July 18 2013 by Jason Fogelson
The 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place from August 5 - 11 this year, in and around historic Sturgis, South Dakota. If you've never been, there's no better time than right now to make your plans.
Sturgis is the granddaddy of all motorcycle rallies, the one that people picture when they think about a biker event. It is predominantly Harley-Davidson-centric, though not exclusively so. Riders from all brands are welcome to attend. You'll see every variety and model of Harley parked on Main Street, and don't be surprised to see sport bikes, sport tourers, dual-sports and metric cruisers parked in and among the Milwaukee Iron. It's all about the spirit of two (or three) wheels.
The BEST WESTERN Sturgis Inn gets booked up well in advance, though last minute cancellations are always a possibility. There are eight other Best Western hotels within a 100-mile radius of Sturgis, and even more within a two-hour ride. The ride in to Sturgis is fantastic, with great scenery and tons of motorcycles on the road during the Rally, so your ride in can be considered an extension of the event.
The Sturgis Rally is definitely not a family-friendly event. There's lots of alcohol flowing in town, and folks are always eager to test the limits of propriety when it comes to clothing and public displays of skin. The bad old days of the biker gang are a thing of the past, thank goodness, and the event is safe and sane, with plenty of security and a friendly police presence. Still, when rowdy people, lots of drinks and motorcycles get mixed up together, there's always the possibility for a scuffle. For safety's sake, avoid drinking until after your riding day is finished. There's plenty of fun to be had without adding a DUI to the puzzle.
One of the most fun parts of Sturgis, besides the people, the music and the motorcycles, is the shopping. Tons of vendors set up in a village near Main Street, hawking everything from event t-shirts to motorcycle parts to riding gear to jewelry and beyond. Some of it is the same old swap meet junk, but some of it is unique, handmade artistry. The fun is in the hunt. Besides -- you're on a bike, how much stuff can you buy and ride home with?
Can't make it to the Rally, but still want a piece of merchandise? Official Sturgis licensed products are available online here.
It's never too early to plan ahead. The 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be held from August 4 - 10, 2014, and the big 75th will explode from August 3 - 9, 2015.