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Sturgis Rally Traffic Down 4.4% from Last Year

The good news: the Department of Transportation counted over half a million vehicles entering Sturgis during the famed motorcycle Rally that ended last weekend.

The bad news: that’s down 4.4% from last year:

The S.D. DOT counts vehicles entering Sturgis at nine locations during the 10-day rally. The city of Sturgis uses the DOT vehicle count, tons of garbage removed from the city and analysis of photographs to estimate the attendance each year.

The city of Sturgis estimated the 2021 attendance at 555,000.

Although down from 2021, the 2022 total vehicle count is still higher than the five-year average of 492,535 [Rae Yost, “Sturgis Rally Vehicle Final Count Lower Than 2021,” KELO-TV, 2022.08.16].

Daily counts were down each day of this year’s rally from last year except for the last two down-and-out days, last Saturday and Sunday. Maybe instead of dropping in to politicize the Legends Ride and sell books in front of guns before flying off to Boston, Alabama, and Nevada, Governor Kristi Noem should consider making Sturgis “Capital for the Week” throughout the Rally. Then she could put on a show at the Chip every night to draw more bikers and boost our tourism revenue!


  1. All Mammal 2022-08-16 11:01

    Your ideas are brilliant and, at times, make me want to toss my cookies. In an endearing way. Good thing Anti-Kristi is too obtuse to use your helpful suggestions, Mr. H.

  2. bearcreekbat 2022-08-16 12:00

    I attended the Rally on the opening Saturday and I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that I didn’t see a single person open carrying pistols, AR15’s, or other guns. I checked with the Sheriff’s office and was told that open carry of guns during the Rally was considered by law enforcement to be the constitutional right of attendees (outside of bars) so the lack of visible guns on Saturday was quit a (pleasant) surprise, to me anyway.

    Maybe attendance was down simply because many rational people erroneously expected to see a large number of attendees carrying guns, given our current political leaders outward celebration of carrying weapons capable of killing anyone at the drop of a hat? I did see one gentleman with a huge Bowie knife strapped to his belt on the street, however, that didn’t seem to bother anyone.

  3. cibvet 2022-08-16 13:06

    I suppose a show by the snow queen would draw in more people, especially if Bonnie is right, it would pack in the Hot Springs locals.
    Actually I would prefer a sack race, providing the sack was pulled over her head to cover her face.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-16 14:11

    Face it….the crowd isn’t at the rally to see a fully dressed 50 year old Grandmother.

  5. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-16 18:31

    Money (or just plain stupidity) compels cities in South Dakota to encourage and embrace the annual Sturgis Rally f*ckfest. I mentioned in another thread I had to be in the
    city of Custer on 8-7-22 for an animal rescue, and my experience was grim, according to my standards. Fortunately, the dog’s rescue was AFTER I left the Bugling Bull Restaurant and Sports Bar (511 Mount Rushmore Road).
    That road is approximately 80ft. across from curb to curb (I’m an old photogrammeter) and Custer allowed double lines of motorcycles on US 385/Mt Rushmore Road to park in the middle of it.
    Hope no readers here ever break down in the middle of a highway or road.

  6. scott 2022-08-16 20:12

    Not much for concerts at the rally this year. The concert schedule filled up really late.

    The Premere center in SF and the Monument is RC have hardly any concerts scheduled. Not much for concerts at the regional fairs and state fair.

    I have to wonder if the extreme right-wing ideology of Noem in South Dakota is keeping away concert bands?

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-16 21:37

    I purposely did NOT mention the sex trafficking aspects of Rally, because I did not observe any of it and know nothing first hand about it. However, if the sanctimonious State of South Dakota (no bodily autonomy for YOU, b*tches) continues the way it is, one can only assume the trafficking will continue to get worse.
    Any thoughts, Cory?

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-16 21:55

    Scott..have to agree there were no top of the bill “must see’ bands on the list this year…no Little Feat or Doobie Brothers ..the metal bands were very ho hum. I share your concern that just the vibe of South Dakota has taken such a right turn that even competitive money won’t bring in top flight bands.Sturgis is not exactly “on the way” anywhere. Bands could pick up a lucrative week night gig on tour but won’t go out of their way for a weird venue. Thought the rally probably had a good reputation with bands…but..maybe not.

  9. ArielMN 2022-08-17 08:44

    Maybe they didn’t get vaccinated and boosted and died.

  10. leslie 2022-08-20 03:14

    spoke to a woman out-of-state, she arrived early, stayed late: TWO WEEKS at the Buff Chip camping, raving about her tan, sleeps like a baby through 3 a.m. burn outs, rock music, the heat; she absolutely loved it, is now back to waiting tables near a truck stop.

    Locals were rolling eyes: long, hot, loud.

    She didn’t appear to have jetted in/out, shipped her bike, to promote a book, or to buy expensive, tacky leather!

  11. grudznick 2022-08-20 08:59

    It is good the bands are being driven away. It is just loud noise and traffic and it brings a lot of trouble-making youths, no doubt many of them high on the demon weed, to the area. Crime goes up.

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