Sturgis, North Live Cam

America's first motorcycle company


Hosted by:
  • Indian Motorcycle Sturgis
  • 2130 Main Street - Sturgis
  • South Dakoya 57785 - United States
  • 605-206-7830

Surrounding Black Hills Region of the U.S.

Sturgis, population 6,796, is able to put this event on through a combination of factors, foremost of which is cooperation. Planning is a year-round process. The city department heads have extensive experience in the logistics of putting on the event including things like sanitation and public safety. The town also relies on several civic and business organizatioins. County and state agencies also join in this effort. But the real impetus behind a successful Rally is that the citizens of the community are willing to tolerate this huge influx of visitors.

Rallly attendance figures are, at best, an estimate based on traffic counts taken all week at the entrances to the community. Those counts are factored into a highway department formula. Aerial photos are also figured into the tally, but Rally visitors in neighboring communities aren't figured into those totals. So, at best, attendance figures are an educated guess.

Sturgis, for 48 weeks of the year, is a quiet bedroom community that relies on agriculture, timber and commerce for its mainstays. Because of the recent growth in Rally-related business, much of the traditional downtown has vanished. High property taxes and the difficulties stores face closing down for more than two weeks each year has also added to the vacancies downtown. Many of the community's residents work in neighboring towns. Some of the bigger Sturgis employers include Fort Meade VA Medical Center, the school district and Meade County. The town also provides some service-related jobs.

A large event like the Motorcycle Rally requires a large law enforcement presence both for those who attend and work at the Bike Rally, but also for the residents. Police have a set of guidelines that they operate on and violations such as alcohol abuse, nudity and traffic citations are strictly enforced. The police are also charged with keeping traffic moving and control in the public right of ways. Most law enforcement policies have come from city officials and its residents.

Like everywhere else, good things don't come cheap. The costs of Rally merchandise is basically whatever the market will bear, although shoppers can get some pretty good bargains on the final Sunday of the event. The price of other consumer items like groceries, gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes include state taxes. Often times, perishable items like bagged ice can be in short suppl.y simply because of the demand. Vendors are imposed fees to cover the cost of clean up and security; and obviously like any other consumer item, the consumer covers the cost. Rent for vendor spaces has risen considerably in the last few years as well. Visitors coming here for the first time are advised to plan ahead. Studies show the average biker can expect to spend between $150 and $175 a day, making it real easy to run out of money if they're not careful.

The Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce licenses several vendors to sell official Rally logo products. The vendors pay a fee to the Chamber for the right to sell their merchandise with the logo. The Chamber then donates the majority of that money back to various organizations or projects in Sturgis and the area. So, if you're going to buy a souvenir and want some of your money to stay in Sturgis, buy "official" logo products endorsed by the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce.

Getting around during this year’s motorcycle rally may prove interesting. With construction slated to continue on two of four main arteries into Sturgis, the people who control traffic are virtually assured of a busy time. Thursday, officials of the state Department of Transportation, contractors, and emergency personnel held one of their annual planning meetings to work out traffic logistics for the Aug. 7-13 event. And, from the sound of things, there will be plenty of headaches to deal with.

Work on U.S. 14-A will experience 20 minute delays until Aug. 3 while crews work on structures in the final two mile stretch of this project. From Aug. 4-13 the road will be opened and no delays are anticipated, but it was noted the contractor will continue work off of the highwayrigh of way. A spokesman for Zandstra Construction said his company is in the process of getting all temporary bypasses ready, but warns motorists will experience some dips as they cross these structures.

Immediately following the rally the road will be closed for two months, with traffic rerouted to Exit 17. Starting June 23, westbound interstate traffic will be funneled onto the eastbound lane on I-90 as work begins in earnest on five mile rebuilding project. Motorist will go head to head from the Meade County line to Exit 23 (Whitewood).

State officials plan to install yield signs at the Exit 23 on ramps, but cautioned stop signs will go in if there’s any sign of traffic back up. “This is a tough situation”, admitted DOT engineer Jim Wicks. “If it gets to be a problem, we’ll look at other solutions”. The state plans to post a 65 mph speed limit on this stretch, but concedes that traffic is more like to travel at half that speed during peak rally periods.

One worry is emergency vehicle response times should there be an accident. Everyone agrees the Sturgis and Whitewood fire and ambulance services need to coordinate their efforts. Because the west bound lane will be torn up, emergency vehicles are faced with dodging traffic on the interstate or using the White wood Service Road to get to an accident scene. State officials gave emergency personnel the go-ahead to cut the fences along the service road if they need to get up to the interstate from the service road.

Given the situation, a local highway patrolman urged planners to consider lowering the speed limit to 45 mph on this stretch, at least during the rally. Whitewood police plan on adding another officer for traffic control, but believe it would be prudent to see speeds cut down on the service road during the rally. It was pointed that many inexperienced motorcyclists use the road for test drives that week, and, interstate construction will only increase the pressure on this two lane road.

Public Works Director Floyd Baird said the Sturgis City Council is poised to put a four-way stop at the junction of 14-A and the new Whitewood cut across to improve traffic flows in and out of the community. The cut across is expected to be finished next week. Another suggestion is to set up an electronic message board in Belle Fourche encouraging bikers to take U.S. 212 and 79 to Sturgis to avoid the traffic on I-90. State officials added the I-90 reduced speed zone will extend down to the Black Hills National Cemetery. Local agencies also learned they will probably face a similar scenario next year, when the state bids the eastbound lane of I-90.