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The Ride to Sturgis

             Two wheels move the soul" (Thompson, 2008). No one understands the feeling of riding a motorcycle until they have ridden one. Almost all of the people that visit Sturgis, South Dakota during the first full week in August know the amazing feeling of motorcycle riding. For some, riding is not just an activity, it is a lifestyle. Visiting the Sturgis motorcycle rally will give a taste of that life style. Each year hundreds of thousands of motorcycle riders from all around visit Sturgis for the rally. Sturgis motorcycle rally had to start from somewhere, though. This huge event all started from one small race put on by a small town motorcycle shop owner and has grown into a worldwide event.
             It all began with a motorcycle club called the Jackpine Gypsies. The group was created in 1936 by J. C. Hoel. His nickname was Pappy. The Sturgis motorcycle rally started off as a small race in Sturgis, South Dakota. The race was held on August 14th, 1938 with a small group of people watching nine motorcycle racers compete (Kern, 2008). The race was called Black Hills Motors Classic till 1992 when it was changed to Sturgis Rally and Races. Within a few years the rally grew immensely in size. "By 1940, 5000 spectators watched the races" (Kern, 2008. p. 1.). In 1961, the Jackpine Gypsies added more events that consisted of hill climb and motocross races. The rally kept getting more popular so in 1965 the rally turned into a five day event and one block of Main Street got closed for motorcycle parking. The people loved being at Sturgis, so in 1975 the rally turned into a seven day assembly just like it is today. From 1981 to 1987 the Sturgis rally went from being a local known event to riders coming from all around the country. In those six years the rally grew from 25,000 riders to 65,000. By the turn of the century Sturgis motorcycle rally became a house hold name. The attendance total was 600,000 people in 2000.

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