For the past few years, I look forward to one bike show at the Sturgis Rally more than most, the Sportster Showdown put on by the Led Sled crew. For the most part, this show seems to fly under the radar at the rally...well, maybe it doesn’t so much fly under the radar as just exist outside of the “mainstream” Sturgis crowd. And that's perfectly fine with me.

The show is put on by the Sportster specialists over at Led Sled and is for the venerable Harley model only. The Sportster has, after all, been in production every year since 1957. Set on the Camp Zero grounds with our fresh Hooligan Hill Climb as a backdrop, the laid-back show features every kind of build you can imagine. Choppers, hooligan race bikes, scramblers, tourers, even an Arlen Ness original digger was in this year’s show, once again demonstrating the versatility of the XL platform and driving home my point that the Sportster is indeed the best H-D ever made. (Read my argument for this statement in my The Sportster is the Best Harley Ever Made - Change My Mind article)

The Camp Zero setting out at the Legendary Buffalo Chip was the absolute best venue for this show. Much like Camp Zero the show has very few rules (or clothes) and is welcoming to any and all who roll in on the mighty Sportster. It’s got that throwback vibe upon which the Sturgis Rally was founded. Admission is free, bike entry is free and BBQ sandos were free, leaving plenty of cash left to hammer down cold ones from the friendly Camp Zero bartenders. The Sailor Jerry squad kept things well lubricated while we basked in the glow of the hooligan hill climb from just hours before, did a little bench racing and took in some Sportster eye candy. Come to think of it, this may have been the best day of the whole damn rally.

The 2019 Sportster Showdown was graced with the presence of a Sportster digger built by the man himself, Arlen Ness.