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Veteran Rally-Goer Assesses 2011 Turnout

August 6, 2011, 9:57 PM by Austin Hoffman

Veteran Rally-Goer Assesses 2011 Turnout
STURGIS, SD - It’s that time of year again, and the rumble of thousands of motorcycles echoes in the Black Hills as they rev their way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The rally officially kicks off Monday. On Saturday a long time veteran of the rally discusses what he thinks of the turnout so far.

Earl Owens has brought his business, Antelope Creek Leathers, to Sturgis from Texas for the past 21 years. He’s also been coming to the rally since 1977.

“If you compare it to that, there’s quite a difference,” Owens said.

But he says so far this year, the atmosphere is pretty normal.

“If you want to compare it to just the prior two, three years, actually I think in the last few years we’re running pretty steady,” Owens said.

While he says the number of people here this year is fairly close to last year, it’s where they’re coming from that’s changed.

“Seems like we don’t have the foreigners like we have in the last couple years,” Owens said. “Last year we were just covered up, you know, with people from all over the world. This year we have a few, but noticed there’s more local folks.”

He says he’s also noticed, while people are still rolling into the Black Hills, they’re cutting their stay short.

“But they're still coming, still having a good time, you know, still enjoying themselves,” Owens said.

The Rally doesn't officially start until Monday. Owens says with numbers already looking steady, that's when the real traffic will start.

“I think we’re going to have a big crowd up here this year,” Owens said. “I think it’s going to be a great turnout.”

KELOLAND News will bring you more coverage of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally throughout next week.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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