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Sturgis Rally Needs to Market Diversity to Survive

Governor Kristi Noem will have to withdraw her support from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, as Bart Pfankuch reports Sturgis organizers are promoting the divisive concepts of diversity and inclusion:

In addition to cultivating future bikers by targeting youth and young adults, rally planners have made concerted efforts to attract people who are outside the stereotype of the middle-aged white men and their wives (and their dogs who sometimes ride with them in leather vests and goggles.)

…“We have started to look at encouraging and inviting more women to be part of the rally,” said Zerbst, the town council president. “The city has recognized the importance that women play in the industry and the growing demographic of women in the motorcycle world.”

…The rally has also become a more welcoming place for Native Americans, according to some Natives, who make up about 10% of the population of South Dakota.

On Sunday, Aug. 6, the fourth annual Medicine Wheel Ride was held to develop fellowship among Native bikers and draw attention and funding to the long-standing problem of missing and murdered indigenous women [Bart Pfankuch, “As Sturgis Rally Attendance Slows, Planners Try to Build for the Future,” South Dakota News Watch, 2023.08.09].

Governor Noem’s Tennessee marketers think South Dakota can bank its future on Freedom™, but even the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally planners recognize that for their event to generate sustainable revenue, the freedom the Governor peddles has to include people outside the traditional representatives of the white patriarchy.


  1. John 2023-08-14 08:06

    Welcoming Indians?! After generations of spitting in the sacred view and sound sheds of Bear Butte?!

  2. e platypus onion 2023-08-14 08:32

    If I am not mistaken, weren’t all arrested for emticing kids Indians with Indian sounding names? Sounds more like racial profiling than welcoming.

  3. jerry 2023-08-14 09:19

    When Budweiser stops running away from the bigots who have targeted them for taking a picture with a trans person, I will believe in what they say about diversity. Until then, old white guys with beer guts playing dominos will rule the roost.

  4. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-08-14 10:46

    I’ve never attended Rally and I probably never will because I hate noise and crowds. I have lived and travelled around the southern Black Hills for twenty-two years and paid attention to the participants, mostly because I’m curious about helmet wearing.

    I’m sure there must be some Black or Brown or non-White Rally attendees, but I’ve never seen one. I had a motorcycle cop neighbor in Denver whom bluntly stated none of his fellow Black officers went to Sturgis because it was a “Sundown town.” Sure, this was twenty-five years ago, but I haven’t noticed South Dakota becoming more tolerant.

  5. P. Aitch 2023-08-14 12:08

    Speaking of Budweiser. The embracing of the trans community was one of the biggest marketing tricks ever played on MAGA’s. lol #squirrel
    InBev aka Anheuser Busch knew their light beer market was now fully tilted toward their Michelob Ultra, both for better flavor and for fewer carbohydrates, than their stalwart product, Bud Light. Two attractive features to the millions of light beer drinkers.
    By overtly emphasizing their inclusion paradigm they attracted about ten percent of new buyers to Michelob Ultra and wrung the most benefit out of Bud Light, a dying product that was sent out after decades of dominance with a sterling badge of courage.
    MAGA’s think they won a battle, but they were the real joke. “It Is the Way …”

  6. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-14 13:24

    The Budweiser brand is global in reach and the InBev Corporation has a dominant grasp on industrial brewing. They want to sell beer to EVERYONE and won’t be satisfied until they do. I never liked Bud Light though I think regular Budweiser is a pleasant Pilsner and drank it religiously until local brewing caught my attention. It is an outrage to drink Budweiser in Wisconsin….you drink it and you’ll be shunned by friends, neighbors, and total strangers. Even with that tribal support for Wisconsin beer, Budweiser still competes well in the market.

  7. P. Aitch 2023-08-14 13:39

    Budweiser is shunned less in Colorado than other craft brewing states because of their brewery in Fort Collins. Even though there are two new craft breweries building new buildings in the historic downtown area I reside, (Denver Brewing & Littleton Brewery) and CO’s largest craft brewery, Breckenridge Brewery is less than a mile away, I believe the trend toward craft ales and lagers is waning. Even the largest beer festival in USA, The Great American Beer Fest at the Colorado Convention Center is for the first-time having trouble selling tickets. For decades tickets sold out in minutes and they’re still available a month after release.

  8. grudznick 2023-08-14 13:42

    New Glarus is tolerable.

  9. jerry 2023-08-14 13:52

    If you like Budweiser, you are drinking it brewed at Fort Collins. If you have a Bud in Floridumb, you likely will not finish it. Water is life and water is the life of beer as well.

  10. jerry 2023-08-14 14:03

    Market diversity would and should mean the history of slavery and the biggest outrage of all, the wholesale slaughter of Native peoples from the very start of this country. Maybe Sturgis could put up a display to explain all of that with a well thought out history of this state as well as the entire country. Yeah, that would be one helluva marketing coup, NOem could cut the ribbon on it’s openning, swooping down from her widdle pony to do just that. Until then, just a bunch of old chubby rascist white guys swilling warm beer, pittying their plight of priviledge.

  11. e platypus onion 2023-08-14 14:28

    Famous Clydesdale hitch paraded around Sturgis. Rumour has it Noem was turned down as Dalmation because she was the wrong sex. She made her appearance driving race car a short distance and dismounting on left side like a good cowboygirl.

  12. Ben Cerwinske 2023-08-14 14:49

    That’s a bold strategy Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.

  13. Anthony Renli 2023-08-14 15:16

    I lived for a number of years in the hills and for a while had to commute on a weekly basis from Rapid City to Lead for work. (Working in a lab in the Homestake mine)
    I learned to LOATHE Rally week…so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
    If the Rally is going to continue they need push diversity, but there’s more than just that. It’s very very white, but it is also old. Average age is right around 51, and while that IS younger than a few years ago, a lot of that is because a number of Baby Boomers have “aged out” of attending.
    Harley’s are too expensive for younger people and the rally itself is just too expensive for the younger generation of people to attend. They have set prices such that it’s just not something a lot of people can afford to do. Kelo has a link that points out that on AVERAGE people are spending just under $2700/person to go to the Rally. So if you are a couple you’re spending $5000+ for a trip. Plus the cost of a bike, etc. this just isn’t feasible for younger people.

  14. P. Aitch 2023-08-14 15:18

    Brilliant idea, Jerry
    Dedicate Sturgis year-round to educating America about the atrocities and injustices perpetrated upon the Indigenous ancestors of today’s tribes.
    Include a pledge, signed by tourists and locals, to dedicate their mission to sanctifying the sacred mountain with the honor and dignity it deserves.
    *Such a mission has been going on in Lower Downtown Denver to apologize and make up for the killing and persecution of Chinese workers in the 1800’s. **see link below

  15. bearcreekbat 2023-08-14 15:30

    In my experience I have noticed significantly more diversity in Sturgis during the Sturgis Rally than at the stockshow, the state fair, high school and amatuer sports events, and in the general population of Rapid City and the surrounding towns.

    I also note that Rapid City held a an American Legion baseball tournament in June of 2023, and that six players from Mitchell were indicted for rape. I haven’t seen any stories of indictments for rape recently at the Rally.

    Bottom line is that in virtually every setting there can be bad people that commit crimes, are racists, are Trumpies, or whatever. It seems a mistake to stereotype people simply because they attend the Sturgis rally.

  16. O 2023-08-14 16:13

    I’m not sure everyone is using the word “diversity” in the same way.

  17. P. Aitch 2023-08-14 16:19

    My AI likes, understands, and explains our costar grudznick, in the style of the actor Jimmy Stewart.
    This also helps explain why SD locals are negative about rally attendees.
    ~ Well now, you see, folks, it’s like this. Out in them rural parts, away from all them fancy city lights and bustling streets, there’s a different kind of life. A simpler life, if you will. And with that simplicity, comes a certain way of thinking that’s mighty hard to understand unless you’ve lived it yourself.

    You see, in them places where there ain’t much in terms of community embellishments, people tend to stick to what they know. They rely on each other, look out for one another, ’cause they’ve been through thick and thin together. It’s a close-knit bunch, you see, where everyone knows everyone and everything.

    Now, that don’t mean they’re closed off, no siree. They’re a friendly bunch for sure, but they got their reservations. You see, when a newcomer or a visitor comes into their world, it disrupts that delicate balance they’ve worked so hard to maintain. It’s like throwing a pebble into a calm pond, it ripples, disturbs the water.

    They’ve seen it before, you know. Newcomers comin’ in, changin’ up the place. Maybe it’s the town gettin’ bigger, more folks movin’ in, or maybe it’s just the way the world is changin’ in general. Whatever the reason, they start feelin’ uncomfortable, unsettled even.

    And you know, fear often comes from the unknown. When you’re used to a certain way of life, and suddenly, everything starts shiftin’ on ya, it can be mighty scary. It’s like losin’ your compass, tryin’ to find your way in a world that’s gone topsy-turvy.

    So, while it might seem like they’re distrustin’, dislikin’, and fearin’ newcomers and visitors, it’s really just the unknown they’re grappling with. They ain’t used to this newfangled way of life, with its fast-paced changes and different ideas. They long for the simplicity they once had, the peace and quiet that made their little corner of the world special.

    But if you give ’em time, if you show ’em that you respect their ways and you ain’t tryin’ to change ’em, you might just find that they warm up to ya. They might see the value in havin’ some fresh blood, some new ideas. Change can be scary, but it can also be excitin’. It’s all about findin’ that delicate balance, understandin’ where folks are comin’ from and meetin’ ’em halfway.

    So, next time you find yourself out in them rural parts, remember that the folks there, with their lack of fancy community embellishments, might seem wary of newcomers and visitors, but it’s all part of their way of life. And if you take the time to give ’em a good ol’ genuine smile and a genuine heart, well, you might just find yourself welcomed into their world with open arms.

  18. bearcreekbat 2023-08-14 16:42

    O, I’m using the term diversity to describe people of a variety of different physical features, skin tones, countries of origin, including African American, Native, Hispanic, Asian, et al. And at the Rally the groups I have observed on the streets, on bikes, in the stores, and in the bars and entertainment venues, typically include meaningful numbers of all of the above, much more so than what I regularly see in good old South Dakota at fairs, carnivals, baseball and soccer games, basketball tourneys, and orther local events. Nevertheless, fortunately I have seen more diversity in South Dakota than in the distant past. Still, anecdotally I personally have regularly seen much more diversity at the Rally than anywhere else in South Dakota.

  19. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-14 16:57

    Jerry, P. Aitch, Anthony and others expressing concern about diversity at the Bike Rally….Just a head’s up, as to where our State Leadership might be on practicing ” diversity and inclusion” At the recent groundbreaking for the new addition to the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center, the ceremonial group turning the first shovels of ground were: 4 representatives of firms awarded contracts for work on the project, (three males, one female); and these white males: the South Dakota Historical Society’s Ben Jones, dressed as Joe Foss, Rep. Will Mortonson, dressed as Scotty Philip, Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, dressed as a cowboy, Department Secretary Joseph Graves, Commissioner Scott Bollinger, Foundation President Pat Miller, and Rep. Tony Venhuizen. Front and Center, dressed as a Laura Ingalls Wilder “Prairie Girl”, was, of course, Governor Kristi Noem. To the untrained eye, it appears there is not a representative of a Native American tribe, or any minority, represented at the groundbreaking for the Cultural Heritage Center addition. ” Nuf said. Picture in “History Notes”, a publication of the South Dakota Historical Society.

  20. larry kurtz 2023-08-14 17:37

    As long as there’s money in meth, fentanyl and human trafficking the Sturgis Motorcycle Classic will continue.

  21. D. Wade Barnes 2023-08-14 18:43

    Sturgis Rally will survive as long as men crave beer, fun & freedom. As our (men’s) freedoms diminish, all resulting confusion can be qualified as a necessary metamorphosis; however, men will again regardless of hair, hand or heart, be trotted out for ww3. God save the ‘queen”!

  22. P. Aitch 2023-08-14 20:47

    @Arlo – It’s a fact that Governor Noem hates Indians and doesn’t have an appointee that hasn’t been directed to think the same way, either directly or with ulterior motives.

  23. PWK 2023-08-14 22:18

    Sturgis is stuck looking back to the times when people could get drunk as hell and and ride with few consequences. Aside from the hype, the massive crowds, the money and the blessings of state politicians it could still be 1976 – which compared to today’s pandemonium was actually a lot more fun.

  24. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-14 23:03

    Only time I was in Sturgus to spend time at the rally was 1973…In those days I think the crowd was about 150,000…and we thought it was huge. People were either blind drunk or giggling in the corner. Mood was light hearted but lots of Angels and Banditos so there was always a potential for violence. Being slightly dangerous made it all the more exciting. Once was enough.

  25. P. Aitch 2023-08-14 23:18

    That’s right. Sturgis was second class next to “The Days of 76”, before gambling in Deadwood. We could drink beer in the streets. The Angels and Bandidos would drain their crankcases right on the streets in from of the Old Number 07, the cat houses were shut down for the week to give the girls a vacation, and the police were gone. Live music day and night for five days. Met some really good friends.

  26. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-15 00:06

    Have fond memories of the Days of 76…college kids at the beach..

  27. bearcreekbat 2023-08-15 10:38

    Speaking of diversity at the Rally, there is an interesting news story in today’s RC Journal describing Redrum, an indigenous motorcycle club (gang?) and its involvement on a ride honoring veterans.

    And with all the comments about “sex trafficking” at the Rally, I cannot recall, nor find an on line (Google search) reference, to a single news story, about a Rally arrest or prosecution with actual victim of sex trafficking. There are numerous stories about arrests and prosecutions for “attempted” crimes relating to sex trafficking, and all seem to involve fake victims, i.e., law enforcement officers posing as underage children looking for sexual encounters with adults for money. While getting these predators off the street is certainly important, it would seem that many, if not most, of these predators are often local Black Hills residents, not necessarily Rally attendees at all. And maybe they start looking for victims during the Rally because they too believe the common assertion that there is actually a sex trafficking opportunity increase during the Rally, yet public reports of arrests don’t seem consistent with this assertion.

    Finally, I would assume anyone with actual knowledge about (rather than a belief formed from stereotypes and supposition) a substantial increase in the distribution of drugs like meth and fentanyl at the Rally would share this information with law enforcement, and that we would see news stories about arrests of folks attempting to peddle large quanties of such drugs. Using that old Google search technique, however, I found no significant arrests during Rally weeks involving fentanyl. The biggest meth busts I saw reported in my Google search for arrests during the Rally involved 48 grams of meth, a little over an ounce and one half.

    It would seem that much of the drug and sex trafficking folk lore about the Rally is really unsupported by real factual evidence. Perhaps P.Aitch’s AI friend can find information and reports that I have been unable to find. All the stories with hand wringing and suppositions about the evils of the Rally may be true, but if so one wonders how those that tell such stories have obtained their information. As for me, I cannot verify that information by either actual experience (maybe I just haven’t hung out with the right bikers?), Google research regarding Rally arrests, nor professional involvement in the defense or prosecution of people arrested during the Rally. I would welcome evidence to support the claims, but haven’t seen much so far.

  28. Native Texan 2023-08-15 11:54

    ROFL! DEI is never a solution and is laughable. I’m not white and even I know that traditions are traditions and the term “inclusion” is just thrown about, with intentional ambiguity. Sturgis will survive (and thrive) just fine the way it is and rightfully so!

  29. Joe 2023-08-15 12:12

    Gay folks have attended the Rally for decades but it’s mostly the white, male, older cohort so not that much different from the straight attendees.

  30. e platypus onion 2023-08-15 13:21

    Human trafficking exists and magat guvs DeSatanist, of what used to be Floriduh, and A-Butt of Texass are the main traffickers.

  31. P. Aitch 2023-08-15 14:18

    @BCB – I tasked my AI Assistant, thus. “Please, compile information and reports about drug and sex trafficking arrests at The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally”.
    The AI response was, “I’m really sorry, but I can’t help with that request.”

  32. bearcreekbat 2023-08-15 14:25

    P., Wow! That is a surprising response.

  33. e platypus onion 2023-08-15 15:08

    On Monday we received an email telling us that the data provided speaks for itself.

    The data does show that there’s been an increase in arrests, but does not give any context regarding why there are more arrests, what drugs have been found, the quantities of the drugs or the circumstances in which they were found.

    Keloland news

  34. John dox 2023-08-16 08:56

    The least you can do as a news outlet is proof read your damned title…” needs to market diversity” I mean come on

  35. ILoveEveryone 2023-08-16 10:46

    This comment section is a really great display of the seething hate from the left of anything different from themselves. They put people into categories and then label them according to what they look like, often demonizing the entire group. It’s the exact same thing as being a racist. You are a bunch of hateful, hypocrites, who are so busy pointing out everyone else’s ” faults” you never look at yourselves and wonder am I the bigot? Hint.. you are.

  36. Anthony Renli 2023-08-16 14:06
  37. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-08-16 18:31

    Um, I see no grammatical error in the title. Please elaborate.

  38. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-08-16 18:34

    I checked, ILE: I’m definitely not the bigot.

    I like lots of things and people that are different from myself and welcome those different people into my community. Kristi Noem has demanded uniformity from people who come join her community, telling them they can come to South Dakota but they can’t change it.

    Kristi Noem appears to fit ILE’s vague accusation of seething hatred of anything different from oneself than I and my friends on the left do.

    Evidence indicates

  39. bearcreekbat 2023-08-17 00:30

    Anthony, thanks for the links. As best I can tell all of these arrests and stories involved men “attempting” to commit a sex trafficking crime, and the attempts were in response to law enforcement agents posinga s underage children. Those men certainly deserved to be charged. Did you find any evidence of cases with actual vicitims?

  40. bearcreekbat 2023-08-17 10:11

    Anthony, I would think that if the amount of sex trafficking that people, including law enforcement, tell us is happening is a reality at the Sturgis Rally, then there would be some evidence and news stories about law enforcement busting sellers of children and sex during the Rally.

    Law enforcement could just as easily pose as buyers of sex and catch some actual traffickers selling sex rather than posing as only children or sellers. If sex trafficking is as pervasive as we are led to believe I would think there would be evidence of numerous such seller arrests. But as I indicated earlier it seems that only Rally sex trafficking busts I read amount, or know about from personal experience, are of sickos wanting to buy sex with underage kids and in an effort to find a victim take the bait of a law enforcement officer posing on the internet as a child under 16 or seller of a young child. These sickos are then busted when they go to the meet up location given by law enforcement expecting to find illicit sex, but only find the police waiting for them. Can you (or anyone else) identify any reported evidence or news stories online or elsewhere of arrests of actual sex traffickers, i.e. sellers, rather than only attempted sex buyers, i.e. attempted customers?

  41. bearcreekbat 2023-08-17 17:19

    P., that arrest and rescue in Colorado is the type of story I am looking for at the Rally – a story where law enforcement apprehends actual traffickers and rescues actual victims of that trafficking. If this sort of conduct was actually happening at the Rally to the extent people claim, then it would seem that law enforcement would be making similar busts of the sellers and rescues of the exploited children during the Sturgis rally. That simply doesn’t seem to be the case. The Rally may be many things, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the venue for actual sex trafficking, as opposed to a venue for police to pose as children selling sex to bust Black Hills locals and others looking for that type of sick activity.

  42. P. Aitch 2023-08-17 17:57

    I believe what BCB is describing is labeled “entrapment” by law enforcement and often is thrown out of court. Could the annual announcement of “sexual trafficking offenses stopped” at the rally be actually just a political embellishment under a Governor’s instructions?

  43. e platypus onion 2023-08-17 18:54

    Here is something I was not aware of amd maybe it is time to investigate the pheasant murderer in chief.

    Heth says educating people about sex trafficking is key to stopping it, and Jackley agrees.

    “We want everyone to have a safe rally, but again we’ve experienced some challenges in the past, some concerns. We want to do everything we can in South Dakota to protect children,” said Jackley.

    Heth says besides the Sturgis Rally, South Dakota’s pheasant hunting season also causes a spike in sex trafficking in South Dakota.

    Mayhaps those in charge should offer more juvenile hen pheasants to satisfy the lusty hunters, what?

  44. All Mammal 2023-08-17 19:28

    Since we are dealing with KN and counselors who defend pedophiles, wouldn’t it be easy to rationalize that they’re all in on it? Cmon. KN’s own daughter was forced to take classes on how not to steal from her own charity after being busted for using the slave labor of the women her charity rescued from being trafficked. And Denny T. Sanford has to procure his kids from someplace available. Gee, his lawyer so happens to be at the Sturgis rally himself.

    I know it sounds like I could be off the deep end… but this is South Dakota. A place where counterfeit cristians run for office and still get votes after evidence shows they are raping their adopted daughter. And attorney generals run unopposed after defending accused pedophiles and being accused of harassment towards women… it’s so normalized we don’t even see the sickness we’re mired in.

    KN’s daughter’s human trafficking charity had actual victims. Those victims came from somewhere in SD… plus, we usually have around 70 missing kids at any given time… I wonder where these kids could be because they aren’t on Facebook, which says a lot. Not good.

    The handful of Native men they charge every year at the rally for solicitation is just to placate the people who wonder why there are so many drug trafficking busts, but not even a single prostitution arrest recorded.

    You can call me crazy. Have at it. But why aren’t you questioning why the state republican party invited a known rapist to a speaking even this September. If they aren’t ok with sexual predators, why are they so proud and excited Trump accepted their invite? They’re all in on it is the easiest answer to your question.

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