Live to ride; ride to eat pork

by Erica Shaffer
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The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, or so they say, and perhaps just as true is that the way to a biker’s heart is through a free pork sandwich.

Playing on the "hog" nickname motorcyclists like to give to their biggest, fattest, noisiest bikes, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council will be a presence at this year’s huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., scheduled for July 31-Aug. 8, giving away hundreds of pounds of pork in the form of free pork loin sandwiches. It’s the fourth year the Council has been involved with Rally Week, which dates back to 1938 and now draws nearly a million people to Sturgis for organized rides, concerts and expos featuring everything the motorcycle-loving pork-eater could possibly want.

According to Stacey Sorlien, spokeswoman for the council, the group’s participation in the rally has a serious side. "It’s an excellent way to hit a lot of people from a lot of different states all at one time," she told MEATPOULTRY.com. "Besides the sandwiches, we give out recipe cards, and this year we’re giving away $2-off coupons that are good for pork purchases anywhere in the country." As council staff slice barbecued tenderloins and serve up the sandwiches, South Dakota pork producers talk about the "benefits and general goodness of pork" to motorcyclists gathered for the free food. ("The first question we almost always get is, ‘Free? Really?’, says Sorlien. "Yes, the sandwiches are free.")

The South Dakota Council also hosts an annual trade show, a "taste of elegance" dinner, and participates in National Pork Month activities in October, but nothing is on the scale of Rally Week, said Sorlien. "We’ll give away 500 pounds of pork sandwiches in a day at just one location." She said she’s not aware of any other state pork council that has a connection with a motorcycle event like the Sturgis rally.

As she packed up to leave in the morning for this year’s rally, she commented: "It’s a lot of fun for us. You meet so many people from so many different places, and maybe some of those people might be a little wary or something and then they try the sandwiches and talk to our producers and maybe they go home thinking, ‘I really want to try more of this.’ You can almost see it in their faces."

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