Every year during the first weeks of August, the spirit of “Pappy” Hoel rises in the Black Hills. It lives in the drumbeats of a 100,000 V-Twins, it parades up and down Lazelle and Main streets and whirls in whispers around Bear Butte. This means it’s time once again for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, this year marking the 73rd year motorcyclists have flocked to South Dakota for the mother of all biker blowouts.
Sturgis is one of the last bastions of true biker revelry. Bikers pitch tent in yards around town, fill the campgrounds, or tramp it for free in the woods. It has an unbridled spirit unlike any other and is something every motorcyclist should experience at least once in a lifetime, so here’s a guideline of things to do if you’re headed to this year’s rally. This is by no means all-inclusive list, but will give you a few suggestions as to what to see and do at the 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
2014 Indian Chief World Debut and Party – Saturday, Aug. 8 – 999 Main Street, Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame
This is one of the most anticipated cruiser motorcycle unveilings to come along in a long time. Everybody’s itching to see what direction the new owners of Indian Motorcycle, Polaris Industries, will take the company. American Picker Mike Wolfe will be on-hand to kick-off the celebration, live music will add to the party atmosphere, and HISTORY Channel cameras will be busy filming the whole thing for a piece to be aired on American Pickers Monday, Aug. 5.
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame – 999 Main St. – Open Daily
If you’re into history and a fan of vintage motorcycles, a trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame is highly recommended. Bikes in the exhibit range from a 1905 Excelsior to a 1954 Zundapp KS601. The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast is scheduled for Wed., Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. at The Lodge in Deadwood.
Michael Lichter’s Motorcycles as Art Exhibit at the Buffalo Chip –
Every year motorcycle industry and lifestyle photographer Michael Lichter puts together a wonderful display of motorcycles and memorabilia in an exhibition hall at the Buffalo Chip. This year he celebrates the café racer movement along with co-curator Paul d’Orleans with a compilation entitled “Ton Up! Speed, Style and Café Racer Culture.” The collection will feature 32 motorcycles alongside paintings, photography, vintage ‘Rocker’ jackets and more.
11th Annual Sturgis Mayor’s Ride – Mon, Aug. 5
Hosted by Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen with proceeds benefitting the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Dept. and police reserves. Ride will end at Custer State Park and includes a photo stop at Mt. Rushmore.
The Legends Ride – Mon., Aug. 5
Ride through the Black Hills with the likes of R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey, Twisted Sister frontman and radio personality Dee Snider, actress Kristy Swanson, and the Ness family in this star-studded event. The party starts in Deadwood before rolling out to the Chip for a dinner party followed by
a concert featuring the Doobie Brothers and Kid Rock. All in the name of charity. Guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
Biker Belles Ride – Tues., Aug 6
Celebrating women in motorcycling, the Biker Belles Ride starts with a symposium lead by a panel of leading women in the motorcycle industry. Then it’s time to saddle up and ride with a posse of your best lady friends through the Black Hills before ending up at the Chip for a big reception party. Once again, proceeds will go to charities, in this case benefitting women-related causes.
Daredevil Wednesday at the Buffalo Chip – Wed., Aug. 7
Watch as Clint Ewing and Toby Baker race head-to-head through tunnels of fire on motorcycles as both attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. You’ve heard of a unicycle, but have you ever seen a unimotorcycle? You can at the Chip on Daredevil Wednesday at the Unimotorcycle Drag Races as one-wheeled competitors likewise try to break world records. Patch McGillicutty of Daredevils Unlimited/American Hellriders will attempt to break the speed record inside the “Wall of Death” while more insane antics will be going down that day.
Pappy Hoel Memorial Ride – Wed., Aug. 7
Every year, Michael Ballard and Angie from the Full Throttle Saloon throw this commemorative ride to honor Pappy and Pearl Hoel, two of the people who made this whole Sturgis thing happen. Jesse James Dupree of ‘Jackyl’ fame and Paul Yaffe will be joining Michael and Angie as they head out from the Full Throttle Saloon on their way to Deadwood via scenic Spearfish Canyon.
Baker Drivetrain Smoke-Down Showdown – Easyriders Saloon – Wed. Aug. 7, 2013 8 p.m.
Rubber will be burning and smoke will be billowing out of the Easyriders Saloon as custom bike builders and magazine editors go head-to-head in this race to fifth gear. Whoever gets ‘em smoking first is the winner. We’ve got wind that defending champ, Patrick “The Gorilla” Garvin of J&P Cycles might try to pull a rabbit out of a hat for this year’s contest.
Jesse James Debuts West Coast Choppers CFL3 Frame – Full Throttle Saloon
The metal master makes a return to the world of custom bike building with the debut of West Coast Choppers CFL3 frame. The CFL used to be a hot ticket item before WCC folded. Even though JJ’s reputation took a hit after his name was drug through the dirt by the media, his skills have never diminished. It’s good to see him back doing what he does best, making things the good old-fashioned way, built not bought!
Western Motorcycle Drag Races – Aug. 5-7, Sturgis Dragway 20523 Hwy. 79
The Western Motorcycle Drag Racing Association is holding its Sturgis Nationals sponsored by AMSOIL during the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Drag bikes will be lighting them up and rippin’ down the strip to find out who is the king or queen of the quarter-mile. Burnout contests, vintage drag bike exhibitions, live music and more is in store for all.
Jackpine Gypsies Pro Hill Climbs – Fri., Aug. 9, 10 a.m. 1216 Short Track Road, Sturgis
The Jackpine Gypsies are the club that started it all, and the hill climbs are a long-standing part of Sturgis history. The hill just off the freeway on Short Track Road is a menacing foe and the pro hill climbers will have their hands full seeing who is the king of the mountain.
Lazelle and Main Streets –
In the heart of downtown Sturgis itself, it is the place to go to check out bikes, people watch, shop at vendors booths, and to check out the latest bikes and accessories from the likes of Harley-Davidson, Indian, Victory Motorcycles and others. No trip to Sturgis is complete without a trip to Main Street. Be sure to stop the watering hole known as The Dungeon Bar.
Just a short hop from Sturgis, a trip to Deadwood is like a trip back in time to the Wild, Wild West. The quaint storefronts with wagon-wheeled charm includes casinos, hotels, gift shops, restaurants and Wild West saloons, including Old Style Saloon #10, the place where Wild Bill Hickock allegedly got gunned down by Jack McKall.
Bike Shows –
Everybody loves to show off their rides at Sturgis, and there’s no shortage of custom bike shows for builders to display their craftsmanship. Of course, there’s no AMD World Championships of Custom Bike Building anymore as the
operation has moved oversees, and another of our favorites, the Harley Ride-In Show is a no-go for this year, but here’s a list of others that will take their place. The Rats Hole Custom Bike Show is by far the most prestigious of the lot with a history that goes back 40 years, albeit in Daytona Beach. But the Sturgis Rat’s Hole Show will still be critiqued by the same tenured judges as the Daytona contest using the same guidelines. The Sturgis show will also be filmed by CMT.
Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show – Thurs., Aug. 8 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Awards 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Buffalo Chip CrossRoads
J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show – Wed., Aug. 7 – 1 – 3 p.m. Awards 4:30 p.m. Lazelle & 4th
The Horse Backstreet Choppers Bike Show – Mon., Aug. 5 – 12 p.m. – Full Throttle Saloon
Paul Yaffe Bagger Nation Bike Show – Tues., Aug. 6 – 12 p.m. Full Throttle Saloon
Easyriders Bike Show – Tues. Aug. 6 – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Awards 4:30 p.m. Easyriders Saloon
Wrench Old School Bike Show – Wed. Aug. 7 – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Awards 4:30 p.m. Easyriders Saloon
Road Iron/Eddie Trotta/Dirty Bird Concepts Bagger Show – Thurs., Aug. 8 – 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Easyriders Saloon
Campgrounds and Venues –
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip is the place to be during Sturgis. It hosts incredible concerts every night which are free for campers and the action every day is non-stop. You can hang out at Bikini Beach in the morning, shoot machine guns in
The Buffalo Chip didn’t earn ‘Legendary’ status by chance. When they say it hosts the ‘Best Party Anywhere,’ they mean it.
the afternoon, then zip over The Chip in the evening while listening to Kid Rock kill it onstage. There’s no place to party like the Buffalo Chi-i-i-i-p.
Say hello to Michael Ballard and Angie at the Full Throttle Saloon. Ever since truTV brought the antics of the self-titled “World’s Largest Biker Bar” to living rooms everywhere, the Full Throttle Saloon has become a household name. With its post-apocalyptic décor and circus sideshow-style entertainment around every corner, the FTS is another place where the party is always full tilt. If there’s one night to be there, go on Jackyl night which always takes place on Thursday. Jesse James Dupree and the boys bring the house down.
The Broken Spoke Campground lies on the fringes out near Bear Butte and is another Sturgis hot spot. It has a 30,000 square-foot bar you can ride your motorcycle through to go along with “The World’s Largest Biker Pool.” It hosts concerts nightly, this year’s lineup includes the Black Crowes and Queens of the Stone Age, has fun events like the Miss Broken Spoke Saloon Contest, Wall of Death motordrome, and the Chop-In Block Bike Show. It also has 600 acres so there’s plenty of room to pitch your tent.
Glencoe Camp Resort has over 600 acres and features more shady spots to camp than others to go along with plenty of food stands, shower houses, and bath rooms on-premise. They’ve also got a long list of old school rockers like Brian Howe of Bad Co., Molly Hatchet, and Candlebox scheduled to perform. Concerts are free for campers.
Day Rides –
Spearfish Canyon –
If you need a few minutes of quiet and are looking for a break from the Sturgis madness, Spearfish Canyon offers a 22-mile ride through a spectacular forested canyon with several beautiful waterfalls and great hikes along the way.
Mt. Rushmore –
Pay your respects to four of the presidents that helped shape this wonderful country of ours at the larger-than-life faces sculpted into the granite face of Mt. Rushmore. About an hour’s ride from Sturgis, an estimated three million people visit the monument every year.
Crazy Horse Memorial –
The Crazy Horse Memorial is said to be the “world’s largest mountain carving,” a tribute to the Oglala Lakota warrior known as Crazy Horse. The bust of Crazy Horse alone is 87-feet-tall, and the sculpture as a whole is projected to
stand 641 feet. Worth the visit just for the Indian Museum of North America and its unparalleled collection of artifacts and Native American artwork.
Devils Tower –
A little over 80 miles away in Wyoming, Devils Tower is one of the most unique geological formations around. It is a magical place, held sacred by the Lakota and other tribes, the rock faces take on new personalities around every bend as the wind whispers through the Ponderosa pines surrounding it.
The Badlands –
Badlands National Park is another area of breathtaking natural beauty. The park consists of 244,00 acres “of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires” and is one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Winds and water have been carving these structures for eons as the striated layers expose the history of our earth.
The list of big name performers playing at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally rivals any musical festival around. One of the big reasons for this is because Rod “Woody” Woodruff, owner of the Legendary Buffalo Chip, realized long ago that music and motorcycles go hand-in-hand. This year, the Broken Spoke Saloon has teamed with Live Nation to help bring in bigger acts, the Easyriders Saloon is stepping up its game with a slew of free shows, the Full Throttle Saloon has a full slate of musical acts booked and the Buffalo Chip continues to host the biggest motorcycles and music festival around.
Broken Spoke Saloon
The Black Crowes – Sun., Aug. 4
Queens of the Stone Age – Mon, Aug. 5
Korn – Tues., Aug. 6
Gary Allan – Wed., Aug. 7
Buffalo Chip Campground
Queensryche – Fri., Aug. 2
The Cult, Buckcherry, Pop Evil – Sat., Aug. 3
ZZ Top, Halestorm, 4OnTheFloor – Sun., Aug. 4
Kid Rock, Doobie Brothers, Jared James Nichols – Mon., Aug. 5
Toby Keith, Tesla, Sweet Cyanide – Tues., Aug. 6
Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Machinehead – Wed, Aug. 7
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brantley Gilbert, Madison Rising – Thurs., Aug. 8
Sublime with Rome – Fri., Aug. 9
Fuel, Lit, Alien Ant Farm – Sat., Aug. 10
Easyriders Saloon – Junction and Lazelle
Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Thursday, Aug. 1
Three Days Grace – Fri., Aug. 2
Sevendust – Sat., Aug 3
Saliva – Sun., Aug. 4
Candlebox – Sun., Aug. 4
Deap Valley – Mon., Aug. 5
Puddle of Mudd – Mon., Aug. 5
Shooter Jennings – Tues, Aug. 6
Black Stone Cherry – Thurs, Aug. 8
Saving Abel – Fri., Aug. 9
Great White featuring Jack Russell – Fri., Aug. 8
Full Throttle Saloon –
Black Label Society featuring Zakk Wylde – Sat., Aug. 3
Bret Michaels – Sun., Aug. 4
Gretchen Wilson – Mon., Aug. 5
Scott Weiland – Tues., Aug. 6
Big & Rich – Full Throttle Amphitheater – Wed., Aug. 7
Vince Neil – Wed., Aug. 7
Jackyl – Thurs., Aug. 8
Glencoe Camp Resort –
Brian Howe of Bad Co. – Fri., Aug. 2
Candlebox – Sat., Aug. 3
Warrant, Quiet Riot – Sun., Aug. 4
LA Guns, Saliva, Skid Row – Mon., Aug. 5
Lita Ford, Molly Hatchet – Tues., Aug 6
Jerrod Niemann, Lee Rocker – Wed., Aug. 7
Great White, Bullet Boys – Thurs., Aug. 8
Demo Rides –
Can-Am Spyder – Sturgis – I-90 at Exit 30
Victory Motorcycles – Sturgis – I-90 at Exit 30
Indian Motorcycle – Demo the all-new 2014 Indian Chief – Sturgis – Indian Motorcycle Hospitality Venue I-90 at Exit 30.
Yamaha – Sturgis – I-90 at Exit 30
2013 Harley models at Black Hills Harley-Davidson, I-90 Exit 55, Rapid City, SD
Lehman Trikes – Factory Tours and Demo Rides – I-90 at Exit 14