STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s nearly rally time in South Dakota.
The 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially lasts 10 days starting on Friday, August 5 and concluding on Sunday, August 14. Hundreds of thousands of motorcycles will be roaring in the Black Hills.
Last year, officials estimated the rally attendance of more than 500,000. KELOLAND News compiled what you need to know about this year’s rally – the 82nd annual.
What to do
The rally officially starts on Friday, August 5th with a parade on Main Street in Sturgis. Other official events hosted by the city of Sturgis include the mayor’s pub crawl on Saturday, August 6, a 5K run on Monday, August 8th, a charity poker tournament in Deadwood on Monday, August 8th, a tattoo contest on Tuesday, August 9th, a mustache and beard contest on Wednesday, August 10th
Tammy Even-Cordell is this year’s rally director and said planning for next year’s 83rd rally is already underway.
“It’s a year-long planning process of talking to people and getting the permits to do the mayor’s ride and getting permission from the Department of Transportation and the Highway Patrol that we can go on these rides,” Even-Cordell said. “Finding people to lead rides, like our rides with the local people that want to do that. Our public works department, they arrange things with sanitation and making sure all of our garbage is hauled. It’s an incredible amount of work, it’s unbelievable how much goes into it.”
Whether it’s rock, rap, or country, the concert schedule includes it. There’s been at least one change in the schedule. Snoop Dogg has canceled and been replaced by Ice-T and other rappers, according to Buffalo Chip.
Routes to ride
The Sturgis Rally website shares six rides to well known area destinations like Devil’s Tower, Bear Butte, Custer State Park, Deadwood and Vanocker Canyon, Spearfish Canyon and the Badlands.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol is already sharing safety tips for sharing the road with more motorcycles on the road.
Trooper Shannon Orth said drivers should make sure people are always checking their mirrors while driving.
“Be on the lookout for them even though that you are always looking,” Orth said. “They are smaller and there could be two, three, or four of them and they could be in packs. You need to make sure that you’re not missing a few.”
For people riding motorcycles, Orth said if you are riding in groups you should stay nice and tight.
“If you do leave that gap somebody is going to pinch into your group and then you are going to fight trying to get through traffic to get caught back in that group,” Orth said. “Make sure that you’re not riding in people’s blindspots.”
How much money is made?
According to the city of Sturgis, attendance at the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally hit 555,000 which is the highest attendance since 2000 except the more than 700,000 for the 75th rally in 2015.
The state of South Dakota made $1.7 million from temporary vendors at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2021 which does not include sales tax revenue from hotels, campgrounds, bars and similar venues in the Sturgis and Black Hills area.
“The economic impact isn’t just within Sturgis it’s across the state, from small towns, Mitchell, Chamberlain, us, on into Wyoming,” Even-Cordell said. “It brings tourism dollars into the state for probably a good three weeks.”
What impact will inflation and higher gas prices play in this year’s rally is hard to tell but Even-Cordell said vendor registration numbers aren’t behind last year’s amount.
“Luckily we are a destination for most people,” Even-Cordell said. “The campgrounds and everything, the hotels are very happy with their registrations. Some of them even have waiting lists so I think its right on track with last year.”
Larger law enforcement presence
Along with the big crowds of rally attendees, local law enforcement agencies add extra staff.
Sturgis police chief Geody VanDewater said he hires enough officers to be the third largest department in South Dakota during rally week.
“We hire up until the day it starts. Every year, it’s the same thing. Whether you are in law enforcement or you’re in fast food, everybody seems to be struggling,” VanDewater said. “But we are doing our due diligence to hire officers as well as security staff and we will be sitting good by the time rally starts and be able to keep everybody safe.”
Temporary stop lights and traffic control devices are setup in different areas of the Black Hills to help the larger amount of traffic.