Sturgis, located in Meade County in South Dakota, has a population of less than 7,000 (info based on 2010 US Census). It is a small, charming, friendly rural community where people generally would bypass except for its annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
If you are motorcycle enthusiast, they talk about Sturgis as if comparing it to Mecca. One must visit at least once in a lifetime to pay homage to what has become the biggest annual event in South Dakota. From the first weekend of August, for 10 days, Sturgis’ population explodes. In the normal year, the expected crowd is about 500,000. During their 75 years anniversary, the town hosted more than 850,000 bikers.
J.J. and I visited Sturgis three times with Honu. One of our visits unintentionally coincided with the annual Sturgis event. We weren’t able to find any vacancies in RV parks within a 50 miles radius. All restaurants were filled. The average wait time for restaurant tables at nearby Rapid City was three hours. Streets too were closed to normal traffic due to motorcyclists parading around under police escorts.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the visitors numbers were down to 250,000. Seeing photos of so many cyclists gathering without masks nor exercising social-distancing make us cringe. It seems very irresponsible for the organizers as well as for the participants.
Aloha -- Cathi