City Of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Attendees Getting Younger
October 27, 2022
City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attendees getting younger STURGIS, S.D. - Demographic surveys of those attending the 2022 City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally show the average age of attendees continues to fall, but the number of attendees who don’t own a motorcycle has actually increased.
Rally organizers say both statistics show the event shifting demographically.
“We’re achieving the goal of broadening the appeal of the event to a larger and younger audience,” Beka Zerbst, Sturgis City Council member and chair of the city’s Rally & Events Committee, told an audience at the 2022 Post-Rally Summit Tuesday.
After the 75th Rally in 2015, the number of long-term attendees began to drop. Then, during the pandemic year in 2020, the Rally was introduced to a new group of attendees.
“They have been incredibly loyal and continue to return,” Zerbst said. The largest percentage of rallygoers were from the heartland in markets which were targeted through the state of South Dakota’s Community Cooperative Marketing Program.
Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie said the high gas prices and reduced attendance from long-distance travelers in the U.S., and global economic uncertainty reduced international visitation.
In 2017, 11.5% of visitors to the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally were from international markets. In 2022, the number of international visitors was just over 4%.
The average age of rallygoers continues to fall. In 2015, the average age of rallygoers was 53.1 years old. In 2022, the average age was 50.8 years old.
And, interestingly enough, you don’t have to own a motorcycle to attend the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Since 2015, the number of people attending the Rally who say they don’t own a motorcycle has jumped from 1% to 12%.
Although Harley-Davidson is still the predominant brand owned by those who do own a motorcycle and attend the Rally, other brands are growing in popularity. Since 2015, the number of people who say they own Polaris bands has increased from 2.2% to 11.7%.
Rallygoers were asked how they got to Sturgis and 41.8% said they rode their motorcycle. That compares to 63.8% in 2015. The number who said they towed their motorcycle increased from 26.4% in 2015 to 38.4% in 2022.
Nearly half of those who attend the Rally say they stay in campgrounds while here. About 14% say they stay in hotels, another 13% stay with friends and 14% stay in private housing rentals.
When asked about their interests, 57% of attendees said they enjoy traveling and 46% said they like camping. Another 38% said they enjoy fishing and 32% said they like hunting.