Sturgis food vendors hoping rally will help them break even
STURGIS, S.D. — While there was opposition to holding the Sturgis Rally, the thought was people were still going to show, and with major events cancelled around the country, the rally is a much-needed source of income for food vendors.
In the Midwest, not only have carnivals and fairs been cancelled, but also many of the largest rodeos. This has created long lapses in business, but food vendors are hoping the Sturgis Rally will allow them to break even this year.
Among vendors are of course the fixtures, like Porky’s, with a 30 year history of serving rally-goers.
Porky’s manager Jeff Mcleod said a typical year consists of several months in Florida, and Indiana before traveling to South Dakota, but this year, only two fairs took place in Indiana.
“So that’s keeping us busy right now, it’s making ends meet, it’s not making a lot of money, but at least it’s some money coming in,” said Mcleod.
There are also newcomers this year, looking to make up for lost profits, but even with the rally, it has not been an easy year.
“We’re usually booked up all season in Colorado, and our whole season was booked up and then this COVID-19 thing shut us all down, so we don’t have any fairs or festivals,” said On the Fry owner Baruch Bachofver. “And what happened was I said, I hear Sturgis is still going on, so I made a few phone calls, and next thing you know here we are. I’m glad I came up here, I‘m gonna at least break even.
While business owners are glad for the boost, it seems breaking even is the most they can hope for this year, as even the rally is not expecting the record numbers it’s experienced in the past.
“So, who knows, this might be our last thing that we do all year,” said Mcleod.
Fortunately, there are plenty of visitors hoping to get their hands on great homemade food in the Black Hills.
One rally attendee, Rogan Morris, says he has tried to attend every year, and says vendor food is something visitors can look forward to, and is a delicious way to support local businesses.
“Got a lot of street vendor food around here, a lot of good homemade stuff,” said Morris. “Kinda that carnival vibe when it comes to a lot of the stuff. The food is kind of the same way, but at least they spend a little bit more time working on it, where as a carnival is all about speed.”