Despite concerns, 250,000 expected to attend Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

There has been local opposition to holding the event in the time of COVID-19.

The city of Sturgis, South Dakota, is preparing to welcome 250,000 bikers for its annual motorcycle rally this week, a figure that has sparked concern in the time of COVID-19.

While the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which is marking its 80th year, is expected to only attract half the numbers it usually gets because of the virus, it will still be one of the biggest gatherings of people in the country since the pandemic arrived and will attract bikers from across the country.

The event starts Friday and runs till Sunday, Aug. 16, and will see the town host a series of motorcycle rides, drag races and live concerts.

While many of these events will take place outside, the sheer number of people passing through the town of 7,000 poses concerns about social distancing, with the risk even greater at the city's bars, with COVID-19 having been shown to spread more successfully in tightly-packed indoor spaces.

The Rapid City Journal reported there are concerns among residents in the city, with 63% responding to a residents' survey saying they want the rally to be postponed.

Nonetheless, the City Council approved holding the event in June by a vote of 8-1, with The Associated Press reporting it came following pressure from local businesses.

There are efforts being made to limit the spread of COVID-19, with the Journal noting that these measures include the cancelation of the B-1 flyover, opening ceremonies, photo towers, and the use of the fairgrounds.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The Buffalo Chip Campground, which hosts events and concerts during the rally,  says it has taken precaution including installing sneeze guards to protect employees, placing sanitizing stations across the site, and making face masks available to purchase.

South Dakota is one of the few states that has not imposed lockdown restrictions or stay-at-home orders since COVID-19 arrived. though some businesses have chosen to shut down temporarily or impose restrictions of their own.

Though it benefits from being one of the more sparsely-populated states in the U.S., its current rate of 1,005 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people since the pandemic began is higher than Minnesota (997), Wisconsin (999), and North Dakota (876), though its death rate is lower than Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Cases have been rising over the past week, too.

Next Up

Kaprizov, Wild

Wild to face Vegas in playoffs; Game 1 Sunday

Game 1 is Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Eric Kendricks

Coller: Do the Vikings have a tough schedule?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 7.54.07 AM

Grand jury indicts 2 with aiding and abetting murder of Minneapolis Realtor

Four people have now been indicted by a grand jury in connection to the 2019 killing of Monique Baugh.

Nelson Cruz

White Sox sweep Twins for first time since 2016

The Twins' offense disappeared in a 4-2 loss on Thursday.

Mike Hughes

Report: Vikings trade Mike Hughes to Kansas City

The Vikings received a 2022 sixth-rounder in exchange for the former first-round pick.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Backup from fatal crash in Stearns County leads to another bad crash

The crash backed up traffic, which led to another crash in which two people were injured.

Gluten free pizza

For The Week: Monster cookies, and a search for the best gluten-free pizza in MN

BMTN food writer Lindsay Guentzel's weekly column aims to make life in the kitchen easier.

Flickr - SIMULIIDAE black fly gnat - D. Sikes

South Twin Cities metro besieged by aggressive gnats

Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has received more than 100 calls in recent days.



15 cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Health officials had advised Minnesotans not to attend.

sturgis motorcycle rally

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will go on as scheduled this August

The annual event attracts hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists every year.


Health commissioner: 'Seriously consider wisdom of attending' Sturgis

The annual motorcycle rally begins Friday and lasts through August 16.


WaPo: Known COVID cases from Sturgis rally may be 'tip of the iceberg'

The rally may be to blame for the outbreak raging in the Upper Midwest.