Join us tonight from 5-6 p.m. at the SE corner of 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls, SD to send a message of unity and love in response to the racist homecoming incident in Sturgis, SD earlier this week. We will gather with signs showing our community’s support for Native students in South Dakota.
Materials for making signs will be provided. Please share information about this demonstration to help spread the word! [Facebook event page, 2017.10.13]
“That’s not what western South Dakota or Sturgis is about,” [Superintendent Don] Kirkegaard said. “I can’t defend those actions, but I can try my best to make sure it never happens again.”
Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen said the greater community needed to also make a statement condemning the incident and reaffirming inclusive values. He planned to meet with city council members soon to consider the options.
The imminent rally in Sioux Falls is 370 miles away from the Sturgis football field darkened by its young residents’ thoughtless (we can only hope) racism, but one racist outburst in one South Dakota town makes all of South Dakota look bad. Reconciliation is a statewide effort. Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Sturgis must consider each other neighbors as surely as we have to start thinking of Pine Ridge and Agency Village as our neighbors.
But the rest of you made up for my cheapskatery: the Department of Revenue reports that tax collections at this year’s State Fair beat last year’s by 9.4%:
Tax collections at the 2017 South Dakota State Fair exceeded $191,000 according to figures released by the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
The latest numbers from the five-day fair in Huron, S.D., showed $191,149 in total tax collections–an increase compared to last year’s total of $174,652. The 2017 fair featured 433 temporary vendors, while 2016’s count was 427.
Of the tax collected, $99,610 was state sales tax, $32,969 was state tourism tax and $58,570 was Huron’s municipal sales tax [Department of Revenue, press release, 2017.09.18].
DOR says sales taxes are still coming in and estimates the final tally will be 5% over last year’s.
The State Fair generated about $38,000 in taxes per day over its five-day run. Over a ten-day run, this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated $126,000 in taxes from vendors per day. The State Fair, obviously, draws a more fiscally conservative audience, mostly local folks who come for a day to look at pigs and tractors and think hard before spending $45 for Lynryd Skynyrd. The Rally draws thousands of multi-day vacationers who have already demonstrated their willingness to spend extravagantly by paying far more than necessary on a non-essential, seasonal mode of transportation that they haul all the way to Sturgis in a trailer. The Sturgis Rally also has a far greater market for its wares: customers nationwide brag up their Sturgis attendance with Rally t-shirts and patches, while I have yet to spot a regular Fair goer sporting a jacket (probably denim for the Fair, not leather) festooned with commemorative patches from each year she has attended…
…which, now that I think of it, actually sounds kind of cool. State Fair Commission! Think about the marketing possibilities!
To date, the South Dakota Department of Revenue has collected $1.26 million in taxes from temporary vendors at the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The state sales tax accounts for the majority of collections with $715,757. At this time last year, the Department of Revenue collected $1.19 million in taxes with $674,660 in state sales tax.
While tax revenue increased in 2017, the number of vendors in the Black Hills area decreased. The 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally featured 1,050 vendors–down from last year’s tally of 1,153 [SD Department of Revenue, press release, 2017.09.01].
Kristi Sandal, spokesperson for the state DOT, said counters at nine locations around Sturgis show that 376,033 vehicles entered Sturgis as compared with 359,814 in 2016 for the seven-day period from Aug. 4 through Aug. 11.
Sandal said that only Tuesday traffic was down slightly from the year previous, but all other days were up from 3.8 percent on Wednesday to 11.3 percent on Friday, Aug. 4, the first official day of the rally [staff, “2017 Rally Quiet, Cool, Calm,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.08.14].
Most Senators have gotten around to condemning contemporary Nazis, but hey, there’s plenty of criticism to be dished out on both sides, and by not publicizing more condemnations of Senators by Nazis, the press is treating those Nazis absolutely unfairly.
West Nile cases are down 59% so far this year. Also down are rabies, tularemia, giardiasis, and (just barely) salmonella, all of which Rally-goers could conceivably get while out camping, and pertussis, which doesn’t strike me as a camping-related affliction. Alas, syphilis is up 82%, E. coli infection by 64%, and HIV by 35%. Gonorrhea is up 17% and chlamydia by 9% from already high rates. Hepatitis C is holding steady with 320 cases so far this year.
Related: Rabid animals across South Dakota so far this year: six skunks, two bats, two cows, one goat, one cat, and one raccoon. No dogs! SD-DOH also provides the cutest map of pathology I’ve ever seen showing rabid creatures by county in 2016:
Three cats, just one dog… but all those bats! Yikes!
In a real grassroots organization, participants share their ideas, define their own agenda, and compose their own messages. AFP is coming to Aberdeen to stuff the gullible with pizza (and Pizza Ranch chicken and mashed potatoes, I hope!) and prefab, focus-grouped talking points from Koch corporate HQ that will keep them from realizing that they are advocating for billionaires instead of themselves.
Ballard told the television station that his business –– billed as the “world’s largest biker bar” – “is not a racist establishment.”
“I can’t turn around and walk away from $150,000,” Ballard said of his contract with Nugent, adding that in retrospect he wouldn’t have booked Nugent. “I mean that’s the nuts and bolts of it. Now that we’re made aware of it, we’ll listen to it next time” [Bill Morlin, “South Dakota Saloon Regrets Hosting Racist Rocker Ted Nugent,” Southern Poverty Law Center: Hatewatch, 2014.08.07].
Alas, Nugent’s incivility fits well with much of the other Rally activity. An eager reader found a Rally vendor setting up the following display of misogynist, treasonous Trumpism, all for sale at South Dakota’s biggest tourist event (I apologize for the vileness, but we have to document the white male rage that Trumpism is really about):
The Republican nominee emblazoned in front of the Confederate traitor flag, male reproductive organs used as symbols of strength, female genitalia used to deride, plus a gratuitous slap at transgender identity—that’s the kind of speech that Trumpist Ted Nugent thinks deserves the Medal of Freedom… and that’s just the kind of speech and ethos that the Full Throttle Saloon, the Sturgis Rally, and our conservative state in general embrace this time of year as the basis of their tourism business model.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation has posted its traffic counts for vehicles entering Sturgis during the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which occupied the Black Hills last week. The numbers beat last year by 30%, but they did not set a record:
At 510,749, this year’s rally traffic was the highest in ten years. However, it did not exceed the historical record of 604,441 set during the 60th Rally in 2000, nor the 528,676 vehicle entries counted in 1990 during the 50th Rally.
So how do these traffic numbers translate into headcount? One would think that the vehicle count must include a lot of multi-passenger vehicles (including all those biker couples sharing a ride), so the multiplication factor is surely much larger than 1.0. But when I look at past rally stats posted on the official Sturgis website, I find from 2000 on, headcount exceeds the SDDOT traffic count by a lowly ratio of only 1.038. If that average ratio holds for this year, a traffic count of 510,749 would translate to a headcount of 530,000, less than the headcount Sturgis.com lists for the 60th Rally.