Part 4. Buffalo Chip Campground - Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
About 6 miles out of town is the ďLegendaryĒ Buffalo Chip campground. It has a reputation for wild parties, nudity, and noise. I know it because it hosts concerts by big name artists, which I have attended in prior years. I have seen Jay Leno wrestle Hulk Hogan at the Buffalo Chip, Iíve seen Willie Nelson, George Thoroughgood, Travis Tritt, Steppenwolf, and many others in concert. It has 4 world class stages and almost constant entertainment. In years past Iíve had to ride home after the concerts ending at about 12 midnight and sometimes 2 a.m. This means no alcohol and a dark and sometimes cold and wet ride home. Included in the price of tickets is free camping, so this year I decided to take them up on it.
Buffalo Chip Campground
I find a camping spot about a mile from the concert stage. There is no outhouse within sight, but it is up against a chain link fence making it easy to tie my tarp and create some shade. The concert program for the week features Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Credence Clearwater Revival, Steve Miller Band, Journey and some other names I donít recognize. As explained earlier, this is no organized campground, it is a cow pasture. There are no paved roads and only a few dirt ones. Most of the riding in camp is over grassy fields, and some pretty challenging dirt riding awaits anyone who is not paying close attention as to where they are going. The camping was fine. As I expected, it was very nice to walk to the concerts and back to my camp at night. I could drink and not worry about riding home. The concerts were great, especially CCR and the Steve Miller Band. Even when I bailed out early due to lack of interest in 1970ís heavy metal music, I could still hear the music clearly in my camp.
There are plenty of bars, food courts, a general store and numerous vendors inside the camp. Everything you need can be purchased inside the camp and only slightly inflated prices. The camp's reputation for wildness and lewd behavior is lost on me. I see nothing of the sort, just as Iíve never seen nudity or wild behavior in prior years. In the area near the stage it is loud. Many riders have straight non-muffled pipes on their bikes and are convinced that everyone else in the world wants to hear them. Many bikers ride their bikes to the concerts and sit on them in the grass in front of the stage. Instead of applause they rev their bikes in appreciation. As I said, it can get loud. When not at the concerts, most campers sit around their campfires and drink. It is easy to meet people as everyone is friendly and many will invite you over for a drink. The atmosphere is one of a fraternity party, with lots of drinking at night and laughing at things that aren't really funny anywhere else. Iíve never seen or heard of any violence, in the camp or outside. Everyone is pretty mellow and there to have a good time. Sunday night is Tim McGraw and his concert is slick, professional, and much enjoyed.
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