SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For years the Sturgis Rally has brought thousands of motorcycles from all over the country to South Dakota.
While many are the classic Harley Davidson, a wider variety of brands have become more common at the rally in recent years.
‘Cowboy’ has been coming to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for more than 40 years.
“1977 was the first year I road from Bremerton, Washington to Sturgis, South Dakota on a 1954 rigid frame Springer front end panhead,” Cowboy said.
When he first started coming, there was a wide array of bike brands to see.
“You’d see a lot of pan, knuckle, shoves, flat heads, a lot of Harleys, you’d still see a lot of Japanese bikes, the four big ones back then, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Beamers used to show up then too,” Cowboy said.
Even earlier when the rally began in 1938, the array of motorcycles looked a little different.
“It hasn’t always been about Harley Davidsons, originally the rally was founded by Pappy Hoel out here and he owned the Indian Motorcycle dealership here in Sturgis, South Dakota,” Vern Eide Motoplex Marketing Director Tom Borchard said.
But in 1953 Indian Motorcycles stopped production, only to have the brand resurrected in 2011. Now after more than 10 years in production, the Indian motorcycle brand is coming back to the rally in stronger numbers.
“We’re selling a ton out here,” Borchard said. “Our Indian Sturgis dealership out here is actually the number one Indian dealership in the nation.”
Vern Eide Motoplex also added another new brand to its Sioux Falls store this year that’s starting to gain some traction at the rally.
“We’ve never had a BMW Motorrad dealership in Sioux Falls before, and it’s really exciting because they have a portfolio that not everybody has, the adventure bikes is the segment they’re the most dominate in,” Borchard said.
“We see more and more out here now, a lot more of the adventure-type bikes because they can get off-road,” Cowboy said.
It’s a trend long-time rally goers like Cowboy are noticing and embracing.
“There’s a big change going on. But whatever you ride doesn’t matter anymore,” Cowboy said. “I think that’s great because if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast and you like rolling down the highway it doesn’t matter what you ride, you’re just enjoying what you’re doing.”
Vern Eide says BMW also launched its own version of the classic cruiser bike, adding even more competition to the market; competition he says helps consumers have even more options and better bikes to choose from.