The thrill of a new adventure is always an exhilarating experience, especially when you throw in motorcycles and the camaraderie of fellow enthusiasts. If this sounds like you, or something you’ve always wanted to do, there’s an event that’s captured the hearts of bikers worldwide — the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Are you unfamiliar with the Sturgis rally? No worries! We’re taking a closer look at everything you need to know about this event — from its captivating history to the myriad of activities and attractions you can partake in along the way — to ensure a successful experience. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or someone eager to join the fun, this adventure promises unforgettable memories and an awe-inspiring atmosphere!
The exhilarating history of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
So, what exactly is this event and where did it come from? The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, initially called the Black Hills Classic, is an iconic annual event that draws motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world to the town of Sturgis, South Dakota. With its humble beginnings in 1938, it was organized by a group of bikers known as the Jackpine Gypsies — led by a charismatic local Indian Motorcycle dealer named Pappy Hoel —and it’s since become the largest motorcycle rally not only in the United States but the entire world.
Originally a small, local race of just nine participants, the occasion quickly gained popularity and is now an annual tradition. In fact, by the second year, the Jackpine Gypsies club had already transformed this simple race into a larger motorcycle rally with flat-track races and impressive stunts — garnering over 800 attendees. And, by 1940, it had grown into a two-day event and showed no signs of stopping.
Today, this legendary gathering for bikers has evolved into a massive 10-day festival, following years of attracting more and more attendees.
More than just a motorcycle rally
While bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide make their way to the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally for exactly what you might expect — the motorcycles — there’s a lot more to see and do than meets the eye. Beyond thrilling rides, the town of Sturgis itself becomes a hub of excitement during the event, as do the many towns in the surrounding region.
You might visit Main Street and take advantage of unique vendors, motorcycle-related shops and bars to socialize and enjoy the lively atmosphere. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Attendees can find Custer State Park, brimming with diverse wildlife and picturesque landscapes, within a short distance from Sturgis. Not to mention the Loud American Roadhouse in Sturgis and Rapid City, which boasts live music and a vibrant nightlife experience.
Participants can also take some time to see nearby historic attractions like Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial (i.e., an ongoing sculptural tribute to the Lakota warrior). Or, if you enjoy an outdoor adventure, you can pay a visit to the Badlands National Park and take in its rugged beauty, breathtaking terrain and memorable wildlife sightings.
To appease the motorcycle enthusiast in every visitor, it’s almost impossible to resist seeing the rich history of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum or taking a scenic ride on the Needles Highway. Captivating information coupled with winding roads that pass through granite spires and offer breathtaking views make for a remarkable experience every time.
Motorcycles, motels and other considerations
Ready to take on the festival? You’ll need to find suitable accommodations first! Luckily, there’s no shortage of lodging or dining choices in and around the Sturgis area.
When looking for a place to stay, you might opt for a spot at a nearby RV park or the Buffalo Chip campground, a well-known gathering place for bikers and attendees. These affordable options offer a lively atmosphere and entertainment throughout your 10-day visit. If camping isn’t your style, several hotels and motels in Sturgis and its neighboring towns provide rally visitors with comfortable lodging for the best experience.
What is there to eat in Sturgis?
When it comes to what you can eat while you’re there, rest assured the options are plentiful. Travel like a local and take advantage of casual diners and neighborhood bars. Or, have dinner with a view at Spearfish Canyon or Rushmore Tramway Adventures.
What type of weather can attendees expect?
Before heading to the festival, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast and bring the appropriate clothing and gear for the most comfortable experience. Luckily, the weather in early August in South Dakota is generally quite pleasant.
However, keep in mind that you’ll be slightly elevated during the event, so it will be cooler than you expect. And, because most of the rally takes place outside, it’s smart to bring a rain jacket and boots to help you stay dry in case of rain.
Getting you and your motorcycle there
With Route 66 Tours, you can ensure your trip to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be unforgettable. Ride the amazing Rocky Mountains to the Black Hills of South Dakota from July 25th to August 17th. This 23-night tour sets off in “Sin City” Las Vegas, so you can take in the biggest bike festival of all time.
Our fully-guided tour is packed with scenic landscapes, rich history and an exhilarating atmosphere that can help you connect with fellow bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. You can expect highlights such as the Grand Canyon North Rim, Vermillion Cliffs and Monument Valley — along with outstanding roads to ride, like the Beartooth Highway and the Million Dollar Highway.
Unlike other tour companies, we stay in quality hotel accommodations all the way. With lodging in Deadwood — a short and magnificent 13-mile ride from downtown Sturgis — you know you’ll have fantastic restaurants, bars and casinos nearby.
The Sturgis rally is not just an event; it’s an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. To book an extraordinary trip that will resonate with the biker in you, contact us today!