Heat impacts the 82nd rally, its businesses and length of guests’ visits

City Manager Daniel Ainslie says this year went smoothly and people were still happy to be in Sturgis

STURGIS, S.D. – Despite many vendor tents being put away and roads opening back up, some pieces of the 82nd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally still remain, allowing people to buy some souvenirs before hitting the road.

ShirtsMany businesses say that they struggled with sales throughout the week as many people decided to leave early.

“This first weekend it was pretty good. We said, ‘we have a good start.’ It was awesome,” Rita Farhat, owner of Biker’s Den, said. “Monday was slow which is normal. But the second week, we’re supposed to be busier than the first weekend. It died really fast which is weird. That was the first bike rally in Sturgis ever to have happened before.”

Biker’s Den usually stuck around until September, but they decided to close up shop early. They decided this because of the number of stores on Main Street that were selling the same items and it gives them time to get back to Daytona, Florida, to prepare for their own rally.

Other businesses saw better sales from their shops at other Black Hills towns like Deadwood.

Vendors were also affected by the constant heat, selling few jackets and sweatshirts and the heat even being one of the reasons for people leaving Sturgis early.

“The heat was definitely a challenge this year. After 11 rallies, this is by far the warmest rally we have ever had,” Daniel Ainslie, City Manager of the City of Sturgis. “By far the hottest. It was day after day so that really did cause a lot of people — especially those that were tent camping to have a lot of discomfort after days and days of sleeping in tents when the evening temperatures never really fell very much.”

Ainslie says there was also an increased number of heat-related issues for ambulance services and other emergency services, but they “handled it fantastically.” And despite the heat and what came with it, this year went smoothly.

More visitors came a week early and there was a large number of international rally goers. Couple Shop

“There’s kind of been a backlog because for two years there’s been travel restrictions,” Ainslie said. “So this year, it was wonderful to greet people from Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Brazil and everywhere in Western Europe and Australia. It was fantastic to see everyone’s smiling faces, so happy to have a bucket list item to be able to come to Sturgis.”

With the second year of the open container policy, people spent more time downtown. They enjoyed their drinks outside, walked around to different booths and didn’t feel rushed.

There were more events, contests and activities to enjoy which will likely stay on the schedule for next year like the South Dakota Beef’s Burger Battle, tattoo and mustache competitions, and a 5k.

“It was just great to see everything that was done and see the people that were just so happy to be able to spend some of their summer here in Sturgis. Everything turned out fantastically,” Ainslie said.

The City of Sturgis will begin brainstorming ideas next week. Their focus will be on the last half of the rally to keep people the entire time or even bring people in for it.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Business, Local News, South Dakota News, Sturgis Rally