports grand marshal as well. All motorcycles are welcomed until spots are filled. There will be a number of static displays of motorcycles, including a Harley-Davidson display from the El Zagals and another from Fargo Harley-Davidson. There will also be foreign and rare motorcycle specimens, such as the incredibly rare RS-750 Honda flat track racer being presented by M3 Racing, a model that Jacobson stated was very famous in the 1990s. All sorts of awards are being offered throughout the event, including the Best of Show, Basket Case, People’s Choice, and Mayor’s Favorite.
Static motorcycle displays are only part of the action at the event, however. Grant County Choppers of Herman, Minnesota will be bringing a dynamometer, a device that will allow attendees to do full-throttle engine checks on their motorcycles. “Chain-Saw Dave”, a chainsaw artist, will be making sculptures in front of live audiences. The Fargo VFW BBQ will be supplying concessions, as well as the other downtown eateries. The event is family friendly and open to all ages.
By being open to all ages, Jacobson hopes to pique an interest in motorcycles in younger generations as well as to put motorcycles into a “friendly vision”. Despite being a regular fixture of American roads for over 50 years, Jacobson feels that there is still some distrust and suspicion regarding motorcycles. He chalks up negative public perception to the prevalence of (oftentimes criminal in nature) biker gangs like the infamous Hell’s Angels. He feels the image created by these groups is inaccurate and overshadows the diversity of motorcycle enthusiasts that actually exist.
The American Veteran Motorcycle Show offers what promises to be an information and fun experience both for longtime enthusiasts and newcomers who don’t know a Harley from a Honda. If you’re already planning to be out and about this Saturday it’s hard to go wrong adding this to your itinerary.
IF YOU GO:
American Veterans Motorcycle Show
Saturday, September 7, 2-8 p.m.
Downtown VFW, 202 N Broadway, Fargo