– By #Powder House Lodge
As the Rally quickly approaches, a feeling of excitement fills the hearts of many in the area similar to the excitement felt by children on Christmas Eve. The anticipation of the annual gathering conjures memories of concerts attended, epic rides and good times with old friends from years past. For many, the Sturgis rally is much like a family reunion, a family of upwards of 1 million members.
And it’s no different at the Powder House. The rally is an opportunity to celebrate and share good times with our friends and rally family. Several groups, who have become as much a part of our summers as our returning crew, have called the Powder House their home for the Rally for more than two decades. They come back year after year and we are always so glad to see them. Even though the Rally is a very busy time, we can always find a few moments to sit down over a good meal with our rally family, and reminisce about the good times while creating new memories.
For Powder House owner/operator, Ben Brink, the Rally is an opportunity to reconnect with clients, who after years of return visits, have become more like family than customers.
“There are several reasons we look forward to Sturgis rally every year,” Brink says. “Of course there are the obvious reasons, such as getting to witness the Black Hills being taken over by Hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and the great bands and parties that happen throughout the area at the concert and camping facilities. But, the thing I think the majority of us, at least the thing I look forward to the most, is seeing all of the guests that come back and stay with us year after year.”
The Brink Family has owned the Powder House for 13 seasons and Ben, says some of his clients have been visiting since before his family took the helm in 2003. “This is my thirteenth season and there are guests that have been here every single one of those years and some have been here going on 26 years straight now. We get to know these people when they are here, some as long as 2 weeks over the rally. They truly become part of the “crew.” Our returning staff always asks about our regular guests and look forward to seeing them every August. When the new staff members ask, “Who is this person or that person?” All we can do is tell stories and explain, ‘You’ll just have to wait to meet them and see for yourself.’”
While old friends make new friends with the crew, it doesn’t take long for stories of years gone by to come out between fits of hardy laughs and giggles. And it’s not unusual for some of these guests to duck in and out of the restaurant throughout the night, offering to help the servers with side work and cleaning. At the end of each shift the crew sits together to roll silverware, year after year, one particular gentleman always wants to try and roll silverware at the end of the night to help. Brink says, “No matter how many times we show him, he just can’t seem to master the task.” It is also not uncommon for another particular return visitor to walk into the kitchen to make their own snack, or grab a bucket of ice, as one would do in their own home. They have even been known to help with a load of dishes or two as well. It’s clear that over the years, these guests have come to feel as if the Powder House is just that, their home, away from home.
Brink goes on to say these friendships extend past the rally as well. “There is a couple who sends me a Ham every Christmas, and sends all of us a care package around the 4th of July,” Brink said. “This year it was Portillo’s Chicago style hot dogs (they were extremely tasty by the way).”
Brink says the rally isn’t the only time he sees return guests. “We see them all throughout the season. We have been very lucky to have some very loyal guests that stay with us year after year and sometimes multiple times throughout the summer as well.”
And while he can’t name names, due to privacy concerns, Brink has nothing but gratitude for his loyal customers. “I hope you all know who you are and realize how much we all appreciate your continued support and patronage.”
You too can be a member of our family. Remember to stop by the Powder House during your rally visit. We are just a few miles from Mount Rushmore and offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and lodging. Stop in and fill up before you head out to explore the Black Hills on the open road.