RK and The Buffalo Bike
Ron Stratman once said, “I am not a philosopher. I am just a man who loves
what he does. I am a father of seven, a grandfather of twelve, and a
great-grandfather of four. I am not an MBA, but I am a graduate of life,
a self-made man, and a born salesman. I am not a suit; I am an ex-racer,
a motorcycle rider and lover of the open road”. RK Stratman Inc.,
founded in 1969, became an official Harley-Davidson Licensee in 1983, is
now into its third generation and is still wholly owned and operated by
the Stratman family.
In 1990 Ron created the infamous BUFFALO BIKE, (pictured above) a 1980 FLT
draped with buffalo skin, which has become a staple at the Sturgis Rally and
at dealership events all over the country. The Buffalo Bike was inspired by
an attention grabbing cowboy who rode a buffalo down Main Street during the
Black Hills Rally. Not to be out done, Ron rode his own version of the Buffalo,
who he named “ole Buff” the following year. To this day the Buffalo Bike creates
a buzz and is likely the most photographed bike in the world.
R.K. has been involved with Sturgis & Black Hills Harley-Davidson since its inception.
In 1987 Black Hills Harley-Davidson opened a second location for the Rally and
Ron along with Laverne (who now manages Sturgis Harley-Davidson) ran the facility
selling quality Harley-Davidson apparel and products.
One of the best selling t-shirts at the Black Hills Rally is our very own “Sturgis Genuine”
printed on the Hanes Beefy-T which is exclusive to RK Stratman. “Sturgis Genuine” was
originally designed 20 years ago and continues to evolve. Our artists find inspiration
for the Sturgis designs through many outlets. Some have traveled there to experience
the Rally first hand but for the most part the designs come from good old fashion Teamwork.
Vendors fill out questionnaires regarding shirt styles and designs. Terry, Laverne and Melonie
“know their crowd” and submit their ideas to the art team. Their input is essential, as they
know first hand what people are buying and what they’re looking for. There are several
categories our artist focus on to ensure all the rally goers have something to fit their style.
Our team of artists and garment designers focus on the Harley-Davidson rider. In fact many of
those working at our factory ride and we feel we know more about the t-shirt and the Harley-Davidson
feel than any other licensee because we ride the ride and live the life. Of course, RK Stratman
Inc., not only provides shirts for the Black Hills Rally, but is an official full time licensee
for Harley-Davidson providing quality and customized apparel to Harley-Davidson dealer’s worldwide
for almost 40 years. RK Stratman’s success might best be summed up with one of our t-shirt slogans
and a phrase Ron uses to describe his passion for Harleys: “If I have to explain. You wouldn’t understand.”