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Part 1. Background - Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Sturgis is the Mecca for all motorcyclists, or it should be. It is a place you have to see at least once before you die. Once you see it, you may get addicted and return most years, as I have. You may never return, but you will never regret your time there. It is a week of motorcycles, for motorcyclists, by motorcyclists. Sure, there is booze, music, and women, but it is all about the motorcycle.

Sturgis is a town of 6,400 souls 50 weeks of the year. It is located in the Black Hills of western South Dakota, a land historically sacred to the Lakota Sioux Indians. Within an hourís ride are the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, Custer National Park, Devilís Tower (think Strange Encounters of the Third Kind), Deadwood (and its casinos), Rapid City, Walls Drug Store (this canít be explained, it must be experienced), and of course the beautiful winding twisty roads of the Black Hills themselves. In 2005 the reported number of attendees was officially 515,000. Most descend on Sturgis and Deadwood, and while everything is meticulously organized, there is no question that the hordes overwhelm these two small towns. The rest of the Black Hills, however, seem unaffected and the riding is always the main attraction for me. The entrance to Mt. Rushmore can back up, but the other small towns situated in the Black Hills are much less congested and inviting. 22 miles to the east is Rapid City. While busier than any other time of the year, Rapid City is large enough to absorb the rally and still function normally. The Harley Davidson rally headquarters is in Rapid City.

Sturgis, South Dakota

In Sturgis itself are rows upon rows of venders of everything motorcycle and quite a few things that are not, bars, restaurants, toilets, and museums. Main Street is closed to all traffic except motorcycles. Motorcycles are parked solidly down both sides of the street with a double row down the middle of Main Street. This goes on for about 8 blocks, which is the entirety of the business district. And just how did all this start?


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