84th Rally, Aug. 2nd-11th, Begins in

City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Consideration Protocols
May 4, 2020


Date 04/23/2020

CONTACTS: Christina Steele

605-347-4422 ext. 209


City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Consideration Protocols



STURGIS, SD - The Sturgis City Council has prepared a set of protocols that will be used when making the decision to hold or cancel the upcoming City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally scheduled for August 7-16, 2020. This decision will be under consideration because of the wide-spread COVID-19 pandemic.


Considerations for the Rally in 2020

Before hosting any event, the City must be reasonably ensured that it would not levy an undue burden on the health of our residents and our health care services.

Nearly every corporation in America has greatly reduced travel and trade shows. If the Rally is held, there will likely be a great reduction in the number of major corporate exhibitors along with smaller vendors who also will be hesitant to travel.

Beyond the additional revenue for 43% of our residents (broken down below), many of our businesses are heavily dependent upon Rally revenue, if the event is not held, we anticipate significant negative impacts up to and including foreclosures for our community’s restaurants, hotels, Main Street gift shops and hospitality industries (including pet services). Any closure will likely take years to be replaced by a new business. This is true in neighboring communities throughout the Black Hills.

Many of the smaller vendors rely upon the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for the bulk of their annual profit. If the event is not held, they may not be able to make it to the next year.


Impact of the Rally

  • The City of Sturgis hosts the state’s single largest tourism event.
  • The 79th Annual Rally generated the following:
  • $655,090,000 of direct spending by visitors
  • $65,509,000 in additional indirect spending
  • $615,116 in funding for local non-profit and charitable organizations
  • $1,165,688 in net profit to the City of Sturgis
  • In 2014, the City’s SIP resident survey indicated 15% of residents rent their homes, 6% rent their yards and 22% work a Rally job – 43% of our residents are a part of the Rally 
    • This income is generally 5-15% of a household’s annual income


Metrics for Consideration

The City has determined that it will make a decision on holding the 2020 City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally based upon empirical data. This would focus on whether the state is capable of hosting a larger number of visitors and if the areas where our visitors usually come from have a high probability of carrying the COVID-19 virus.


Resource Availability in the state:

  • ICU beds available
  • Ventilators available

Virus Case Growth

  • Percentage weekly change in infections in South Dakota

Virus Case Growth in primary markets (represent 50.6% of attendees)

  • Follow weekly growth in cases (infection curve) for MN, CO, NE, CA, WI, WY, WA, IA, KS and AZ


There will be a series of calls to begin gauging the temperature of the industry leaders. This would be combined with the metrics, to guide the Council’s decision regarding whether the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally should be canceled.


Week of May 11th – 15th - Set Up Calls

  • Contact the following groups to see if they would like to be included in the decision
    • Governor – State Tourism – State Health – Senator Rounds – Senator Thune – Representative Johnson – Black Hills & Badlands – Monument Health
  • Hotel/Motel group – Local Owners – Southern Hills – Rapid City – Spearfish
  • Significant campground venues – Pappy Hoel – Buffalo Chip – Glenco – Lamphere – Steel Pony – Kick Stand – Rush No More – Sturgis RV – Days End
  • Businesses – Main Street businesses – Sturgis Indian - Black Hills Harley Davidson – Sturgis Motorcycle Museum
  • Sponsors
  • Mayors & Chambers from throughout the Hills


Week of May 18th make calls to:

  • Hotel Motel Group
  • Campground Group
  • Sturgis Monument Health


Week of May 25th make calls to:

  • Black Hills Businesses
  • Chambers & Cities


Week of June 1st make calls to:

  • Sponsors
  • State and Federal Government Groups


June 8th

  • Special Council Meeting - for discussion only


June 15th

  • Regular Council meeting to vote if the Rally is canceled (7 ½ weeks before the start of the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally)


Questions related to the above information can be directed to Jerry Cole, Director of the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 605-720-0800.