Sturgis, South Dakota – Home of the Annual Motorcycle Rally

Sturgis HillWhile in the area visiting Mount Rushmore National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial in June of 2015, we decided to check out the interesting city of Sturgis. It was founded in 1878 and was originally named Scooptown. It was named this because many of the residents “scooped up” their pay from nearby Fort Meade. Its name was later changed to Sturgis in honor of the Civil War Union General Samuel D. Sturgis. Today that is approximately 6,800 residents.  

Sturgis Harley Davidson StoreFor those of you who may not know, Sturgis is the location of one of the largest annual motorcycle events in the world, which is held annually on the first full week of August. Like I said we were there in June so there wasn’t too much going on, but it is going to be crazy this year. They are gearing up for the 75thAnnual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and we were told they are excepting over a million people that week.  Crazy, but they think it will be a lot of fun too. I guess they have a lot of activities.  Check the link above for events, lodging, etc.

Sturgis - Harley Davidson BikeOf course we had to stop at the  Haley Davidson Store and shop around, and take our picture in front of the store. There is even a spot dedicated for picture taking. There were several bikers around taking pictures too. It was a nice day and I really couldn’t help but think how nice it would have been to just jump on the back of a bike and hit the road. Of course, we didn’t have a bike, but it was fun talking to them about the bikes Gene use to have and what he use to ride.  I can definitely see the appeal.

1040 Junction Ave.
Sturgis, SD 57785


Sunday – Closed
Monday – Closed
Tuesday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm

Sturgis - Hot LeatherI still wanted to do a little more shopping, so we walked across the street to a little store called Hot Leathers Trading Post. The place smelled wonderful. I love the smell of leather and it hits you immediately as you walk in. I could have stayed in there for hours, lol  We eventually left, but not before I ended up buying a 75th Anniversary refrigerator magnet. Thought it was a cool thing to get to remember our trip and their anniversary.

1000 Main Street
Sturgis, SD 57785


Daily 9:30 am-5 pm

Sturgis - Knuckle BreweryWe drove around a little while then decided to have a quick lunch and beer at a local bar or brewery. We ended up at The Knucke Brewing Company and had a great meal. I loved my Brick Personal Flatbread and Gene really enjoyed his Meatball Sub. Of course we had to try some local brew. I don’t like beers with a lot of hops so I had the Va’Knockers Blonde, and it was pretty good. Gene is the exact opposite and loves IPA’s. He had the Pipe Welder Porter and enjoyed his too.

931 1st St, Sturgis, SD 57785


Daily 10:00 am-2:00 am

A little later we did a little more driving around but decided to head onto Historic Deadwood City. It was a wonderful day. I am so glad we were able to finally get to see Sturgis. Gene had been wanting to go ever since I knew him. It was great to be able to get there and experience it with him. If you are headed to the rally, have a great time and bring a lot of patience, lol. I know my cousin Terry will be there. Have fun Terry! Think of us. 🙂 Here is a link to their website with more information about the rally.

Sturgis - BikesI also wanted to share some information about the city and the rally.

1936: Clarence “Pappy” Hoel purchased an Indian Motorcycle Franchise in Sturgis, SD. The Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club was formed.

1938: The Rally Begins The first Sturgis Rally, known as the Black Hills Classic was held on August 14th with a race of 9 participants and a small audience.

1942: Due to gas rationing in support of the war efforts the Rally did not take place from 1939-to 1941. 1942 was the return year of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

1949: For the 1st time, Sturgis Main Street is blocked off for a 2 hour awards ceremony.

1961: The Jackpine Gypsies introduce the Hill Climb and Motocross races.

1964: One block of Main Street is officially closed for motorcycle parking over the course of the 3-day event.

1965: The Rally moves to a 5-day event.

1974: The first temporary vendor set up in the Sturgis Auditorium.

1975: The Rally evolves to a 7-day event.

1979: The City of Sturgis begins licensing temporary vendors. 9 vendors licensed.

1983: City Park is closed to camping due to fire outbreaks.

1986: Local man, Tom Monahan, donates the artwork of the Official Rally Logo to the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce.

1988: 117 vendors licensed in the City of Sturgis.

1989: Sturgis Rally Founder, Pappy Hoel passes away at the age of 85.

2000: The Sturgis Rally saw the largest attendance exceeding as high as 600,000 people.

2002: The City of Sturgis formed a city department within the city government to take the place of all prior contract labor hired to promote and organize the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

2010: 70th Annual City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with 466,769 in attendance!

2012: Attendance of 445,700 with participants from all 50 states as well as Canada and dozens of other international communities including Japan, Australia, Germany, England, etc.

2015: The City of Sturgis is proud to have celebrated the 75th annual event with a record attendance of an amazing 750,000+ participants spanning over a 10 day period.

2016: The City of Sturgis expands the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to 10 days

2020: 80th Anniversary held during a viral pandemic 🙁

Sturgis - MapDirections to Sturgis:

From I-90 Eastbound

Take Exit 37 from I-90, travel East onto Pleasant Valley Rd. (0.8 miles)

Turn North onto Fort Meade Way. Travel to the Buffalo Chip. (4.8 miles)
If you are coming for the concerts and don’t intend to camp, turn east onto 207th (1 mile), then left onto 132nd Ave. to the concert parking lot.


Take exit 10 and take a left (85 North) towards Belle Fourche.

Go through Belle Fourche until you get to the 212 Junction and take a right onto 212 East.

At the end of 212, you’ll come to Hwy 79. Turn right onto 79 South and keep on that road till you pass Bear Butte on your left.

After Bear Butte, you’ll come to another junction with a traffic light. Take a left onto Hwy 34 and look up to see our legendary Buffalo Chip sculpture welcoming you home.

Turn right onto Fort Mead Way and follow the direction of traffic attendants to join us for the Best Party Anywhere.

From I-90 Westbound

Take Exit 37 from I-90, travel East onto Pleasant Valley Rd. (0.8 miles)

Turn North onto Fort Meade Way. Travel to the Buffalo Chip. (4.8 miles)
If you are coming for the concerts and don’t intend to camp, turn east onto 207th (1 mile), then left onto 132nd Ave. to the concert parking lot.


Turn off the interstate at Exit 61 and turn right onto Elk Vale Rd, heading North.

(Elk Vale Rd is not fully paved so those of you who are riding in might want to use the alternate route through Sturgis)

Follow Elk Vale Rd until it ends at Alkali Rd. Turn left onto Alkali.

Continue to the Buffalo Chip for approximately 15 miles.

Follow signage and directions of traffic attendants to get yourself into the campground as quickly as possible and join us for the Best Party Anywhere!

To Approach Via Sturgis,

Take Exit 32. Turn right at the light. Travel approx 1 mile. Turn Right (East) onto Lazelle St. Travel 3 miles East to the Buffalo Chip.


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