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Staying busy behind the bar in Sturgis

Courtesy Photo Marriah Marsh, Dickinson, heads to Sturgis, S.D. for the large motorcycle rally every summer to bartend.

The engine roared as Marriah Marsh, Dickinson, started up her 2005 glacier/white pearl Harley-Davidson lowrider.

Her destination is Sturgis, S.D. for the annual Sturgis Rally going on Monday through Aug. 15.

Marsh has bartended at the Full Throttle Saloon at the rally for the past six years. The money is good and she meets many memorable customers.

"I love coming down here," she said. "It gives me a nice break from home."

While not at the annual motorcycle bash in Sturgis, Marsh works in Dickinson at her father's bar, Bernie's Esquire Club.

"It's awesome getting to work with my sister everyday," said her brother Maxsomn Marsh, who also works at Bernie's. "What makes her a good bartender is that she is so willing to help...she can pick up the slack and pitch in when things get busy."

She began working at the Full Throttle after a suggestion from friends and has been coming back ever since. The saloon self-proclaims the honor of being the world's largest biker bar.

"Besides having no cover charge, some of the other great things about the bar are the mechanical bull, burn out pit, motorcycle repair shop, and the free shows and concerts," Marriah Marsh said. "The best night to come to the rally is Thursday -- the band Jackyl will be playing."

The Full Throttle Saloon is also being filmed during the rally for the second season of a reality TV show called of the same name which will air in October on TruTV.

"I was on last year, so you might see me occasionally," Marriah Marsh said.

Marriah Marsh's favorite thing about bartending is the people and their stories. "I even have customers from previous years that stop in just to say 'hi,'" she said.

She works a double shift every day so she doesn't get to take in many of the festivities but says "it's worth it." Riders also see Mt. Rushmore, Keystone and Needles Highway. "You forget to appreciate it (the scenery) until you hear someone else describe it," she added.

"One of the weirdest things I have seen in Sturgis is a heavier lady dancing on the bar in a dominatrix type outfit," she said, "nothing surprises me anymore."

Marriah Marsh's father Bernie Marsh, sister, brother and fiance and a few family friends are also going to the rally.

"I think we will play it by ear when we get down there, I would like to drive through Spearfish Canyon and of course visit Marriah," Bernie Marsh said.

Bernie Marsh has been going to the rally since 1980 and has only missed one year. He loves the atmosphere and feels that "riding when you know everyone else is riding is exciting." He is also looking forward to visiting friends he only gets to see once a year. He drives a 2003 gun metal blue Harley-Davidson Road King.

This year commemorates the 72nd anniversary of the Sturgis Rally. The first rally was held Aug. 14, 1938. Nine people competed in a race with only a small crowd of onlookers.