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Use the official Sturgis rally page for a current guide to events like the Mayor’s Ride and the Beard and Mustache Contest. These are some tips culled from various sources on the Internet to help you get there safely and enjoy Sturgis to the fullest. There are more pre-party events the weekend before the Rally officially begins than there are the weekend after, but both extend the fun.
The weather this time of year will be hot and often stormy—thunderstorms with wind and pelting rain—so prepare for that. Bring raingear. If you’re tent camping, be sure the tent is pegged down securely and have a safe haven for yourself if lightning begins.
Be sure to bring your registration and insurance cards, copies of the prescriptions for any meds, and your contact information.
You may have a lot of gear—rain gear, hot weather protective gear, stylin’ on Main Street gear, party clothes. Rather than leave something home, pack a box and ship it ahead to your hotel or to the Sturgis Post Office. The Post Office will hold packages up to 70 pounds—great if you plan to camp, too. You can ship home your souvenirs and dirty clothes and stuff, as well. Use the Post Office or the UPS Store booth at Black Hills Harley-Davidson.
Pack some rolls of quarters and save them when you get change. You’ll need them for laundry (bring some laundry soap pods) and purchases from vending machines. Not for parking, though, not at Sturgis.
Pack stuff that rain will destroy in gallon zip-close bags because a pelting rain will defeat most luggage. Also keep a bag in a pocket to wateproof your camera and phone if it starts to rain.
You’ll want a first aid kit, but don’t forget a first aid kit for clothes. You can buy one, or put one together with needles, threads, buttons, safety pins.
Remember that the laws regarding helmets and insurance may be different in your state than they are in South Dakota and the states you ride through to get there. You’ll need to comply with all of them.
Once you get there, you might consider overnights in a nearby town where rates will be much, much lower than at Sturgis itself. But don’t over-drink and then drive. The lawmen are on the lookout for that.
Don’t overlook downtown Sturgis. That’s where most vendors set up; there are special activities most every day as well as bars and restaurants and marvelous people-watching. You’ll probably enter town on Lavelle Street. It runs parallel to Main Street, which is closed for the Rally.
The most hearty partying probably is at the various campgrounds—where people can easily walk to their cabin or tent. Many people stay at one venue—it will have bands and events all week long.