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It’s Sturgis

August 9, 2012

Before I moved to South Dakota, I actually thought Sturgis was just the name of the week long motorcycle “rally”. No, Sturgis is an actual town, population 6,656 (as of July 2011), that is basically overrun with motorcycle enthusiasts every year during the first week of August. Every year anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 people invade the Black Hills, and just so you can get an idea of what this does to our tourism and traffic, the population of South Dakota is normally only about 825,000. Sadly, with so many people it is guaranteed that there will be a couple fatalities every year from traffic accidents, driving under the influence, or the occasional gang fight.

Main Street Sturgis is closed off to cars for the week

The Sturgis bike rally started as a dirt bike race, organized by the Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club (they still own and operate the race events today) in 1938. The major event that has evolved over the years is the Hillclimb where motorists literally try to ride up a ridiculously steep hill. While that still happens, the main attraction to Sturgis seems to be just riding around the hills in large groups or attending the many concerts held. Also drinking, revving engines, and scantily clad women.

Personally I don’t really get it, maybe that’s just cause I have no desire to own a motorcycle, the music usually isn’t my taste, and it’s always super hot outside. I’ve gone to Sturgis during the rally about 3 times in the last 6 years, and I am definitely not the target audience. To me, rally time just means tons of motorcycles taking up the parking spaces and driving erratically (because most of these people don’t ride their bikes that much and they haul them to SD on trailers). And the digital billboard in town rented by the police department showing the total number of DUI arrests sky rockets this time of year.

Have you ever been to a bike rally or own a motorcycle? Ever been to the Black Hills? If you come, let me know!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2012 7:47 am

    I’ve never ridden a motorcycle and at the moment i don’t foresee it happening. I’m more of a car girl. I have been to the black hills….. in the third grade.

    We went on a family trip to Wyoming and then swung by Mount Rushmore on the the way back to Texas. My favorite part of being in that area was the horse trail ride. We stopped at a restaurant on some highway and there was a trail ride place there too, both in the middle of nowhere. It was fun. : )

  2. deebieg permalink
    August 9, 2012 7:38 pm

    In Mississippi, there is a little town also named Sturgis, which for several years held a “little Sturgis” rally. Unfortunately, it lost money so they did not do well last year–no idea if they held it this year. They picked a time of year which is hotter than seven degrees of hell, so I wouldn’t be interested in just checking it out. The one in Sturgis must be pretty loose, gauging from the pictures my cousin showed me of women with “interesting” attire.

  3. Bia permalink
    August 9, 2012 7:41 pm

    We were in the area once during “Sturgis Time”, and visited Devils Tower (remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind?). A big group of motorcycles was coming out as we were going in – it reminded me of ants pouring out of an anthill!

  4. August 11, 2012 8:17 pm

    The closest I’ve ever come to riding a motorcycle was watching a friend fall off of one (thankfully only going 5 mph or so). That was more than enough for me! Hope you enjoyed the trip despite all the traffic. : )

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