Big Year for a Big Party: Sturgis Readies 75th Annual Motorcycle Rally

Posted by Safeco July 20, 2015

The Foremost Event for Riders on 2 Wheels

Plan Your Sturgis Outing

For many motorcycle enthusiasts, the biggest event of the summer is summed up in a single word: Sturgis.

Every August, riders rumble into the small South Dakota town for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a week of races and tours, concerts and camaraderie. This year's rally, Aug. 3-9, is the 75th annual. To mark that milestone, here's a quick look at the event's history, as well as some things to do and places to go if you're planning to make the pilgrimage down Interstate 90.

The Evolution of Sturgis

The nation's best-known motorcycle rally has its roots in the purchase of an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis by Clarence "Pappy" Hoel in 1936. Two years later, Hoel, his wife, Pearl, and the newly formed Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club sponsored their first race. The "Black Hills Classic" drew nine racers and a crowd of 200 on Aug. 14, 1938. The club has continued to sponsor the rally each year since, except for a few years during World War II. And, yes, it has grown. Today, it encompasses 12 events, including motocross racing, a half-mile race, hill climbs, road tours and short track racing, with hundreds of racers and thousands of spectators.

Three Places to Visit in Downtown Sturgis

  1. City of Riders Headquarters. The original Rally Headquarters at 1019 Main Street is where rally-goers stop in to sign the guest book and put a pin in the map representing their hometown. You can continue the tradition and stop by the Rally & Events booth for information on daily events. For more information call 1-605-720-0800.
  2. Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. More than a collection of bikes and memorabilia, the museum at the corner of Junction and Main aspires to be a curated tribute to the people, the tradition and the technology of motorcycles. Founded in 2001, the museum is raising money for an ambitious expansion project that will triple its current square footage.
  3. Harley-Davidson Rally Point. As part of a partnership with the city of Sturgis, Harley-Davidson Inc. is building a permanent plaza at the corner of Second and Main streets. The plaza will include a stage for events, concerts and other year-round celebrations, and will incorporate bricks from the company’s historic Milwaukee headquarters. Completion is expected in time for this year's rally.

Three Scenic Rides to Enjoy

  1. Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. This 70-mile loop, a local favorite, will take you through the winding pigtail bridges and granite tunnels of Iron Mountain Road, into Custer State Park, past the Needle's Eye and Cathedral Spires of the Needle's Highway, Harney Peak and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
  2. Badlands Run to Wall Drug. Here's a chance to see one of America's best-known roadside attractions (Wall Drug), and cruise through Badlands National Park to boot.
  3. Black Hills Run to Custer State Park. This route favored by motorcycle riders crosses the Black Hills from Deadwood to Custer State Park. It reached the height of its popularity between 1939 and 1941. The popularity of the Sturgis rally drew additional attention to the route in recent years.

No matter if you’re headed to Sturgis or somewhere else on your bike this summer, be sure you have motorcycle insurance for your prized ride. You'll want a policy that satisfies your state's requirements. And, look for added features, such as coverage for safety apparel and for custom parts and equipment.

Have fun and stay vertical on the road to South Dakota (or elsewhere) this year!


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