What You Need To Know Before Going To Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

When it comes to motorcycle rallies, not many surpass the legend of Sturgis. For those new to the rally, it can be an overwhelming experience as the sheer number of people and bikes is for many, more than they have witnessed in the past.

The rally attracts an average 500,000 people each year. When you consider that only around 7,000 people call Sturgis home, it is not hard to imagine that finding a place to stay and eat can be a challenge. There are even some retailers who only open during bike week as the revenue generated during the week is close to $800 million, or more than $1 million a day – a retailers dream.

The first rally in Sturgis was in 1938 and was put on by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club. The first year saw a small group of people and racers attending, but with each passing year, the event has grown and is now the premier bike rally of the year.

The Sturgis Bike Rally’s 2015 75th anniversary saw a record number of people attending. That number hit almost 740,000, which at the time, was almost equal to the entire population in the state of South Dakota. On an average year, almost every hotel room for miles is booked solid, with those wanting to attend the following year required to book a year in advance, if not more.

Play safe and be smart!


With the influx of people to Sturgis, the risk of injury is real, and every year there are those that get seriously injured and even killed. In 2015 the rally saw fifteen people lose their lives, many of those related to motorcycle accidents where riders were not wearing their helmets. Take the extra precaution to wear protective clothing and helmets and give yourself extra time to get to wherever you are going. Avoid drinking, and at night, it is ideal to avoid being on the road.

Heavily Policed

The police are on high alert during the rally and in 2016, handed out over 120 parking violations, executed over 150 traffic stop arrests and a further 170 plus arrests for various other offenses such as drunkenness, excessive speeding and petty crime. It is recommended you do not drink in public if you wish to avoid a citation.

Be mindful of expenses

As this is a one-week event, retailers obviously take advantage of that and increase prices. This includes hotel rates, gas and meal expenses. To save money, consider staying further away from the town in cities such as Deadwood, Whitewood or Rapid City. Camping is another less expensive alternative that will help you control costs.

Watch out for the crowds!

When you pack a half million people into a town designed for 10,000, crowds can be overwhelming. There are literally vendors everywhere, and lineups are never-ending, so be prepared to be patient and allow for extra time. Also, consider having designated meeting spots in the event you get separated from friends and family.

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