Brief History of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - Charter Flight Group

Brief History of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally


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Brief History of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

An American motorcycle rally, which is held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota. The rally takes place during the first full week of August.

On August 14, 1938, the first rally was held by Indian Motorcycle riders by the Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club, who still manages and operates the tracks, hill climb, and field areas where the rally is centered. The first event was called the Black Hills Classic and consisted of a single race with nine participants and with a very limited audience. The founder of the Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club is Clarence “Pappy” Hoel. He purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis in 1936. In 1997, the Jackpine Gypsies were inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. In 1998, Clarence Hoel was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame.

The focus of a motorcycle rally was basically racing and stunts. The rally was expanded to include the Hillclimb and Motocross races in 1961. This could include half-mile track racing, intentional board wall crashes, ramp jumps and head-on collisions with automobiles.

Many participants and visitors of the Sturgis Rally have families; they bring their children together with them and drive trailers and campers to the rally, and ride their motorcycles just the last few miles. The director of the rally estimated in 2005 that less than half the attendees actually rode there. Shipping companies transport thousands of motorcycles to Sturgis for attendees who arrive via airline.

The Black Hills Run is a route favored by motorcycle riders, across the Black Hills from Deadwood to Custer State Park, South Dakota. It reached the height of its popularity between 1939 and 1941. The popularity of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attracted additional attention to the route in recent years. The pine-forested mountains of the Black Hills make for a unique scenic motorcycle ride.

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