Friday, August 13, 2010

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally observations

As the 2010 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally comes to a close this weekend, I've realized that even with upwards of 500,000 motorcyclists gathered in western South Dakota, this thing is as much a music festival as it is a bike rally.

If you are unaware of what has become arguably the largest gathering of motorcycle riders in the country here are the basics.

- Sturgis is a town of around 6,000 people on the edge of the famous Black Hills of South Dakota.

- For 70 years in early August Sturgis has hosted a motorcycle rally with attendance peaking as high as 600,000.

- That makes Sturgis the largest city in either of the Dakotas for one week and the Rally by far the largest tourism event in a very wide area of the United States. My theory is that the "impact tremor" from the Sturgis Rally is felt farther from it's "epicenter" than any other event in the country.

Along with that spectacle of chrome and leather everywhere, venues like the Legendary Buffalo Chip and this year's newcomer the "Rock'n Rev Festival" at Monkey Rock have brought so many bands to town for the event that I really doubt you can find a larger week-long concert experience anywhere. Want proof? This week you had your choice of seeing these acts -

Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Motley Crue, Bob Dylan, Kid Rock, Brett Michaels, Billy Ray Cyrus, Godsmack, Skillet, Creed, Orianthi, ZZ Top, 3 Doors Down, Great White, Jackyl, Stone Temple Pilots, Daughtry, Hinder, Jason Aldean, Alice in Chains, Guns 'n' Roses, Disturbed, the Doobie Brothers, Jetstream, Theft, the Marshall Tucker Band, Confederate Railroad, Warrant, Kentucky Headhunters, Ice T, and many, many more.

My pattern for several years now has been to attend one day of the Rally, including a set of concerts at one venue. This year I checked out the "Rock'n Rev Festival" and shot pictures of Jetstream, Theft, Skillet and Creed. You can view the full results at

Here is Korey Cooper of Skillet rockin' out.

By the way, there is some inherent weirdness when you get this many people together and especially when they are all doing their best to be "bad" bikers for a week. It's very strange to be standing watching a Christian hard rock band play while a woman wearing only skimpy bikini bottoms and body paint poses for pictures with eager guys about 10 feet away. Sorry, but no I didn't take any photos, that's just not my thing.

For pictures and thoughts about previous Rallies, click here.

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