“The Easy Riders Rodeo Is Like the Melon Fest, Only With Sin and Better Melons” and Other Twisted Tales of Debauchery

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100_1961Editor’s note: In honor of this year’s Easy Rider Rodeo in Fowlerville, we are reprinting one of our most-read posts, first published on Aug. 24, 2010.


Author’s Warning: Do NOT let your kids read this. Which means your kids are probably totally going to want to read this now but don’t let them.

It is 3 o’clock in the morning, and I’m in a tent somewhere behind the Fowlerville Fairgrounds with Jeff, a very cute tattoo artist I met only a couple hours ago.

Tiny dust particles carry in smells of gasoline and late-night August musk through the mesh of the half-moon window next to me. Just a few steps outside the entrance to the tent is the dirt circuit on which travels an endless parade of wheeled debauchery. Most of the headlights are motorcycles, but there are plenty of golf-carts as well.

You know, there’s something just downright amusing about the twisted, ironic perversion that is people having raunchy public sex on the squarest vehicle in the world: the golf cart, originally designed for the sole purpose of carrying straights in uptight checkered apparel around from fairway to fairway as they presumably look down on lesser people and plot ways to make those people’s lives more miserable. My neighbor died when he fell off the back of one in the early 90s. Oh the pleasures and pitfalls of the golfcart: you never know what could happen when you sit inside one of those things apparently. It’s limited only by your imagination.

It is Saturday, Aug. 21, during the 2010 Easy Riders Rodeo. The entire campground behind the Fowlerville Fair has become a sort of Tent City of Sodom. It is awesome. I am also a little drunk. Everyone is drunk. There are beads, booze, and boobs all over the place. Women are walking around arm in arm with their friends, popping their tops for free shots and shiny cheap necklaces. In this new Sin City, boobs are the currency through which all trade is negotiated. The wonderful thing about it is the simplicity of it all. Inflation is non-existent, and all values are equal: a $5 boob is a $10 boob is a $20 boob. It all gets you more liquor, which in turn just really means the chance to see more boobs. Everybody wins. Boobitalism is the next wave in economic systems. You heard it here first, folks.


My partner in crime, J., and I spent the earlier part of the day wandering around together from booth to booth on the fairgrounds, drinking $4 cans of Bud Light while sight-seeing and window shopping among the tents. Vendors carried everything from patches with Bible verses on them to kinky adult sex toys, plus an endless supply of all things leather. Chaps were huge this year, by the way.

Unfortunately, you could not buy any of these items with just your boobs (despite our attempts), but we did spot quite a few bargains if you had some extra cash. When we first arrive, J. tells me the Fowlerville Fairgrounds are privately owned and therefore you can walk around buck naked through here and the cops can’t touch you. I briefly entertain the idea of putting her claim to the test, but think better of it. Besides, there is plenty of skin that is not leather wandering around (and some that is sort of like leather). We found one named girl buying a coke at one of the stands, and my friend and I get our picture with her wearing only a pair of jeans, chaps, and a ton of bead necklaces. She’s more than happy to oblige — a very sweet girl all and all — and afterwards she pulls a pint of Captain Morgan’s out of her bootleg and pours it evenly into her pop and the one belonging to the lucky guy she’s with, a man who looks old enough to be her grandfather. She wants to walk around with us, but J. and I are on the move already.

The best part of all this people watching is to just wonder who the hell all these people really are anyway? Old Lady in the neon green hot pants and bikini top, who are you really? See, if you get too close, the mystery dissolves, sometimes along with your appetite. Hey – I’m just keepin’ it real.

As night descends, people mill about among the hay bales in front of the stage and wait for Candlebox to perform. Their mild anticipation is met with an even milder performance by a band that pretty much nobody remembers beyond 1995. Still, everyone is just hanging out and having a good time as the smell of pot smoke here and there blooms and evaporates under your nose. Like the wind, you can’t see it, but you know that it’s there. Somewhere around this time we meet Jeff and Ken, who would usher us into the hillbilly hedonist paradise that is the Fowlerville Fair Campgrounds during the Easy Rider Rodeo.

And before you start huffing and puffing, straights, please keep in mind that, according to Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte, more troubling shit goes down at the Fowerville Family Fair then ever has taken place at Easy Riders. If this is true, I’m going to definitely have to start attending the Fowlerville Fair more often. Here’s me foolishly thinking it’s all just meat auctions and arts and crafts.

Did I mention I’m not even supposed to be back in the campgrounds? Nobody gives a damn. J. and I only paid the $20 to roam around the fairgrounds that day, but Jeff and Ken sneak us in. I feel the rush of my new outlaw lifestyle as he whisks me past the fence, my arm hidden under the back of his shirt in this foolproof plan to conceal the fact that I’m not wearing the right colored arm band. The boys take us to their campsite where there’s a tiki bar all set up. He digs on me so much that I get two shots and don’t even have to pop my top. That’s called status.

So there we are in the tent shortly after. I won’t lie — it was a party and there was some lip lockin.’ This is human blood in my veins, and I make no apologies. Besides, he has tattoos and a motorcycle and this is probably the closest I’m ever going to get in my 30s to someone even remotely resembling Johnny Depp in ‘Crybaby.’  So don’t judge me.

What happened next, however, is a tale that as a writer, I feel compelled to share for all its hilarity. I’m there in the tent with the cute tattoo artist, enjoying the moment, when I look up and see the shadowy outline of a huge naked dude that is not Jeff in my direct field of vision. Within a fraction of a second my palm goes up instinctively and pushes him in the chest.

“Wait — who the fuck are you?”

“I’m Eddie.”

“Well, Eddie, I don’t really roll like that. No, no, no.” (Way too much WASP still lingering in my blood for those dalliances, you know).

To which Eddie, in the most polite voice I have ever heard, like he just ran into me with his shopping cart in the checkout line or something, quietly responds:

“Oh. I’m sorry. My bad.”

Then he disappears just as quickly and as quietly as he left through the zippered wall of the tent. Well of course that just killed all the mojo that was in the room, Jeff being just as startled as I was. Nevertheless I was nearly touched by the conciliatory demeanor of Eddie, the  phantom leg humper.

Later on, I recapped this stealth attempt at the menage a trois to Ken and J. when they returned from touring the campsite.

“Oh,” Ken says with a complete lack of surprise.  “Was his name Eddie?”

Personally, I feel if it were anybody other than me, Eddie might have been really been on to something in terms of strategy. If you try those ninja moves enough times, Eddie, the odds simply dictate that eventually you’re either going to get stabbed, or you’re going to get lucky.

Authors Note: The names of those mentioned in this blog have been changed to protect identities. I’m told that whatever happens at Easy Riders stays at Easy Riders. Oh well. I never can keep my damn mouth shut.

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