Once upon a time in 1986, there was a guy in Mercer named George, who couldn't get his buddy J-Bird to commit to a Sturgis bike trip. So George came up with an idea. He drew his idea out on paper, and headed to the local print shop where he ordered two t-shirts.
J-Bird and George (later dubbed, “Papa Loon,”) wore their t-shirts and rode out west! They slept on wayside picnic tables along the way, did Sturgis, made friends, camped at Buffalo Chip; and rolled back into town ten days later, with raccoon eyes, and some good stories!
Friends back home saw the shirts, heard the stories, and wanted to join their “club.” Papa Loon told them, “then get a t-shirt!” And the Mercer Loons M.C. began. Word got around, and t-shirt orders flooded the print shop.
The next summer, the club had a party. About 50 people rode out to the original Retreat Bar, in Presque Isle. With a few crock-pots of food, and some guitar- strumming around the campfire, everyone had a blast, and the party became a yearly summer tradition.
The Wagon Wheel Resort, in Mercer, hosted the party for the next three years. The next year it was at Beaver Lodge. And for the last 23 years we’ve been rockin’ it out at Dear Lodge! That's 27 years total! Attendance grew over the years, with an all time high of 1250 in 1993. The always-fantastic food is provided by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 529!
*On a sad note, we lost our very good friend and co-founder, J-Bird, in 2003, when he was killed riding his bike, the night before the party. We continue to miss him, and the other Loon members & friends who have left us way too soon.