Sturgis South Dakota – It’s Not All About Motorcycles… Just Mostly

Sturgis, South Dakota.

Synonymous with motorcycles and the great Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for 77 years, Sturgis, South Dakota welcomes bikers by the thousands every summer. Unless you call yourself Ironclad or Stiletto and ride one of those two- or three-wheel bikes, however, you probably want to avoid driving through town during the rally. Indeed, in 2000, over 600,000 were in attendance at the rally, and on its 75th anniversary, over 3/4 of a million people participated during  the 10-day experience. You can view a historical timeline of the great August attraction here.

On our way to the annual Steiner Family Reunion, this year in Albuquerque, Lynn and I planned a 3,000 mile (4800 km) plus road trip. Our first overnight stop at Rapid City brought us close to several interesting places, including the little town of Sturgis. In the next few weeks, we will feature some of our 2017 summer travels. The view of the Black Hills above Sturgis features a campground that features cabins and other amenities for visitors. We had a reservation, however, for a hotel in Rapid City, an overnight that would put us closer to Mount Rushmore, another stopping point on our journey south.

Our first stop found us at The Knuckle Saloon, a huge bar/restaurant and Sturgis museum all rolled into one. A recent addition is their Craft Brewery. I can’t vouch for their food as we’d already had lunch prior to our stop there, but the friendly atmosphere and motorcycle memorabilia certainly made it an interesting place to visit and have a beer.

Apparently, all roads lead to Sturgis, certainly true during the August rally. This old skeleton in the photo below is just one example of the museum antiques sprinkled throughout the saloon.

Sturgis was not without a rally during our visit, as it turned out. We arrived on June 23, smack in the middle of a Camaro Rally. There were Camaros of all vintage driving throughout the Black Hills as well as more than a few motorcycles. In the photo below, a parking lot was filling up with a collection of Camaro Rally participants.

No, there weren’t hundreds of thousands, or even thousands, but there certainly was a significant number of those Chevrolet sports rides. Clearly, Sturgis is about the gatherings of motorheads of all kinds. One interesting stop in the city, especially for motorcycle enthusiasts is the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Our afternoon stop allowed us time to wander through the downtown shops and stores. Sturgis is a beautiful small town and this time of year the backdrop of the Black Hills enhances the city’s charm. A downtown revitalization project features a brick sidewalk fundraiser. Known as the “Sturgis Brick Beautification Project”, their goal is to replace all of the downtown sidewalks with brick and granite pavers, each dedicated to commemorate a sponsor’s person, date, or special occasion. 

The Black Hills is a special place, popular with tourists the year round. In future Travel Tuesdays, we will feature stops in Deadwood and at Mount Rushmore and take a ride along Highway 16A, otherwise known as the Iron Mountain Highway. The concluding photo in this portfolio is a mural of Mount Rushmore painted on the exterior wall of one of the downtown buildings in Sturgis.

John Steiner


One thought on “Sturgis South Dakota – It’s Not All About Motorcycles… Just Mostly

  1. Sweet, it’s cool ya’ can say you’ve been here! We’ve been to Myrtle beach twice… Coincidentally both times were during Bike Week, though it doesn’t attract nearly as many people and admittedly there’s a reason they call it the dirty myrtle, it’s kind of a train wreck. Hahaha

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