US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Rolls into Town

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Rolls into Town
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

Every August, South Dakota welcomes hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists from across the country to participate in the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. No single week in the entire year boasts a greater influx in the state’s overall population than the week of the rally and the weeks before and after the rally. During this time, motorcyclists gather together in perhaps the largest bike gathering of all time.

What began as a single motorcycle race in 1938, the weeklong rally takes place in the small town of Sturgis in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota, a normally quiet town with a population of almost 7,000. During the week of the rally, however, Main Street Sturgis evolves into a bustling hub where motorcycle enthusiasts and other tourists come to enjoy like-minded company, entertainment, the South Dakota landscape and local food. The economic impact of the rally is impressive. A study conducted by the Rally Department of the City of Sturgis gauged the economic impact of the 2010 rally, which hosted 466,000 attendees, as generating roughly $817 million dollars in economic activity for the state. That is just in one year.

The city of Sturgis benefits from the rally, but so does the entire state of South Dakota. Though the rally only lasts 10 days, visitors often like to extend their trip to explore the rest of the state. With the Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore National Monument, the Mickelson Trail, Jewel Cave, historic Deadwood and the Crazy Horse Memorial all within biking distance of Sturgis, visitors can experience the fun and excitement of the rally one day and the pristine beauty of South Dakota’s Black Hills the next.

While the Black Hills are a must-see for visitors to our state, opportunities for fun and adventure can be found in every part of South Dakota. In the central and eastern part of the state, a number of glacial lakes and reservoirs provide for top-notch fishing, especially if you’re trying to catch walleye or smallmouth bass. Visitors to our great state often like to camp, kayak, canoe, hike, bike or golf during their vacation—all great ways to explore the land of infinite variety that is South Dakota.

Jean and I wish everyone attending this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a safe and fun-filled trip.  We hope that visitors will take some time to explore South Dakota’s stunning landscapes and rich history while they’re here in the land of great faces and great places.

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