STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) — Traffic counts indicate attendance at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally through day four is about 35,000 more than last year.
The counts at nine locations entering the rally recorded a total of 252,737 vehicles through four days, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Last year’s four-day total was 217,778.
The 2021 numbers are also more than the non-COVID-19 pandemic year of 2019.
The four-day total of 2019 which was 228,438, according to S.D. DOT data.
The total traffic count in 2019 was 499,654. In 2019, Monday was the highest traffic count day with 61,126 vehicles counted.
The 2021 number is lower than the 75th Anniversary total of 359,692. The anniversary in 2015 set a record attendance of almost 750,000.
Before the 2015 rally, the Sturgis Rally had reached a peak in 2000 with an attendance of more than 600,000. Attendance has been 525,000 or below since then with the exception of 2015.
The rally expanded to 10 official days in 2017 but the S.D. DOT traffic data has counted traffic for 10 days since at least 2011.
Monday’s total vehicles of 64,158 is an increase of 12.6% from last year.
The breakdown for the first three days: Friday, 55,326, Saturday, 67,482, Sunday, 65,771.
The Friday numbers are an 11% increase from 2020 but a 13.2% decrease from the 75th. The Saturday numbers are a 23.1% increase from 2020 but an 18% decrease from the 75th. The Sunday numbers are up 17.1 % from last year but down 27.2% from the 75th.
The DOT traffic counts, pounds of garbage and other factors are used by the city of Sturgis to determine the estimated rally attendance.
The rally runs through Aug. 15.