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Sturgis!! Get HYPED for the 81st Iconic Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota

08/01/2021

Headed to Sturgis? Let’s dive into the best ways to get to this little South Dakota town, who's playing this year, and some of the need-to-know and fun-to-know facts about this motorcycle rally that is absolutely packed with tradtiion, hogs, and festivities.

Not going to Sturgis this year? The official Sturgis Rally website offers street view live webcams so you can check in on all the fun, debauchery, comraderie and amazing array of motorcycles right from the comfort of your living room.

Dates:

Aug. 6th-15th

Best Travel Routes

Whether you’re riding your bike, driving at RV, or towing a trailer behind your truck, it’s going to be a long, hot trip to Sturgis from anywhere in the continental US. Here are some of the most popular routes, and highlights along the way:

Best routes to Sturgis
5 major routes to Sturgis from across the lower 48!

From Seattle and the Northwest

  • Follow I-90 until Billings, then hop on 212
  • Key cities and stops along the way: Spokane, Missoula, Billings

From San Diego and the Southwest

  • Follow I-15 to SLC, I-80 until Rawlins, then meander north east
  • Key cities and stops along the way: Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Casper

From Houston

  • Follow I-35 to Wichita, I-135 to Salina, US Hwy 81, I-80, meander up to I-90 W
  • Key cities and stops along the way: Dallas, Oklahoma City, Wichita

From Miami and the South

  • Follow the Florida Turnpike to I-75, switch to I-24 at Chattanooga, I-57 to I-64, then hop in I-70 W at St. Louis, I-29 at Kansas City, I-90 at Sioux Falls
  • Key cities and stops along the way: Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux Falls

From New York and the East Coast

  • Follow I-80 W to I-90 W … so simple, yet so many states
  • Key cities and stops along the way: Delaware Water Gap, Youngstown, Cleveland, Chicago, Madison, La Crosse, Sioux Falls

Where to Stay: Lodging and Accommodations

Pappy Hoel Campgrounds is the official Sturgis campground!

If being close to the music is more your thing, Sturgis Buffalo Chip offers fantastic first-come, first-served rough-it camping for motorcycles, as well as tiered rental options for tents, cabins, and RVs - all great options if you want to travel light and have someone else take care of all the set-up. Pay to stay, and the concerts are free - just don't lost your wristband! Additionally, the sites for dive-in motor homes, campers and RVs have access to power and water to make your stay incredibly comfortable. Other facilities on location include coin laundry, RV pump and dump, free showers as well as vendor showers (for a fee, enjoy a more... private experience), a gas station, general store and beer shacks.

Highlights of Concert Lineups

We’ve got some classic favorites this year, including:

Friday, August 6th

  • Blacklite District
  • Puddle of Mudd at Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Saturday, August 7th

  • Saul
  • 10 Years
  • Drowning Pool at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Buckcherry at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
Kid Rock making an appearance to rock the stage
Kid Rock making an appearance to rock the stage | Image belongs to musicinminnesota.com

Sunday, August 8th

  • Kid Rock at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Reverend Horton Heat at Sturgis Buffalo Chip (Wolfman Jack Stage)
  • Colt Ford
  • Chancey Williams

Monday, August 9th

  • Stone Temple pilots at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • REO Speedwagon at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Telsa
  • Resvisiting Creedence

Tuesday, August 10th

  • Saliva
  • Vince Neil
  • Great White
  • Clint Black at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Matt Stell at Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Wednesday, August 11th

  • ZZ Top at Sturgis Buffalo Chip... yes, even though they lost bassist Dusty Hill, the show is STILL GOING ON. Close friend Elwood Francis will perform bass.
  • Riley’s L.A. Guns
  • Queensryche
  • Wynonna
  • Corey Taylor at Sturgis Buffalo Chip... of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame!

Thursday, August 12th

  • Anthrax at Sturgis Buffalo Chip... performing at Sturgis Rally for the first time EVER!
  • Black Label Society at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Jackyl
  • Dave McElroy

Friday, August 13th

  • Shinedown at Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Black Stone Cherry at Sturgis Buffalo Chip (Wolfman Jack Stage)
  • Wayland
  • Tommey Vext of Bad Wolves fame
POD rocking out for the final day
POD rocking out for the final day as well as ICP!| Image belongs to sandiegouniontribune.com

Saturday, August 14th

  • P.O.D.at Sturgis Buffalo Chip (Wolfman Jack Stage)
  • From Ashes to New
  • ...And the one-of-a-kind Insane Clown Posse!
Sturgis town during the annual rally for bikers on August 5th, 2015
Sturgis town during the annual rally for bikers on August 5th, 2015

How’s the weather looking for the 10-day bonanza?

Pretty dang good! With highs in the upper 80s and lows in the 60s, we’re looking at partly sunny weather all the way through.

Should I bring my kids to the rally?

If you would bring your kids to any large outdoor multi-day concert event, there’s no reason why you can’t bring them to Sturgis! That being said, you know your kids best and know how they respond to crowds and noise so prepare your rally trip accordingly.

If you’re camping, choose your campground carefully and make sure you understand their policies regarding children, quiet hours, live music, and the infamous naked parties that you probably don’t want your children accidentally witnessing. That will make for some very awkward questions. Renting a house in Rapid City might be a better option if you’re bring your children; that way, you can spend the day enjoying all that Sturgis has to offer then retire to quieter surroundings for the evening.

Concerts get loud, and can run late into the night. Bringing babies or young children to see certain acts might not only be a bad idea, it could lead to hearing damage and a very tuckered out little kid if you’re not careful.

Day or night, be aware that the noise and stimulation of the crowds and motorcycles may be too much for some children to handle.

History of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Back in 1936, South Dakota native J. Clarence “Pappy” Hoel shifted his business from ice to motorcycles, foreseeing the popularity of new refrigeration technology. He purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis, and founded the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club.

J. Clarence “Pappy” Hoel
Mr. J. Clarence “Pappy” Hoel outside of Indian Motorcycles circa 1930s-1940s

The first rally was held in 1938, catered by Pappy’s wife Pearl, and attendees could camp right in their backyard behind the motorcycle shop. It featured a tour of the Black Hills, as well as a dirt track race, and was so popular that the next year it saw approximately 800 riders – four times the attendance of the original rally.

World War II put pause on the rally, but once the war was over it continued to grow. In the early 1970s, bike gangs started to turn up, moving the vibe of the rally from racing and family-oriented fun. Rather than restricting who could attend the rally, Hoel welcomed every motorcyclist with open arms, truly living up to his “Pappy” nickname.

By the time the 1980s rolled around, Hoel and the Jackpiners found that the scope of the rally had grown too large for their club, so it was turned over to city. By the time Hoel passed in 1989, Sturgis was attracting almost 100,000 attendees. These days, the annual event sees around 500,000 rally goers, with a high of 700,000 in 2015! Bikers, enthusiasts and everyone in between travel miles and miles around the US as well as internationally to attend this fantastic event.

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