Blue Bell for life!

On my second day of working at Blue Bell gate selling bike bands, the ladies, who I consider my friends, cornered me.

“So, you know I read your blog.” Barb said. She’s the matriarch of the gate and one of the funniest ladies I’ve ever met.

There are no words to describe the awesomeness.

There are no words to describe the awesomeness.

“Yes…” I trailed off, not knowing why she was standing so close to me with her hands on her hips in a stance that said don’t mess with Texas.

“Well, I’m just hoping you don’t plan on writing anything about us…you know…and some of the stuff we’ve said,” she menaced above me.

I giggled.

So, I can’t write about any of the insanely hilarious comments we made about bikers as they passed wearing nothing but pasties and ¼ of a shirt. I can’t write about the dogs on bikes in their little doggy goggles and little doggy Harley Davidson gear. I can’t write about getting locked in the Port-a-Potty. I can’t write about how badly we wanted a clean, good-looking guy to offer to give us a ride. I can’t write about the stories Melissa and I swapped and I definitely can’t write about…well, I’ll stop there.

I can, however, write about how much I respect and revere the gate attendants so much more than I ever did before. Technically speaking, it’s easy work, but I had no idea how mentally and physically exhausting it can be just to get people to drive in the right lane of traffic. Even with chairs and a fan, it’s really draining talking to people, answering the eternal question of “Where are the buffalo?” and selling entrance passes. Blue Bell is the gate at the west entrance of the Wildlife Loop, so if you came through in the last three days, you proabably saw me. I was usually the one dancing around waving neon green bands in the air.

And in case you were wondering, THE BUFFALO ARE SOMEWHERE ON THE WILDLIFE LOOP ROAD. Just keep driving until you see giant, hulking brown mammals.

Print this off. Bring it with you.

Print this off. Bring it with you.

What makes this park great is that everyone working supports each other during the rally (or at least that was my observation). One of the park administrators brought us brownies and the resort company gives us lunch if they aren’t busy. I even got some coffee delivered after begging for a while, and Barb and Sheila were constantly making sure nobody was nauseous at the gate because heat exhaustion is a real threat.


On my last day at the gate, the ladies even made me a makeshift goodbye card – I’m Blue Bell for life now!


Eeeeeeek. Rally time.

Beware – I’m going to be working at the gates during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

For those of you who live under rocks, the rally is a huge gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts from every corner of the country. They come in their cutoffs, pleather and Harley Davidson gear to ride around the Black Hills and consume large amounts of alcohol (hopefully not at the same time).

So. Many. Motorcycles.

So. Many. Motorcycles.

It draws in a lot of interesting people and is great for the tourism industry, but from what I hear from the park veterans, it can get pretty stressful at the park gates. That’s where all the motorcycle riders are stopped and charged to enter the park, and while that might seem simple, it’s not. Gate workers are expected to keep traffic flowing smoothly while keeping track of sales, selling passes in the right order, and running credit cards (which takes time and annoys people).

But it’s a giant party. (If you click on that link, you’ll see a photo of Pee Wee Herman with some scantily clad biker chicks prancing around on a stage). People are here to celebrate their love of motorcycles, see some great scenery and have a good time. That’s great. But I’m really nervous. I’ve never worked at a gate before and while I won’t have the most complicated of jobs (I’m merely selling bands for motorcycles – not cars) I’m still worried that my coworkers are going to want to kill me.

For the three days I will be doing this, I will be out in the hot sun on my feet all day. It’s reminiscent of my 3 years working at Dairy Queen, so I do have some experience catering to people, but I’m not looking forward to the heat.

So, if you see a girl running around frantically selling passes to motorcyclists, please cut me some slack. And please don’t rev your engine at me. And please bring me some cold water. Thank you.