Different Opinions On Buffalo Chip Decision


One week a year, South Dakota’s newest city quickly fills up with bikers from across the country. You probably have heard of the Buffalo Chip Campground. Now the motorcycle rally destination near Sturgis is its own city. That’s according to the South Dakota Supreme Court. 

This is the latest in a winding legal battle between Buffalo Chip and Sturgis. It started in  2015 when Buffalo Chip petitioned to become its own city. A year later, Sturgis challenged the petition. Then in September 2016, a Judge ruled Buffalo Chip couldn’t be a town because it didn’t follow the correct process. That all changed this week, when the Supreme Court reversed the decision. 

There may be an official decision on the town of Buffalo Chip but not everyone agrees with it. 

“The city really is disappointed by the courts actions,” Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis City Manager said.

“We think the Supreme Court affirmed what our position was the whole time,” Kent Hagg, legal counsel for town of Buffalo Chip said.

Buffalo Chip Attorney Kent Haag says they’ve done everything right. 

“The fact that it has conducted itself as a municipality of South Dakota since 2015, it has received tax exemptions from the state of SD Department of Revenue, it’s been fully acknowledged by the secretary of state and throughout it’s entire formation the Buffalo Chip campground and the applicants that were trying to form this town followed the law by the letter,” Haag said.

Sturgis City manager Daniel Ainslie wants to see the state take action.

“Asking the attorney general as well as the governor to challenge this. Number one the petitions, as well as the idea that a campground can become a community when that campground is immediately adjacent to an existing community when there was not proper notice provided as well as when there is no one actually living at that campground,” Ainslie said.

Sturgis officials say they’ve heard from property owners who have concerns.

But those for in favor of the campground…

“We’re going to continue as we have since 2015, the town of Buffalo Chip is here to stay,” Kent said.

Sturgis officials say they hope to schedule a meeting with the attorney general and governor in the future.

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