Hall of Fame Inductee – 2013
Bill Gikling grew up in Rapid City, SD and always had a love for motorcycles. He started out working for Don Rice of Rice Cycle.
In the early days, Bill rode in all of the local races, hill climbs and other events put on by clubs around the Black Hills, including those put on in Sturgis by the Jackpine Gypsies. Bill knew Pappy Hoel, and worked with him to set up the White Plate Flat Trackers. He also helped the National Motorcycle Museum when it first started in Sturgis.
In 1977 Bill purchased North West Sports, a Yamaha / Harley-Davidson Dealership in Rapid City. The company enjoyed excellent t-shirt sales. Looking to sell even more t-shirts, Bill changed the company name to Black Hills Harley-Davidson. In 1980, Bill sold about $40,000 in t-shirts and leathers. But 1990 – the 50th Anniversary of the Sturgis Rally – he sold $1 million worth of merchandise.
Bill has worked closely with the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. to promote the Sturgis Rally. In the early 1990s, Bill was elected to the Harley-Davidson dealer advisory board – an event that allowed him to do even more to encourage the company to be involved in the Rally.
In 1997, Bill separated the Yamaha and Harley-Davidson franchises into two different dealerships. In 2000, he sold the Harley-Davidson stores in Rapid City and Sturgis, and purchased Big Sky Harley-Davidson in Great Falls, Montana. His son now operates the Yamaha branch of the business, and a former employee has Big Sky Harley-Davidson.
Today, Bill still loves to ride and participate in rides worldwide. He was honored with the J.C. Pappy Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award for the work he’s done to promote the Sturgis Rally.
Bill lives in Rapid City with his wife Sherry. They have four grown children and four grandchildren.