The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the most famous of such annual biker events in the country. The event started in 1938 when a group of Indian Motorcycle owners decided to get together and challenge each other to perform stunts and races. Spearheaded by Clarence “Pappy” Hoel, the event was originally called The Black Hills Classic.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been held every year since then, except from 1942 to 1944 because of gasoline rationing due to World War II. Typically, it takes place in the first week of August.
Today, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a 10-day event that attracts approximately 500,000 visitors to Sturgis, South Dakota each year. The highest turnout, 700,000, occurred in 2015. The event lasts 10 days each year and generates $800 million in annual revenue for the area.
Interestingly, in 2018 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Court found that Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a pluralistic endeavor promoted by multiple organizations. As such, no one organization owns the trademark on the event. This is why you’ll find various websites promoting different functions during the Sturgis event.
- Sturgis.com offers official registration, information on concerts, details on various rides, and local eating and sleeping amenities.
- SturgisMotorcycleRally.com is maintained by the City of Sturgis and provides its own details on the history of the event, local vendors, lodging, rides, and concerts.
- BuffaloChip.com is a website specific to the Sturgis campground and concert facilities.
Buffalo Chip Campground
In 1981 the Buffalo Chip Campground was established outside of Sturgis as a place to stay for those attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. While in the early 80s the venue was little more than a pasture, now the property includes cabins, racetracks, the Bikini Beach swimming hole, the PowerSports Complex, multiple concert stages, numerous bars, and a variety of food services.
Thanks to the concert facilities at Buffalo Chip Campground, Sturgis is more than just a motorcycle rally. The event also includes concerts by A-list entertainers. Headliners have included Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Shinedown, REO Speedwagon, Puddle of Mudd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ratt, Buckcherry, Smash Mouth, Night Ranger, Mötley Crüe, Florida Georgia Line, Alice Cooper, Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy Osborne, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Snoop Dogg, and 38 Special.
As a motorcycle rally, obviously there are going to be riding opportunities. Riding events include The Annual Sturgis Mayor’s Ride, Ride with a Local, and The Director’s Sunrise Ride.
The Annual Sturgis Mayor’s Ride has been conducted every year for the past 19 years. Attendees can ride through the beautiful Black Hills led by the Mayor of Sturgis and the year’s Grand Marshal. There are stops at Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, and the State Game Lodge. Participants receive a souvenir pack including a ride t-shirt.
Ride with a Local is a program that Sturgis organizers offer for first time visitors to the rally. Just bring your bike and a friendly local will guide you on through the winding roads that make up the Black Hills.
The Director’s Sunrise Ride is a 150-mile ride through some of the area’s most beautiful surroundings guided by the Director of the City of Sturgis. The ride takes 4-5 hours and takes place just prior to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Additional rides include: Buffalo Chip’s Legends Ride, Biker Belles Morning Ride, Rusty Wallace Ride, Carey Hart Good Ride, and Custor Mayor’s Ride.
Getting to Sturgis
Lasting 10 days, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an event that you will want to have your bike at. But do you really want to ride all the way across country to get there? You would be dealing with extreme temperatures, inclement weather, and muscles sore from hours in the saddle. By the time you get to Sturgis, the last thing you will want to do is go on another ride – no matter how beautiful the surroundings.
That’s why a healthy percentage of the 500,000 visitors to Sturgis for the rally, ship their bikes with a trusted transportation service like A-1 Auto Transport. They get to show off their bike and go on glorious rides with new friends, with none of the hassle of driving across country to get to the event.
If you are looking for a recipe for success for visiting Sturgis, chose a motorcycle shipping service that is experienced in getting motorcycles from across the country to the event on time and in pristine condition.
There are many options for delivering your bike including:
- Enclosed transport
- Open air
- Door to door
- Terminal to terminal
- Crated transport
Make sure you work with a motorcycle shipping company that is licensed, bonded, and insured. When you select a transportation company to take care of your prize motorcycle, these are important factors to make sure of. Experienced shippers also offer real-time satellite tracking, which will give you maximum peace of mind as you get geared up for the rally.
If you are planning on attending Sturgis Motorcycle Rally or any other motorcycle event this year, do yourself a favor and look into shipping options. You’ll get all the fun, with none of the hassle.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
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