STURGIS, S.D. - The Sturgis Rally is just over two weeks away, and already, vendors are bringing in their wares in preparation for the big event.
The streets of Sturgis are still quiet and ordinary now. But off in the distance you can hear a rumble. It's not the rumble of motorcycles, not just yet. It's the rumble of semi-trucks, moving into town with tents, tables, shelves, booths, and tons of t-shirts, souvenirs and other Sturgis items that will once again be part of the business dynamic of the rally.
"Vendors are up over last year right now. They were slow but over the weekend they started picking up big time so we've been dealing with vendors all day today," Jerry Cole. with the Strugis Rally, said.
Also on the way are trucks filled with burgers, beer, brats and the tons of supplies needed to feed nearly a half millions bikers and rally attendees. There are also trucks full of motorcycle parts, custom choppers, and tires, along with tons of boots, belts, and vests.
What's encouraging for the people who promote the rally is that there's a big increase in all that stuff developing for the event.
"I heard this morning, it's about five to ten percent right now. But we were running behind two weeks ago so I don't know if it's just catching up with us now or what," Cole said.
New events this year include a beard and mustache contest, and the new Sturgis Burger Battle, which will feature a hot contest between expert fryers and flippers. Also coming this year is something Jerry Cole is a bit coy about.
"Opening ceremonies are going to be spectacular this year. Everybody should be here for that. It's at four o'clock on Friday August 3. I will give you a little hint. Look up in the sky. You'll see something," Cole said.
This will be the 78th annual Sturgis Rally. Coming off the big 75th anniversary rally several year ago, promoters say they are seeing a trend for a big buildup in numbers this year.