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What I Would Do (If I Were Going to the Sturgis Rally)


The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially runs from August 8-14. But I know many of you will be heading out sooner, maybe even as early as this weekend.

One of these days, when my kids are older, I would like to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally just for fun (all my Sturgis experiences revolve around manning a booth for Leader Motorcycle). But alas, it is not this year (instead I am producing and directing a play in the Minnesota Fringe Festival)!

But if I *was* going, here’s my bucket list...


Mon Aug 8: Legends Ride

This event is dedicated to bringing rally goers together to raise funds for local charities. The Legends Ride has, since its inception in 2008, raised well over $400,000 for charity and hosted riders from all over the world, in addition to some of the biggest names in television, film, music and motorcycling.

And even better, Elle King & Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert after the ride! I especially like the gritty, gutsy and gorgeous sounds of singer Elle King, who combines unapologetic rock’n’roll, vampy rhythm and blues and a slight twinge of country sadness for a stiff yet smooth musical cocktail that’s sure to get your party going. (see all Buffalo Chip bands)


Tuesday, Aug. 9: Biker Belles Ride

This women-orienteded guided ride runs through the beautiful Black Hills to a day of festivities at The Lodge at Deadwood that celebrates women in riding and supports organizations benefitting women’s causes.


Weds Aug 10: Explore

So many roads, so little time! This video by J&P Cycles has a “top ten” list. And the side trips on this page look interesting:  I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t get bored!


Thurs Aug 11: Freedom Celebration Ride

As a former Army combat medic, this is one I wouldn’t miss…

The Freedom Celebration Ride kicks off on Spearfish Main Street, where you can hear some rip-roarin’ rock ‘n’ roll from South Dakota Army National Guard Band SGT Rock. Special guests include former US Navy SEAL and founder of Warrior Dog Foundation Mike Ritland, America’s Mighty Warriors’ CEO Debbie Lee, author and retired Navy SEAL Jason Redmen, WWII Army veteran Bob Hanson and retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant William “Spanky” Gibson!


Night Life

As an ex-bar singer myself, I love live bands. So a stop at the Buffalo Chip and the Full Throttle Saloon are a must. I’m not a huge shopper, but what would the Sturgis Rally be without a trip down main street and the many surrounding vendors? I’d get the obligatory Sturgis T-shirt and maybe some bling that I wouldn’t normally find elsewhere.


What I’d have with me

Let’s see. Husband—probably. Friends—definitely. (Kids…nope!) Helmet, chaps, boots—all the usual.

The weather during the Sturgis motorcycle rally can be extreme on either end. I’ve been caught in a hailstorm so severe it knocked out car windows and turn signals (not to mention knocked over a motorcycle or two). And I’ve sweated it out in 106-degree heat. But even on the hot days, it cools off considerably in the evening, especially if you plan to ride in some of the low mountain areas surrounding Sturgis.

So #1, I have my Desert Dawgs rain guards/wind deflectors. (In truth, I don’t go anywhere without these anymore, as they help keep me warmer when I ride). And for the hot stuff, I’d make sure I have a Roadrunner drink holder to keep my ice water in.

And, since I’m not good with directions, a GPS is a must for me (I use a dedicated GPS unit rather than my phone for several reasons). I find it makes me a lot safer to follow a GPS than to try and guess where I’m supposed to go – especially in heavy traffic (which can happen during the rally).

So, if you’re headed to Sturgis: I have a little envy (but I’ll get over it). HAVE FUN! And RIDE SAFE!

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  • Tracey Cramer