Concerns persist over late start date of 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

STURGIS, S.D. — Concerns are arising over the start of the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Three years ago the City decided the rally should extend from the usual seven days to ten days, and decreed it would start on the first Friday of each August, rather than the traditional Monday.  In 2020, that date falls on Aug. 7 and extends until Aug. 16.

Some are worried that it could impact revenue for the City and local businesses because of public confusion and the fact that it overlaps with summer vacation winding down.

Unofficial websites say the start date would be Friday, July 31. The 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally website has the official dates listed as Aug. 7-16.

According to a letter sent on June 6 to Jerry Cole, the rally director for the City of Sturgis, from Rod Woodruff, president and CEO of the Buffalo Chip Campground, local campgrounds and businesses have been selling reservations starting on July 31 based on information posted on these sites.

“That includes Sturgis.com, RallySturgis.com, TravelSouthDakota.com,” said Woodruff in the letter. “Three major Rally businesses with campgrounds (Glencoe, Pappy Hoel and the Buffalo Chip) have been selling reservations based upon a July 31 start date. There are at least some contractual commitments made based upon a July 31 start date, and those would not necessarily be limited to campgrounds or entertainment.”

Wednesday, the City of Sturgis released comment regarding the dates.

“According to City Manager Daniel Ainslie, in the years leading up to the 2016 change, the City received many requests from area tourists destinations asking the City to avoid having the Rally begin in July, during the prime family tourist season throughout the state,” said in a press release. “Various cities and government agencies also expressed a preference to having the event begin in August to allow for a longer construction season.”

“I believe the concerns are well-founded,” said Woodruff in the letter. “There was one year where, for whatever reason, the rally dates were changed. Rally attendance was perceived to have been considerably lower that year, which was partly based upon motorcycle tourists that showed up at the expected time and were disappointed to learn the Rally wasn’t until the following week.”

The City says all official information regarding the rally will come directly from the City itself through their web and social media platforms.

This is a developing story and NewsCenter1 will bring you details as we learn more.

This year’s rally, which begins on Aug. 2, 2019, is not impacted.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

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