Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - 2008 . . .
on our route to the Pacific Northwest in 2008

Updated: 11/30/08



Our travel toward the Pacific Northwest began after our time with the family at Higgins Lake. The timing of our travels from there put us in the Sturgis, South Dakota area the first weekend of the Sturgis 2008 Motorcycle Rally. Therefore, Mary Lou made reservations in January at a campground in Custer, SD to insure we had a site.


The rally originated by the efforts of J. Clarence "Pappy" Hoel who bought part of the Indian Motorcycle Company. Pappy is now considered the founder and father of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  The first rally, known as the Black Hills Motor Classic, took place in 1938 with only nine racers and a small group of spectators from biker clubs in Mitchell, Sioux Falls, Minnesota, and Colorado. This first year most visitors camped in Pappy's backyard and at Sturgis City Park.

Over the years, history has watched Sturgis welcome more and more spectators, riders and vendors into its community during a few days in August. It wasn't until 1963 that the rally turned into a multi-day event. In 1965 the rally became a five day event and in 1975 it became seven days long. Sturgis also began blocking off Main Street so that bikers had a place to park their bikes and not have to worry about traffic. The first vendors, only nine of them, were welcomed to sell goods in 1979. By 1988, there were 117 vendors lining the streets of Sturgis. In 1989, founder Pappy Hoel died at age 85. But the rally lived on, with over 600,000 visitors and participants in 2000. In 2002, the city realized the need for a department that would be in charge of organizing and marketing the annual event. (Our thanks to for this history information.)

a logo b h m classic 2008.jpg (57589 bytes)Motorcycle races, hill climbs and other activities are also part of the event. In 2003, the Black Hills Motor Classic officially became the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.


In 2005, they marked the 65th anniversary for this famous bike week.  




Being in the area, we had to go to Sturgis. How could we be in the vicinity and not go. When we arrived in Sturgis it reminded us of the  Woodward Dream Cruise in Royal Oak, Michigan and surrounding communities. Instead of 50,000 hotrods and custom cars, Sturgis has thousands of motorcycles.


a f0805 sd britain _212_1.JPG (44464 bytes)Both events draw participants and spectators for across the our country and some foreign countries. We talked to this guy from Great Britain. When asked if he was renting a motorcycle for the rally, he said "no". He told us the cost to rent a motorcycle would have been more than his airfare from Great Britain to the the rally.




Our day in Sturgis   Motorcycles   Other vehicles


Our day in Sturgis



The ride from Custer to Sturgis and back was beautiful. Did we mention that there were motorcycles everywhere?


a f0804 sd view_168_1.JPG (27494 bytes)   a f0804 sd view_171_1.JPG (35560 bytes)

a f0804 sd view_604_1.JPG (27717 bytes)   a f0804 sd view_605_1.JPG (24644 bytes)

a f0804 sd traffic_549_1.JPG (46671 bytes)   a f0804 sd traffic_547_1.JPG (35517 bytes)


We spotted these quads running off-road.

a f0804 sd mc quads_159 crop_1.jpg (40050 bytes)



a f0804 sd gathering_175_1.JPG (55659 bytes)a f0804 sd camera_177_1.JPG (47989 bytes)At one intersection, this biker was making a photograph of his biker friends.

Perhaps this was their first Sturgis Rally.





The weather turned on us part way to Sturgis.

            We turned on the windshield wipers.

                            The bikers stopped and put on their raingear. 


a f0804 sd weather_114_1.JPG (20257 bytes)      a f0804 sd rain_128_1.JPG (36906 bytes)      a f0804 sd raingear_126_1.JPG (28529 bytes)

The weather cleared by the time we arrived in Sturgis. It was a beautiful day - not too hot.



a f0804 sd deadwood sign_190_1.JPG (51326 bytes)Driving through Deadwood, we found our first massive gathering of motorcycles.

Mary Lou liked the designs on their police vehicles. There was a significant police presence in all of the communities surrounding Sturgis.  

           a f0804 sd deadwood police_531_1.JPG (44250 bytes)      


a f0804 sd deadwood_181_1.JPG (55677 bytes)   a f0804 sd deadwood_186_1.JPG (57144 bytes)   a f0804 sd deadwood_188_1.JPG (58646 bytes)



We also discovered people in Deadwood offering to wash motorcycles. Cleanliness is important.





a f0804 sd diesel_201_1.JPG (48143 bytes)The first thing we did in Sturgis was buy diesel fuel for the truck - it was ten cents per gallon less expensive than in Custer.

Can you find us in the crowd of other vehicles?





Continuing into town,  we proceeded to get in the traffic jam. When we left about 3:00pm in the afternoon - traffic was still heavy coming into town.

a f0804 sd traffic_222_1.JPG (53718 bytes)   a f0804 sd traffic_474_1.JPG (64263 bytes)   a f0804 sd traffic_475_1.JPG (38726 bytes)   



The street was lined with vendors selling 'everything' motorcycle related. You could buy anything from an entire motorcycle, parts and accessories, to insurance on your motorcycle.


a f0804 sd sales_214_1.JPG (36829 bytes)   a f0804 sd sales_216_1.JPG (36341 bytes)   a f0804 sd sales_217_1.JPG (50157 bytes)


a f0804 sd sales_220_1.JPG (49117 bytes)   a f0804 sd sales_225_1.JPG (70152 bytes)   a f0804 sd sales_281_1.JPG (66564 bytes)   a f0804 sd sales_470_1.JPG (59793 bytes)



a f0804 sd sales_592_1.JPG (36025 bytes)The Lions Club sold pancakes, churches sold parking spaces and some religious groups were selling Spiritual assistance. Everybody was involved in some way or another.






We decided to get off the main route through town, find a parking spot and walk back. We never did walk back to the main route.

We found that Main Street was were most of the motorcycles were parked. 


a f0804 sd street main_248_1.JPG (58461 bytes)a f0804 sd street_425_1.JPG (44375 bytes)Main street and some of the central side streets were blocked off and restricted to motorcycle traffic only.













The sidewalk was filled with people and many were wandering between the motorcycles.





Most of the side streets were also filled with motorcycles. Parking spots, even for a motorcycle, were at a premium.


a f0804 sd street sdie_243_1.JPG (58537 bytes)   a f0804 sd street side_446_1.JPG (46875 bytes)   a f0804 sd street side_466_1.JPG (74236 bytes)



What better place to rest than on the front lawn of the Sheriff's office.


a f0804 sd street resting_333_1.JPG (53835 bytes)   a f0804 sd street side_336_1.JPG (69670 bytes)



f0804 sd kiss 2_379_1.jpg (41171 bytes)f0804 sd kiss 2_378_1.jpg (26663 bytes)We attended the rally on Monday the day KISS was performing. We did not go to the KISS performance.


Two of the band members were taking in the sights in Main Street as we were. When he saw Fred ready to make a photograph, he posed for him 



Selling was not limited to the route through town. Some selling occurred on most downtown streets as well.



a f0804 sd camp_455_1.JPG (49044 bytes)Residence rented their lawns for camping and parking - backyards and frontyards.

   a f0804 sd camp_235_1.JPG (61810 bytes)   a f0804 sd camp_238_1.JPG (62840 bytes)   a f0804 sd lawn parking_464_1.jpg (41566 bytes)



Pinstripping could be applied. Fred make the last photograph shooting through a tear in the canvas tent workshop.


a f0804 sd pinstriping_356_1.JPG (50349 bytes)   a f0804 sd pinstriping_358_1.JPG (38902 bytes)   a f0804 sd pinstriping_359_1.JPG (28989 bytes)   



a f0804 sd tattoo girl_424_1.JPG (46266 bytes)a f0804 sd tattoo girls_420_1.JPG (60043 bytes)You could buy a tattoo. (It appears the cash register was broken.)






Maybe you needed some biker apparel . . .

a f0804 sd sales_368_1.jpg (69818 bytes)



This motorcycle was for sale . . . 

a f0804 sd mc 60_391_1.JPG (68478 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc 60_393_1.JPG (51227 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc 60_394_1.JPG (56660 bytes)   . . . for $60,000.



a f0804 sd bull_362_1.JPG (50364 bytes)a f0804 sd bull_361_1.jpg (59408 bytes)Of course, restaurants and bars were very busy.


You could ride a bucking bull if you wanted to. 

A short time after the ride began, this gal found herself on the ground.




This is not where we noticed a safety feature built in to Harley-Davidson attire, but it seems to fit here. It is an item that was probably sold in Sturgis.

While driving back to the HHII after visiting Mt. Rushmore on a rainy night, we noticed a large reflective 'spot' on the back of several riders.  We were close enough to one rider to identify it as a Harley-Davidson emblem. While in Cody, WY Fred visited a H-D store to investigate.

a f0809 cody hd_728 crop_1.jpg (52237 bytes)      a f0809 cody hd_724 crop_1.jpg (54058 bytes)
Rain jacket without flash . . .      Rain jacket with flash . . .


Fred made a lot of photographs because of the uniqueness of many of the motorcycles. That is very similar to the approach we used on our posting of Woodward Dream Cruise photographs. Each year we have added a few more photographs of unique hot rods and custom cars.


Bikers were photographing the motorcycles also.


a f0804 sd camera 2_372_1.jpg (55764 bytes)   a f0804 sd camera 2_373_1.JPG (62268 bytes)                    a f0804 sd camera_396_1.jpg (76317 bytes)





The following are select few . . . we could have posted many many more. 


Top of Page

GO BACK TO  > > > Pacific Northwest - 2008





a f0804 sd michigan_246_1.JPG (56853 bytes)There were motorcycles from all over the country in Sturgis, including Michigan






a f0804 sd mc_384_1.JPG (63461 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_386_1.JPG (61637 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_407_1.JPG (70437 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc_445_1.JPG (63582 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_454_1.JPG (52023 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_457_1.JPG (64094 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc_317_1.JPG (74727 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_318_1.JPG (60350 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_319_1.JPG (54148 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_320_1.JPG (43555 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc_459_1.JPG (58934 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_199_1.JPG (55428 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_200_1.JPG (58795 bytes)



a f0804 sd mc corvair_448_1.JPG (61425 bytes)



a f0804 sd mc_193_1.jpg (47755 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_205_1.JPG (48287 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc horns helmet_388_1.JPG (59138 bytes)



a f0804 sd mc comfy_207_1.JPG (53864 bytes)
She looks comfy.
(We were talking to a couple from Illinois at Mt. Rushmore.
They rode their motorcycle 600 miles their first day out. )




a f0804 sd mc_203_1.JPG (56883 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_227_1.JPG (72705 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_230_1.JPG (54936 bytes)



a f0804 sd big red v8_325_1.JPG (69236 bytes)      a f0804 sd mc big_277_1.JPG (53397 bytes)
People of all ages were in Sturgis for the rally.




a f0804 sd mc_287_1.JPG (49142 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_288_1.JPG (59014 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc bubbles_421_1.JPG (56860 bytes)    a f0804 sd mc big gilr_417_1.jpg (75466 bytes)



All ready to go camping.



   a f0804 sd mc_366_1.JPG (77124 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_365_1.JPG (63645 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc_367_1.JPG (33783 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc_242_1.JPG (64566 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc skull_390_1.JPG (59690 bytes)   



a  f0804 sd mc horns_406_1.jpg (57476 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc horns_403_1.jpg (60761 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc horns_405_1.jpg (74224 bytes)
This one was hard to describe.



a f0804 sd mc misc_413_1.JPG (59056 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc misc_416_1.JPG (61152 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc misc_415_1.JPG (61756 bytes)
This one gave a political message.



a f0804 sd mc fire_270_1.JPG (47826 bytes)      a f0804 sd mc fire_271_1.JPG (66790 bytes)
Some support to our first responders.


a f0804 sd faith_296_1.JPG (51409 bytes)
Others displayed their faith.




a f0804 sd mc platform_240_1.JPG (60680 bytes)    a f0804 sd girls trucker_311_1.JPG (47965 bytes)
These had a platform on the rear just like our HHII
and chrome ladies like on our truck's mudflaps.



a f0804 sd mc steroids_303_1.JPG (59284 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc steroids_300_1.JPG (52012 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc steroids_302_1.JPG (52223 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc steroids_305_1.JPG (59025 bytes)
When the 'Harley on Steroids' pull out, six bikers were happy to get their parking spot.



a f0804 sd mc training_626_1.jpg (46932 bytes)
This one looks like it 
has training wheels.



a f0804 sd mc fem_429_1.JPG (65087 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc fem_430_1.JPG (51884 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc fem_431_1.JPG (48352 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc fem_432_1.JPG (55115 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc fire trk_426_1.JPG (56101 bytes)            a f0804 sd mc fire trk_428_1.JPG (54742 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc gal_450_1.jpg (49560 bytes)      a f0804 sd mc gal_451_1.jpg (47360 bytes)



a f0804 sd mc green_245_1.JPG (64097 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc green_437_1.JPG (47248 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc green_439_1.JPG (70322 bytes)




a f0804 sd mc green_374_1.JPG (63933 bytes)   a f0804 sd mc _310 crop_1.jpg (70896 bytes)   


Top of Page

GO BACK TO  > > > Pacific Northwest - 2008



Other vehicles


a f0804 sd quad_441_1.JPG (53691 bytes)   a f0804 sd quad_442_1.JPG (52811 bytes)


a f0804 sd vintage cars_572_1.jpg (40031 bytes)                                    a f0804 sd mc amigo_321_1.jpg (48020 bytes)


a f0804 sd mc cushman_324_1.jpg (51983 bytes)                    


GO BACK TO  > > > Pacific Northwest - 2008


Top of Page






























Hit Counter