Tatanka Race Registration Fees Increase Soon

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.

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Bear Butte yesterday and today

Bear Butte and Bear Butte Lake on an evening in April 2016
Bear Butte and Bear Butte Lake in foreground on an evening in April 2016

Bear Butte Past and Present

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.

From the pinnacle of the Summit Trail, at the elevation of 4,426 feet, four states can be seen.  For more information on visiting Bear Butte State Park and the Bear Butte Education Center, visit http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/bear-butte/.


There are several other museums in the area as well as numerous other recreational trails.

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Racing Outhouses, what Sturgis area folks do during the winter

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.

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Tatanka Registration Fees Increase Soon!

Registration fees for the Tatanka mountain bike race, an epic race hosted in Sturgis with multiple distance options, are increasing at the start of February! The registration fees for the epic distance, which is a 135km race starting at Mount Rushmore are $100, but will be increasing to $125 tomorrow. 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. The registration fees for the shorter 55km distance will be increasing as well.

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Sturgis Camaro Rally 2016 Schedule

2016 Sturgis Camaro Rally Schedule has been announced!

The first day of the 2016 Camaro Rally is Thursday, June 23 and will include registration at the Easyriders Saloon, a guided poker run, and be followed by an evening mixer, a pub crawl, and entertainment! Fridays activities will include a complimentary breakfast for registered attendees at the Knuckle Saloon, a fun run, autocross, and drag racing. The events for Saturday, June 25 include a car show and show and shine, main street photo, loud pipes contest, and evening entertainment at the Easyriders Saloon. The final day of the Rally consists of a fun run and a photo opportunity at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

See the full schedule on the Sturgis Camaro Rally website.

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Women of Sturgis 2015 Bike Rally Pictures

The fabulous women of Sturgis are one of the most talked about attractions of the annual Sturgis Bike Rally. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws hundreds of thousands annually in Western South Dakota, and most of those visitors make it into downtown Sturgis for at least a day or two during their visit.

Some of the women who visit the area take the opportunity to wear a bit less than perhaps they normally would and show off their assets. The men who visit Sturgis, and many of the women as well, definitely look forward to the spectacle. There are many interesting outfits, body paint, and uniforms on display at the Rally. The diversity of what is on display makes for an interesting adventure for all who attend.

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7th Cavalry Trail System gets official in 2016

7th Cavalry Trail System Logo / InsigniaThe Bureau of Land Management, in collaboration with Black Hills area nonprofit Black Hills Trails have put together a tentative schedule for the remaining work to be done before commissioning the new 7th Cavalry Trail System on the Fort Meade Recreation Area. The remaining work will likely entail thousands of volunteer hours throughout 2016, but the good news is signage will be placed on all trails in the new trail network in 2016. This will be a major boon for visitors to the area, as currently to make use of these trails a person must do some of their own way-finding or find a guide that is knowledgeable of the area.

The new Trail System reconstruction work includes rebuilding several major sections of the iconic Trail #89, or Centennial Trail, which is the best known and probably the most used trail in the Black Hills region.

Learn more about opportunities to get involved by visiting the Black Hills Trails website.

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Best Restaurants in Sturgis

Hamburger, Fries, and Cola Clip Art ImageTripAdvisor recently updated their list of the 10 best restaurants in Sturgis. Several of the top listings are food establishments that cater to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and simply won’t be available to all visitors, but two of the top three restaurants are local favorites open year round.

The Knuckle Saloon earned the #2 spot, and along with the Knuckle Brewery is one of the most popular destinations year round in downtown Sturgis. The #3 spot was taken by Jambonz Grill & Pub, which features a well rounded menu with a bit of southern flair that attracts not only residents by many travelers passing through the area on I-90.

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Jerry Cole, new Sturgis Rally and Events Director

Jerry Cole began in his new position with the City of Sturgis as the Rally and Events Director on Monday, December 28, 2015. Jerry Cole, who has a long history in government work will be the man primarily responsible for organizing the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on behalf of the City of Sturgis. Although the Rally has become more of a Black Hills area event, and has really outgrown its roots in Sturgis, it remains the center of the area activities and Sturgis Main Street remains the one must visit spot when in the area for the [in?]famous Rally Week.

Mr. Cole acted as Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of nearby Rapid City for 8 years from 2004-2012, and more recently served as Executive Director of the Hill City and then Dickinson Chambers of Commerce.

He has been known as someone who will buck authority and the status-quo to get things done, ostensibly the rationale for his dismissal as Parks and Recreation Director by the former Rapid City Mayor. If Mr. Cole lives up to this reputation as he takes the reigns of the Rally in Sturgis, it could serve to change the dynamic of what many consider a “Good ol’ Boys Club” of politics and money surrounding the Rally.

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