The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is officially underway, and an increasing number of those who come to the rally travel from other counties.
This is a scene you can’t find anywhere else in the world. At least not on this scale. Thousands of motorcycles on the streets of an American town, and thousands more cruising through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.
The Sturgis Motorcycle rally’s reputation has spread around the world, and as you walk the streets of Sturgis, you can meet people who have come a long way for this experience.
“I rode all the way up from Lethbridge, Alberta. How long did it take you? That is a two-day ride,” said Joel Briere of Alberta, Canada.
Farther up the street, John and Janita Vermuelen came all the way from South Africa.
“We were sitting one day, and I said to my wife, I would like to go to the biggest bike rally in the world. And she looked it up and she said, well, it’s Sturgis. And when I looked again, she booked a ticket and we were on our way out. We came here the first time seven years ago. Our first time in Sturgis was 2012 and we’ve been coming ever since,” said John Vermuelen of South Africa.
Rally officials estimate that 10 to 15 percent of rally goers come from outside the U.S.
“A lot of them are coming because this is such an iconic American festival. When people want to experience what it’s like to be an American or what it is for America, this is something that really pops into a lot of people’s minds. So they want to come here even if they’re not riders,” said Dan Ainslie, the Sturgis City Manager.
All of that seems to indicate an international draw for the Sturgis Rally. It’s something that city officials and rally officials have taken some steps to encourage.”
“Actually, in the last 12 months, we have done a lot of digital advertising in western Europe as well as Australia; Japan and South Korea. We are seeing that those markets continue to grow for us, which is important for the state as well as the region,” said Ainslie.
Sturgis officials say they intend to continue to appeal to that increasingly international group of people who enjoy the world of motorcycles.