Have you been to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally? Wonder how it stacks up compared to other years? Here are some key statistics so that you can compare year over year numbers starting with the 75th Anniversary.
2015 – 739,000
2016 – 448,000
2017 – official count TBD
DOT Traffic counts
2015 – 510,749
2016 – 329,789
2017 – 311,937
Marriage Licenses Issued in Sturgis
2015 – 122
2016 – 49
2017 – official count TBD
2015 – 212
2016 – 422
2017 – 147
2015 – 155
2016 – 152
2017 – 147
Rally Related Fatalities
2015 – 15
2016 – 3
2017 – 8
Do you go to the Sturgis Rally every year? Have you noticed the different trends from year to year?
Just as all types of people and motorcycles converge at the Sturgis Rally, as do food vendors who offer a wide selection of chow for hundreds of thousands of hungry bikers to nosh. Famous names and street vendors alike come from thousands of miles away to set up shop in Sturgis for a week of feeding hungry masses. The options are almost limitless and there is something for everyone to enjoy, but we have compiled a list of the top four foods to try in Sturgis to get you started.
4. Sweeto Burrito
What began as a venture in a North Dakota oil patch, has since become rally food legend. The line is always long, but service is fast, and it is always worth it. Rally goers can literally not wait to get their lips around a Sweeto Burrito – a huge tortilla stuffed with ingredients including carne assada, sweet shredded pork, tater tots, cilantro sauce, french fries, smoked chicken, and many other options of flavorful goodness. Although there are franchises of Sweeto Burrito popping up across the country, the original food truck can be found in the parking lot of the Iron Horse Saloon. And you don’t want to miss it.
3. Turkey Leg
A day on the motorcycle makes a biker hungry. Savagely hungry. Satisfy your inner caveman with a punch of protein like no other and chow down on a giant turkey leg. Smoked for hours and deeply infused with flavors of charcoal and mesquite, you will not regret or soon forget taking down one of these bad boys. Offered by numerous vendors at various locations all over Sturgis, you are sure to pass by one when hunger strikes. Get it. Take a picture of it. Devour it.
2. Steak Tips
There is a bit of controversy surrounding steak tips in the town of Sturgis. Two venues vie for the title of “best steak tips in the world.” Contender number one is the Knuckle Saloon. Boasting tender marinated tips cooked as you like them, and breaded or unbreaded. The Knuckle Saloon offers a twist on the original with buffalo style bleu cheese tips if you are feeling a little more … saucy. The Knuckle Saloon is located on the corner of Lazelle and 1st Street. The second contender is the Loud American Roadhouse, located right on Main Street in downtown Sturgis. Their steak tips are touted as beef tenderloin, gently dusted with a secret blend of house herbs, spices and flour and flash-fried to a medium rare that nearly melts in your mouth. So who has the best steak tips? You may need to try both, and decide for yourself.
1. Something New
Food vendors vary from year to year, providing new adventures for your palate. What could possibly be described as “metal carnival food”, or “fair food on crack”, all bets are off as to what you will have the opportunity to taste. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a giant funnel cake or deep fried Oreos. Grab some food on a stick from corn dogs to kabobs. How about a pizza dog…a hot dog wrapped in pizza and deep fat fried. Whatever your taste buds desire and more is sure to be found in a food truck, tent, restaurant or shack at the Sturgis Rally. Take a chance, try it, and add it to the list of your unique Sturgis experience.
If you are headed to Sturgis, SD for the annual motorcycle rally or for any of the other events hosted by this small community you will no doubt be taking many photographs while you are there. There are many options to share the experience of your trip, but frequent visitors know what the most iconic and recognizable photos are. We have narrowed it down to the top three “must do” Sturgis photo opportunities.
3. Official Sturgis Signs
On Lazelle Street (just east of I-90 exit 30), is a Welcome to Sturgis sign in the Sturgis Coffee Company parking lot. It is the perfect spot to snap a photo on your way toward any downtown festivities. The black and orange hues of the sign contrast the often clear azure skies of South Dakota. If you happen to come into Sturgis via Junction Ave (exit 32 off of I-90), there is another welcome sign, just like its partner across town. It is located on the north-east corner of Junction Ave and Anna Street, across from the Best Western Sturgis Inn.
2. Sly Hill
Visible from anywhere in downtown Sturgis, north of Bear Butte Creek, the Sturgis Community Center, and Sturgis RV Park, the giant Sturgis sign on Sly Hill is redolent of a sign you might see in Hollywood. The concrete letters simply spelling out the word “Sturgis” leave no question you are in the City of Riders. Be sure to snap a few selfies with the easily seen letters in the background, and send it to your jealous friends who didn’t make the trip.
1. Main Street
As you wander down Main Street in Sturgis, you will quickly find that there are a multitude of opportunities for photos during any of the organized rallies. During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally colorful characters abound, biker babes and body paint are the normal, and giant food portions are standard. If you are looking for the ultimate selfie, you will want to pay the fee to stand on the towers located on either end of Main Street, giving a bird’s eye view of the hustle and bustle below.
2017 Sturgis Camaro Rally Schedule has been announced!
The first day of the 2017 Camaro Rally is Thursday, June 22 and will include registration at the Iron Horse Saloon, a guided poker run, and be followed by an evening mixer, a pub crawl, and entertainment! Activities for Friday will include a complimentary breakfast for registered attendees at the Knuckle Saloon, a fun run, and drag racing! The events for Saturday, June 24 include a car show and show and shine, main street photo, loud pipes contest, award presentation, and evening entertainment at the Iron Horse Saloon. The final day of the Rally consists of a fun run and a group photo opportunity.
Thursday, June 22nd
9:00 am to 5:00 pm – Iron Horse Saloon Registration
10:00 am to 5:00 pm – White’s Queen City Poker Run – Guided Poker Runs leave at 11am and 12pm from Iron Horse Saloon parking lot
6:00 pm – Knuckle Camaro Mixer – Meet & greet, meal, and announcements at The Knuckle Saloon Pavilion
Sturgis, SD is not a stranger to worldly exposure and celebrity sightings, especially during the first week of August during one of the largest annual motorcycle gatherings of the year. August 2016 was no exception, as the Travel Channel decided to reveal some Secret Eats in the town of Sturgis and surrounding area.
After stopping at a traveling BBQ pit for some of Sturgis’ finest street meat, Adam Richman and crew headed to Jambonz Bar and Grill. The fun feel of the bayou carries through the atmosphere and the menu at Jambonz, and is paired with a side of friendly mid-west service and hospitality.
Next stop for Adam and crew was the Deadwood Social Club. While the town of Deadwood enjoyed some recent acclaim due to the HBO series by the same name, this particular focus was on the wild boar poppers (cherry peppers filled with cream cheese filling, and wrapped in wild boar bacon).
The crew spent a few more days roaming the Black Hills, including a stop to the town of Rapid City. While there, they made sure to visit the Blind Lion, a speakeasy hidden in the basement of a popular downtown restaurant.
If you ever find yourself in the Black Hills, be sure to check out these stops on your trip and checking out some other delicious opportunities that the area has to offer.
The episode is scheduled to first air on February 1, 2017. Check your local listings for times.
Early bird registration rates for the Tatanka mountain bike race, the amazing, epic race hosted out of Sturgis are ending soon! The registration fees for the epic distance, which is a 135km race starting at Mount Rushmore are currently $150, but will be increasing to the full rate of $200 soon. If you plan to ride your mountain bike in this event, or know of someone else who does, now is a great time to register and take advantage of a lower rate. The registration fees for the shorter 55km distance will be increasing as well.
Registration fees for the Tatanka mountain bike race, an epic race hosted in Sturgis with multiple distance options, are increasing again soon! The registration fees for the epic distance, which is a 135km race starting at Mount Rushmore are currently $125, but will be increasing to $150 at the start of June. If you plan to ride your mountain bike in this event, or know of someone else who does, now is a great time to register and take advantage of a lower “early bird” rate. The registration fees for the shorter 55km distance will be increasing as well.
If you have ever been to Sturgis, South Dakota, you have no doubt noticed the lone mountain to the northeast on the horizon. This is Bear Butte, a place considered sacred by the American Indians of the Northern Great Plains, with human artifacts being found here dating back over 10,000 years.
As with many sacred places of the American Indian, Bear Butte is surrounded in legend. While there are several variations of the story, the Lakota Sioux, who are indigenous to the region, tell the tale of two boys. The boys were playing in a field when they caught the attention of a huge bear named Mato (the Lakota word for bear). The bear chased the boys onto a large rock. The frightened boys prayed to the creator, Wakan Tanka. The god took pity on the boys and raised rock from the earth toward the heavens into a tall tower the bear could not climb. When the bear tried to pursue the boys, he left huge scratch marks down the sides of the rock tower. The boys were rescued from the top of the tower by an eagle named Wanblee, and carried to safety. The exhausted and frustrated bear walked off in his defeat, and laid down to rest and sulk at Mato Paha, or Bear Mountain — now Bear Butte. Today, the rock tower is known as Devil’s Tower and is located in eastern Wyoming, just north of Sundance.
In progression to the modern day, the area has come under scrutiny time and time again. In 1857, the Lakota held a council at Bear Butte to determine what to do about the growing presence of white settlers, primarily gold miners, that were coming into the Black Hills.
Fast forward to 1874, when the famed General Custer led the Black Hills Expedition from Fort Abraham. The expedition was in violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, however, the lust for gold (not to mention Custer’s infamous character) led settlers and prospectors to the area in a frenzied gold rush.
While the Lakota people believe that no one should own the land, it came to be that during the 1940’s settlement era of the Dakota Territory, Mr. Ezra Bovee settled on the southern slope of the butte. Soon after, Northern Cheyenne leaders approached Bovee, requesting permission to hold a prayer ceremony dedicated to ending World War II. Bovee granted permission and welcomed other tribes to the site. Throughout the 1950’s, Bovee generated interest in the site and attempted to have the area designated as a National Park. When the federal government lost interest in the project, the state of South Dakota stepped in, declaring Bear Butte an official State Park in 1961. Bear Butte became a National Historic Site in 1965.
Today, the region is still considered sacred by American Indians, and they often visit the site to perform prayer ceremonies. Prayer ties filled with tobacco as an offering to the Great Spirit in exchange for blessings are found hanging on branches in the area. As a sign of respect, visitors are asked to leave the bundles undisturbed, and to refrain from making loud noises, playing music, or bringing pets onto the site.
Ever wonder what folks in the Sturgis area do in the winter? The area is widely known as a motorcycle mecca and for its spring, summer, and fall recreation. Snowmobiles are a popular past time in the winter, but you can’t snowmobile all the time. So what do area residents do to keep themselves occupied? Among other things, they race outhouses!
The Nemo 500 outhouse races are an annual fundraiser for the Naja Shrine Children’s Transportation fund. Teams build racing outhouses and compete against each other, with awards given for the best times. There is also a people’s choice award for the spectators favorite mobile privy!
A chili cook-off is held as part of the event, and participation as a spectator is free of charge! Learn more about the Nemo 500, to be held in Nemo, SD on February 27, 2016, by visiting the official Nemo 500 website at nemo500.com.