Despite warnings from health officials and experts, one of the biggest motorcycle events in the world – the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – has commenced in Sturgis, South Dakota, USA. The event is expected to gather at least 250,000 participants this year.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a 10-day motorcycle festival in the town of Sturgis, South Dakota. The event is attended by thousands of motorcycle riders from all over the world, most of whom ride cruiser motorcycles. The first rally was held on August 14, 1938, by the "Jackpine Gypsies" motorcycle club, who still own and operate the tracks, hillclimb, 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 a small audience.
The founder is generally considered to be Clarence "Pappy" Hoel. He purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis in 1936 and formed the "Jackpine Gypsies" that same year. The Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club was inducted to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1997.
The focus of the motorcycle rally was originally racing and stunts. In 1961, the rally was expanded to include the Hillclimb and Motocross races. Since then, it has grown to become a community event and gathering with many stunts and races dotting its program.
The Sturgis Rally has been held every year, with exceptions during World War II.
The town mayor of Sturgis, Mark Carstensen, has told reporters on Thursday that since they cannot stop the people from coming, all they can do is to encourage everyone to practice “personal responsibility” and set up sanitation stations and give out masks, though they are not required.