SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The city of Custer doesn’t want to be Sturgis or the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for the next nine days, but it does want to be an option.
Custer Cruisin’ was established 23 years ago in the city. This year it will run from Aug. 5 to Aug. 15, the same period as the annual Sturgis Rally.
“We don’t want to be like Sturgis. It’s something we do to promote (the town). Hopefully, it keeps people in town to do some shopping,” said Kim Conwell, an employee with the city of Custer.
The city closes the main street or Mount Rushmore Road for those 10 days from 5th Street to 8th Street. The street is open to motorcycles and vendors. Two lanes, one each for direction, will be open to other traffic.
“We also offer the mayor’s ride which is a nice event each year,” Conwell said.
The mayor’s ride is Aug. 9 this year.
Mayor Bob Brown has been mayor less than two years. “I rode in it last year and thought it was pretty good,” Brown said of the mayor’s ride.
The ride is a charity event and money raised is donated each year.
The 2021 money was donated to kids’ programs at the YMCA, Brown said.
The mayor’s ride is one way to promote the scenic rides around Custer. The Custer Cruisin’ website says “You Should Ride the Hills From Here.”
“I believe (bikers come) because it’s nice scenery here,” said Debby Garcia, the owner of Good Karma Jewelry in Custer.
Brown said Custer Cruisin’ promotes safe and quality rides in the area.
Some bikers come down for a day, while others stay in Custer throughout the 10 days.
Garcia said bikers have told her they ride in the Custer area during the day and head to Sturgis at night.
“They hit the shops and restaurants while they are here,” Garcia said.
Others visit Sturgis, “but it’s not where they want to stay,” Conwell said. “Some people do not want the crowds. Custer (and other towns) are a good alternative.”
Custer focuses on the daytime vendors and promoting the available scenic drives, Conwell said.
Bikers may visit Sturgis and venues like the Buffalo Chip but “they come back here to a restaurant to their room and retire for the evening,” Conwell said.
Custer Cruisin’ has become a recognized name as “we get a lot of calls where people have heard of Custom Cruisin’,” Conwell said.