Countdown to Sturgis
Making the Most of a Biker's Big Week
For serious motorcycle enthusiasts and bikers all over the world, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, is the most highly anticipated event of the summer. Since this year is the very special 75th anniversary of Sturgis, the small town of 7,000 people will be inundated with hordes of motorcyclists and partygoers coming out to ride and celebrate, with some sources predicting a crowd of up to one million people. Although Sturgis is about all things bike related and features any spectacular scenic rides, bike shows, burnouts, and competitions, there is really something for everyone, including incredible live music performances, a roller derby, a zip line, and more.
Now that I am running two Eagle leather stores and a young family, I am just too busy to take a week or longer to go to Sturgis. However, I did take my family to Daytona Bike week and Disney World when my son was two, and we had a lot of fun. People around the store have been encouraging me to go to Sturgis, and I’ve been thinking about making the trip soon. I’ve been considering going this year, but I am not sure yet.
The first time I attended Sturgis was in 1998, the same year I opened my first Eagle Leather store on South Tacoma Way. I had just returned home from Daytona Beach and then a swap in Portland when I left for Sturgis. Back in those days, I didn’t know much about shop leasing agreements, so all I heard was “three months free rent,” and I was sold. After shaking hands with the agent, and with big dreams for my new business on the horizon, I took off for Sturgis to set up shop for the week. Anyone who has been to Sturgis knows that the rally has a really great atmosphere, and the energy is infectious. With so many people sharing the same passion for bikes in such a concentrated area, having a good time is easy.
I didn’t have a body paint artist camping out at my booth that year like I had in Daytona, but the days and nights were exciting nevertheless, and the shop did wonderfully. Due to my initial success, I made my way back the following two years to promote Eagle Leather and sell our newest merchandise. Rallies are some of my best memories in the business, and I’ll never forget those summers starting out.
Naturally, a huge crowd of revelers like we see at Sturgis doesn’t come without its dangers. Thousands of riders and passengers jump on bikes and take to the road during Sturgis, often without the best protective gear. Combine these conditions with alcohol, and an accident is a real threat. In fact, it is estimated that between 1994 and 2012, a total of 141 people died in Sturgis Motorcycle Rally related accidents, and 2013 alone saw a staggering twenty deaths. The most important thing for everyone to do while celebrating this August is to be aware of your surroundings.
Be responsible and take every precaution possible to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Sturgis only comes around once a year. Enjoy every moment, be safe, and make the most of it!