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Sturgis Archives — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Michael Lichter Heavy Mettle Show

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Motorcycles and Art with Moxie in Sturgis 2020

For the last 12 years Michael Lichter has put on a Motorcycles Art Exhibit for Sturgis Rally riders at various locations.

Industry Guests had a special showing on Sunday by invitation only. The event was also open to the public for Free from 2 P.M. to 10 P.M. Saturday August 8 through Friday August 14, 2020

This year’s show was named Heavy Mettle and like previous years included the who’s who of the motorcycle builders from around the world.

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Sturgis Hall of Fame Breakfast 2020

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Well when I found out that my sister by another mother Vicki Sanfelipo was getting inducted that changed everything
Photos and text by ROGUE, Senior Editor, Bikernet.com

Like many people, I gave some serious thought to not attending Sturgis this year. The pandemic was a serious concern, with all the noise about it being spread when large groups get together.

Well, when I found out that my sister by another mother Vicki Sanfelipo was getting inducted, that changed everything.

The 20th Annual Induction Breakfast was held on August 12, 2020 at The Lodge At Deadwood. Seating was limited to about 500 and sold out. You needed to be wearing face covering to enter and safety precautions were in place as best it could be for a function of this type.

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Freedom Rally Bikernet Weekly News for August 27th, 2020

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Freedom Works with News from all over the Industry and World

Hey,

Life is amazing. During the Sturgis Rally one, that’s 1 case of Wuhan or China Virus was discovered and only 33 surfaced in the state since the beginning or August. Now it’s the 26th and CNN is screaming outbreak from Sturgis Rally because they are claiming 70 cases showed up around the country. They admitted, 450,000 attended the rally. Hell, the folks who came down with it could have been anywhere from Texas to Oregon.

I spoke to Dr. Hamster, our expert in the field of riding, “Out of 450,000, that is statistically an insignificant number. One also has to remember that those 70 people could’ve gotten infected anywhere on the trip or if they stayed at home?”

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Ride to Sturgis 2020

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Things Do Not Always Go As Planned
by Rogue

As in past years getting ready for the ride to Sturgis included fully servicing my 2009 FLHTC motorcycle, cleaning cameras, making sure all paperwork for events was handled like insurance, bike registrations, location registrations, bills paid and just all the myriad of stuff involved with the ritual. This year was no different.

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Attendance down, but spending up at 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

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by Siandhara Bonnet from https://rapidcityjournal.com

Leading up to the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the city and attendees expected changes in cleaning, events and sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they didn’t expect to see historically high numbers in first-time attendees, vendors and spending.

City Manager Daniel Ainslie said it was also a surprise to see the number of people that came to the city a week or two before the rally began.

“Everyone kind of thought the rally was going to be incredibly small because people are coming the week and two weeks before,” he said Friday. “We heard from vendors, too. Vendors haven’t been able to work since March … and were looking for an opportunity to do something.”

According to the Department of Transportation, the seven-day total for the rally from Aug. 7 was 365,979 people, which is down just by 7.5% compared to last year at the same time.

Ainslie said based on surveys the city has done, the demographic is slightly shifting for the rally, although the data isn’t finalized and won’t be until after the rally is completely over.

He said the city is seeing a drop off in the attendance of those in the 60-70 age range, which is understandable especially during the pandemic. He said there’s been an increase in those in their late 20s to early 30s.

“They say they’re coming because they’re looking for something to do,” he said. “The rally continues to grow and attracts a wider and wider audience that over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a larger and larger international presence.”

With the exception of this year, due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ainslie said, though, that it shows the rally is becoming a “slice of Americana” that’s appealing to an international audience.

Robin Baldwin, owner of Black Hills Rally & Gold, said she’s missing some of that international presence since many, particularly from Canada, are returning customers and friends.

Baldwin said she’s seen more tourists and customers before the rally than what’s typical. She also said her kiosks are receiving more business than locations inside a building.

“I don’t know what that means, but otherwise, we’re pleased with where things are because I could’ve not been doing anything,” she said.

There has, though, been an increase in online purchases, and Friday morning was the first day they weren’t “slammed” with orders.

Baldwin said she has sold out of a few items, like glassware, hats and flags, and may have to reorder some things.

Ainslie said final revenue numbers won’t be in until September, which is the deadline for year-round businesses to file their numbers, and won’t have final spending numbers until October.

However, he said the city tracks about 10 different long-time vendors and established businesses and is confident the total spending will be higher despite fewer guests.

Ainslie said the city’s liquor store sales increased by 26.5% compared to last year, selling a total of $429,125. He said he couldn’t release the kinds of liquor, beer or spirits sold at the store.

Both Ainslie and Rally and Events Director Jerry Cole said they think the city saw more turnover downtown than previous years.

“People would come downtown, walk though, buy their shirts, go and someone would pull in right behind them,” Cole said. “I think a lot of people didn’t go to bars or do the things they would’ve before. … Most of the people that came downtown really looked at that social distancing and stayed out in the open air.”

That social distancing and open air mentality is one the city hoped people would adapt this year due to the pandemic when it canceled some of the classic events like the opening ceremony, B-1 Bomber flyover, photo towers and more.

The city also made hand sanitizer dispensers available throughout downtown, which Ainslie said were filled up every night. He said the city had more on hand than used but is glad it was available for people.

Vendors also had hand sanitizer in many of their tents or buildings.

The city also spent more time on washing sidewalks than in the past, as well as cleaning the porta-potties.

Ainslie said the city hauled off 339.25 tons of garbage from downtown as of Thursday, which is down 3.5% from last year in addition to the 124 tons of residential garbage it has collected during rally week.

“That’s almost three times as much,” he said. “We’re not done yet. We’ll still be hauling for the next seven days.”

The garbage is taken to the landfill in Belle Fourche, which is about 30 miles away.

Ainslie said the city measures the success of the rally based on the health, safety and security of the community.

This year, there have only been three fatalities during the rally compared to four last year as of Friday, according to the Department of Public Safety.

William Cooper, 22, of College Station, Texas, and Ronald Ratzel, 55, of Ceres, New York, both died in a collision on U.S. Highway 14A Monday east of Sturgis. Steven Peterson, 60, of Cuba, New York was injured.

A 55-year-old woman, whose name has not been released as of Friday afternoon, died of her injuries from a one-vehicle crash Wednesday seven miles east of Hill City.

Tony Mangan, public information officer for DPS, said the reporting period ends at 6 a.m. Sunday.

“The fewer the better,” he said. “The fewer we have, the better for everybody.”

Mangan said the state Highway Patrol’s operations have been pretty consistent with previous years, although officers were given some personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks, due to the pandemic.

According to data, DPS has seen higher misdemeanor and felony drug arrests compared to the same time last year, as of 6 a.m. Friday.

It also saw more vehicle seizures for drug possession, which is typically done for felonies, and more cash seizures, although they’re still under investigation.

Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater and Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said they’ve also seen a rise in misdemeanor and felony drug arrests.

The city police department had 90 misdemeanor arrests this year compared to 33 last year and 34 felony arrests compared to 19 last year.

“It’s becoming more prevalent of the violations,” VanDewater said. “We end up stopping people for crimes and we’re finding misdemeanor drugs as well as felony drugs. I don’t want to say it’s a common occurrence, but you’re seeing more and more violations.”

Merwin said his department stayed busy with calls from the campgrounds and many were alcohol-related.

“The campgrounds aren’t bad themselves,” he said Friday. “It’s like a city out there, too.”

Ainslie said it’s great to see so few incidents, especially when many were concerned about a number of people coming into the community.

Cole said the real success, though, will be determined in the following months as revenue numbers come in along with COVID-19 cases.

Rally Bikernet Weekly News for August 13th, 2020

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So Far, So Good and Rockin’

Hey,

What’s happening at the Rally? It’s amazing. New motorcycle markets everywhere and even two new magazines.

This rally has been amazing. I’m seeing more choppers, more performance alternatives, more baggers, more Indians, and more women riding.

From the bottom of my motorcycle heart I hope that all the rally goers ride home healthy and we show the world the benefits of freedom and motorcycles. Keep your fingers crossed and stay safe. Freedom always seems to work.

Ride Free Forever,

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Sam’s Picks for the Week, August 11, 2020

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Hot Bikes, Hot Babes and News from Sturgis

The adventure of riding and building custom bikes has never been better. That wasn’t always the case. Hell, before cars it was tough to get 30 miles at less than 4 miles an hour. Hell, if outlaws or Indians attacked, who could you call. That’s right, you couldn’t call. Then cars and motorcycles came along and they weren’t that reliable. You better know your machine or don’t leave town.

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84 arrests, 226 citations and 18 crashes reported in 24 hours at massive motorcycle rally in South Dakota

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by Caitlin O’Kane from https://www.cbsnews.com

South Dakota authorities on Sunday reported the first haul of crashes, arrests and citations from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the western part of the state. The annual rally started on Friday, drawing thousands of maskless riders to the streets and bars of Sturgis.

While organizers have said they expect fewer visitors than in other years, the Argus Leader reports the number of arrests and citations have increased from last year.

The Department of Public Safety reported that police made 84 arrests for driving under the influence or drug-related offenses during a 24-hour period spanning from Saturday into Sunday morning. That’s up from last year, when 76 people had been arrested in a similar time frame.

Police have also issued more citations, with 226 people getting tickets. The figure is 37 more than last year. But it appears police are less lenient this year and are letting fewer people off with warnings.

So far, police in the region have reported 18 crashes, which is down from last year’s mark of 20. None have been fatal.

Shrugging off the five million coronavirus cases now tallied in the U.S., thousands of motorcyclists converged this weekend in Sturgis for what is billed as the biggest cycle gathering in the world.

“I’ve been here since the beginning of July,” one person in Sturgis told CBS News. “People are tired of being at home, you know. This is what this rally started about is freedom.”

In June, city officials decided in an eight to one vote to go ahead with the rally, CBS affiliate KELO reports. In an email to CBS News, the City of Sturgis Public Information Officer Christina Steele said the “decision to hold the Rally came after hearing from thousands of attendees that they were coming to the event, even if it was canceled by the City of Sturgis.”

In past years, the 10-day rally in the town of Sturgis has drawn hundreds of thousands of bikers to socialize, drink and party together — raising fears among some locals that this year’s version could be a superspreader event.

For now, the north-central state is far from the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic — Meade County, where Sturgis is located, has registered only one virus death, according to state health officials. But in the last two weeks, South Dakota has recorded an increase in the percent of virus tests coming back positive — and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told “Face The Nation” that a second wave may be harder to control.

“This has become so pervasive across the country that it could start to infect more rural communities that have largely been untouched to date,” he said.

Some of the bikers pouring into the area are coming from distant states far more afflicted.

South Dakota, site of the famed massive sculpture of four former presidents on Mount Rushmore — where President Donald Trump held a rally last month — is one of the few to have never ordered a lockdown or insisted on mask-wearing.

Attendees in Sturgis are being encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. Few appeared to be doing so.

So far, as the town’s Main Street fills with bikes and bars fill with bikers, there is scant evidence of social distancing. Visitors to this 80th edition of the cycle rally already greatly outnumber the 6,000 residents of Sturgis, wedged into the South Dakota hills.

The rally has long been a huge economic boon to Sturgis, and vendors were taking full advantage of it on Sunday.

They peddled T-shirts marked “I survived corona” or “God, guns and Trump” or bearing a photomontage of the president wearing a leather jacket and making an obscene gesture.

While some locals worried about the two-wheeled invaders, the state’s governor warmly embraced them.

“We’re excited for visitors to see what our great state has to offer!” tweeted Kristi Noem, a Republican and strong Trump supporter.

‘I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be cooped up all my life either’: South Dakota motorcycle rally draws thousands

By | General Posts

by Stephen Groves from https://www.adn.com

STURGIS, S.D. — Thousands of bikers poured into the small South Dakota city of Sturgis on Friday as the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally rumbled to life despite fears it could lead to a massive coronavirus outbreak.

The rally could become one of the largest public gatherings since the pandemic began, with organizers expecting 250,000 people from all over the country to make their way through Sturgis during the 10-day event. That would be roughly half the number of previous years, but local residents — and a few bikers — worry that the crowds could create a “super-spreader” event.

Many who rode their bikes into Sturgis on Friday expressed defiance at the rules and restrictions that have marked life in many locales during the pandemic. People rode from across the country to a state that offered a reprieve from coronavirus restrictions, as South Dakota has no special limits on indoor crowds, no mask mandates and a governor who is eager to welcome visitors and the money they bring.

“Screw COVID,” read the design on one T-shirt being hawked. “I went to Sturgis.”

Bikers rumbled past hundreds of tents filled with motorcycle gear, T-shirts and food. Harley Davidson motorcycles were everywhere but masks were almost nowhere to be seen, with an Associated Press reporter counting fewer than 10 in a crowd of thousands over a period of several hours.

For Stephen Sample, who rode his Harley from Arizona, the event was a break from the routine of the last several months, when he’s been mostly homebound or wearing a mask when he went to work as a surveyor.

“I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be cooped up all my life either,” he said.

Still, Sample, who is 66, feared what could happen if he caught COVID-19 at the rally. He said he was trying to avoid indoor bars and venues, where he felt the risk of infection was greater. But on the opening day of the rally, he said he ate breakfast at an indoor diner.

As Sample weighed the risks of navigating the crowds, the same thrill-seeking that attracted him to riding motorcycles seemed to win out.

“I think we’re all willing to take a chance,” he said.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has taken a largely hands-off approach to the pandemic, avoiding a mask mandate and preaching personal responsibility. She supported holding the Sturgis rally, pointing out that no virus outbreak was documented from the several thousand people who turned out to see President Donald Trump and fireworks at Mount Rushmore last month.

Daily virus cases have been trending upward in South Dakota, but the seven-day average is still only around 84, with fewer than two deaths per day.

The rally attracted crowds of retirees and people in age ranges considered to be at higher risk from the coronavirus. But for many who see the rally as an annual pilgrimage, the camaraderie and atmosphere couldn’t be missed.

“I fell in love with the rally. I love the sound of the bikes,” said Bill Sudkamp, who was making his 20th consecutive rally appearance.

He and his wife, who declined to give their ages but said they were at elevated risk for COVID-19, were among the handful of people seen wearing masks in downtown Sturgis, a community of about 7,000 that’s roughly 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Rapid City. They were also planning to avoid bars. Sudkamp felt it was inevitable that infections would spread in the packed bars and concert venues.

“It looked like South Dakota was plateauing mostly,” Sudkamp said. “It will be interesting to see what it looks like in two weeks.”

Marsha Schmid, who owns the Side Hack Saloon in Sturgis, was trying to keep her bar and restaurant from becoming a virus hot spot by spacing out indoor tables and offering plenty of hand sanitizer. She also scaled back the number of bands hired for the rally, hoping the crowds would stay thin but still spend the cash that keeps her business viable for the rest of the year.

She pointed out that many of her employees depend on the rally and the tips they can make.

“You’ve got people coming from all over the world,” she said. “I just hope they are being responsible and if they don’t feel good, they stay away.”

Several locals said they would spend the rally hunkered down at home. Carol Fellner stocked up on groceries and planned to stay away from any gatherings. Her husband suffers from bouts of pneumonia and kidney problems, and COVID-19 would be a “death sentence” for him, she said.

Fellner felt that the risk of an outbreak would be felt long after the bikers leave. The city plans to mass test residents to try to detect and halt outbreaks, but the area’s largest hospital system is already burdened with the influx of tourists and bikers who inevitably need hospital care during this time.

Sample was aware his trip to the rally could end in the hospital, which seemed to weigh on him.

“This is a major experiment,” he said. “It could be a major mistake.”

No masks required as 250,000 expected at 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Here’s what to know.

By | General Posts

by Joel Shannon from https://news.yahoo.com

One of the largest events since the beginning of the pandemic has begun in South Dakota: More than 250,000 people are expected at the iconic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

That’s scaled down from previous years, where about half-a-million people have descended on the city of about 7,000 for an event that has developed a reputation as an anything-goes festival.

While the 80-year tradition isn’t as raucous as it once was, festivalgoers will be largely free of social distancing restrictions common elsewhere in the country during this year’s 10-day festival.

Bikers flocking to the small town from around the country won’t face quarantining requirements if they are from a coronavirus hot spot.

And masks? They’re encouraged – not required.

So far, few people are heeding that encouragement, according to an Associated Press reporter at the event.

Many who rode their bikes into Sturgis on Friday expressed defiance at the rules and restrictions that have marked life in much of the world during the pandemic.

“Screw COVID,” read the design on one T-shirt being hawked. “I went to Sturgis.”

Local officials have made efforts to scale down the event, but some expect restriction-weary bikers to flock to Sturgis in large numbers.

“It’s the biggest single event that’s going on in the United States that didn’t get canceled,” said Rod Woodruff, who operates the largest campground and concert venue that lies outside the bounds of the city.

“A lot of people think it’s going to be bigger than ever.”

In addition to normal concerns about crime, many locals are worried the huge crowds and lack of social distancing rules will lead to an unmanageable outbreak of COVID-19.

What is Sturgis?

The rally may be known for rowdy, drunken and naked shenanigans, but in recent years longtime attendees complain it has lost its edge.

First-time visitors might be excused for thinking the rally isn’t much more than an excuse to create one of the world’s largest open-air shopping malls. There’s usually corporate sponsorships, licensed T-shirt vendors, insurance companies and lawyers.

Most attendees in recent years are professionals with too much to lose if they get arrested. The top three professions at Sturgis are doctors, lawyers and accountants, city officials have said in previous years.

That’s translated to big money for the local economy. Last year, the rally brought in about $1.3 million in tax revenue for South Dakota, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Is the event risky during a pandemic?

While outdoor events are widely believed to be lower risk than indoor ones, the unprecedented size of the gathering is prompting serious concerns.

“You’re just adding fuel to a fire,” epidemiologist Dr. John Brownstein, told ABC News. “South Dakota is already experiencing increases in transmission. COVID is not under control in South Dakota; it’s just not.”

Among Brownstein’s worries: That attendees could become infected at the event and spread it across the nation as they return home – and that the rural health care system doesn’t have the ability to handle a possible local surge in cases.

Many locals seem to share in the concern. When asked earlier this year whether the iconic motorcycle rally should be held, their answer was an overwhelming “no.”

More than half of the community expressed their feelings in a survey. A sizable majority of 62% asked city officials to postpone the rally.

Several steps have been taken to reduce risk, local media reports: The Community Center will not be hosting vendors inside as in the past, according to NewsCenter 1. And Sturgis High School will not offer shower services nor host the annual pancake breakfast as in the past.

Mayor Mark Carstensen on Thursday told CNN the city is setting up sanitation stations and giving out masks, although they aren’t mandated.

Why are local leaders allowing the event to go on?

Businesses pressured the City Council to proceed and Sturgis officials say the rally would happen whether they wanted it or not. So they opted to try to scale it back, canceling city-hosted events and slashing advertising for the rally.

Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis’ city manager, said the city received a letter sent by attorneys for an outside business containing threats of litigation unless the rally moved forward. It suggested the city did not have the right to cancel the rally because previous court rulings found that the rally is not produced by a single organizer.

For his part, Woodruff said he felt he had little choice but to proceed with the rally. He employs hundreds of people in August and a smaller full-time staff.

“We spend money for 355 days of the year without any return on it, hoping people show up for nine days,” he said. “We’re a nine-day business.”

What are the rules in South Dakota about masks, social distancing?

Gov. Kristi Noem has taken a relaxed approach to the pandemic. Even as Republican governors in states like Texas have moved to require people to wear masks, Noem didn’t require physical distancing or masks at the July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Donald Trump attended.

She supported holding the Sturgis rally, tweeting Thursday: “I trusted my people, they trusted me, and South Dakota is in a good spot in our fight against COVID-19. The #Sturgis motorcycle rally starts this weekend, and we’re excited for visitors to see what our great state has to offer!”