Sturgis has a rich motorcycle history, and the town has been home to the Sturgis Bike Rally since 1949. The town has expanded over the years to accommodate the rally, which takes place in the town’s Main Street. In 1975, the Sturgis Bike Rally expanded to include a week-long destination event. In 1979, the city began licensing vendors to sell merchandise at the rally. Today, the Sturgis Bike Rally is so large that the city created a separate department for it.
Although the event started as a small gathering of racers, it has now become one of the largest motorcycle gatherings in the world. In 1960, the rally was attended by 800 people, but by 1970, the number had increased exponentially, and in 2000, attendance was around 550,000.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place every year in August. The event is held in the town of Sturgis, South Dakota, and features a parade, opening ceremony, and a B-1 bomber flyover. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts gather in this town for a week of fun and camaraderie.
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How Did Sturgis Become Famous?
The Sturgis Bike Rally is one of the most popular motorcycle rallies in the world. But how did it start? In the year 1938, an Indian Motorcycle dealership owner named Clarence “Pappy” Hoel organized a race that attracted only a few spectators. In time, it grew in popularity and began to attract thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts. Over the years, the event has expanded to include hill climbs, races, and concerts. Today, the event attracts more than half a million visitors over seven days and is one of the world’s largest motorcycle rallies.
The city of Sturgis is located in western South Dakota, near the Wyoming border. It is in the Black Hills, a region that is renowned for its scenic beauty. The town’s unique landscape makes it a popular riding destination, and Mount Rushmore is a mere hour’s drive away.
What Year Did Sturgis Bike Rally Start?
The Sturgis Bike Rally is an annual motorcycle event that dates back to 1936. It was started by Clarence Hoel, who bought a motorcycle franchise in Sturgis and organized a club for riders. Two years later, the rally began in earnest. The event was originally called the Black Hills Classic.
The rally began as a single race, but soon grew into a five-day event, featuring racing and stunts. By the mid-sixties, the rally expanded and Main Street became the focal point. It grew in size, attracting as many as 400 riders at its peak. In the 1970s, the movie Easy Rider brought the sport of motorcycling to a broader audience.
The first Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was held in August 1938, where local bikers met to organize a small motorcycle race. Clarence Hoel, also known as “Pappy”, was the driving force behind the event. He bought a franchise for the Indian Motorcycle Company in Sturgis during 1936 and saw a need for a gathering place for bikers. In 1937, he started a motorcycle club called the Jackpine Gypsies, which would eventually become an official charter of the American Motorcycle Association.
What is the Purpose of Sturgis?
The Sturgis bike rally began in 1938. It was initially cancelled during World War II because of gas rationing, but since the end of the war it has returned as a global event. Over the years, the rally has grown into a multi-day event, with a thriving motorcycle community.
Sturgis is more than a bike rally, it’s a cultural event. The downtown area is reminiscent of an Old West town; some stores are closed for the event, while others take on a new look. The Heartland Homestore, for example, becomes a souvenir shop. And the parking lots along Lazelle Street spring to life with Harley demo rides and aftermarket seat vendors. The atmosphere is distinctly Western, and the Sturgis bike rally blends in with the Old West town perfectly.
The city of Sturgis was founded in 1878 by merchants. The town was initially named Scooptown, but it was renamed to honor James Garland Sturgis, a lieutenant colonel who died in the Battle of the Little Big Horn alongside Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer. Sturgis was made the county seat of Meade County in 1889, and today, it is an internationally recognized destination for the Sturgis bike rally.
How Long Has Sturgis Rally Been Going On?
Sturgis city officials rely on other sources to determine how many attendees the rally attracts each year. Depending on the year, the attendance could reach a record high, perhaps even as high as 700,000 people. According to South Dakota Department of Transportation traffic count data, the rally ended on Aug. 14, 2020 with 462,182 people in attendance.
Organizers of the rally believe the rally will continue for years to come, and it gives the state a major economic boost. Some say the event is the largest motorcycle rally in the country, but other similar events are held in California, Daytona, and Phoenix.
If you’re planning on touring the area, it’s wise to plan ahead. While Sturgis is known for its rally, the surrounding area is also famous for its scenic roadways. For example, you can spend an afternoon exploring the Black Hills National Forest, which spans much of the South Western part of the state. If you’re planning to stay for a few days, you’ll probably drive about 300 miles per day, so you’ll need to budget for gas, which can easily run you $147 each day.
How Much Money Does Sturgis Bring In?
How much money does the Sturgis rally bring into the Sturgis area? According to recent reports, the city is on track to make over $1 million in sales and will spend $100,000 to promote the event. That’s a good thing for the local economy, which will benefit from an additional 30,000 attendees.
In the last two years, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has generated almost $1.5 million in tax revenue. This revenue helps the city pay for its annual promotion budget. While attendance at the rally has decreased over the years, it is still an extremely lucrative event for South Dakota. More than two thousand hotels and campgrounds have been booked for the event, which is good news for the local economy.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is attended by an estimated 400,000 to eight hundred thousand people. The number of tourists attending the event varies from year to year, but the summer is the busiest time to travel to the area. Hotels are often booked up a year in advance, and last minute camping is almost impossible.
Can You Go to Sturgis Without a Motorcycle?
If you aren’t riding a motorcycle, you might be wondering if you can attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally without owning one. Although the rally is organized by the Sturgis Motorcycle Club, there are a number of other options to attend the event. If you’re traveling without a motorcycle, you can still find lodging and transportation. The Sturgis Motorcycle Club offers over 300 different lodging options.
While you’re not riding a motorcycle, you can still enjoy the Sturgis festival and see the historic Harley-Davidsons. The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame houses almost 100 motorcycles dating back to 1907. You’ll find metric and V-twin motorcycles, and even an early 1908 Harley-Davidson.
While the Sturgis Rally is known for its wild events, it’s also a great place to bring your family or friends. The town of Sturgis is small, with only 6,800 residents, but it draws over 739,000 people each year. There’s a lot to do, from riding, to watching the concerts, to gawking at hand-built bikes. It’s an experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Where Do Bikers Stay in Sturgis?
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Sturgis, South Dakota, you can’t go wrong with a campground. Buffalo Chip Campground is one of the more popular places to stay in Sturgis, and it usually fills up months in advance. One great travel tip is to ask if any of the campsites host motorcycle-campers. Many Harley-Davidson motorcycles are loud, and adult motorcyclists tend to stay up until the wee hours. You’ll want to stay away from the noise if you want to sleep well.
Camping is one of the most popular options in Sturgis, and it is a great option for motorcycle enthusiasts. The location is ideal for listening to the upbeat music played by the bikes, and you’ll get to be close to nature and the rally. Camping is also less expensive than renting a hotel or cabin. While Sturgis does have a few hotels and cabins, the majority of the lodging at this rally is run by motorcycle enthusiasts, so you’ll find that the price range is much lower than you’d pay at a more luxurious hotel.
During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, there are hundreds of thousands of motorcycles roaring on the road. The event began in 1938 and has grown into one of the largest events in South Dakota. While Sturgis is a small town, it is home to 739,000 people who come to experience the Rally.
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