What Is the History of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?


Quick Answer

The Sturgis motorcycle rally's roots began with the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club in 1936. The club received a charter from the American Motorcycle Association in 1937, and in 1938, the AMA started promoting the club's racing events that officially began the Sturgis motorcycle rally on Aug. 14, 1938, says Sturgis.com.

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Full Answer

The Jackpine Gypsies still hold races every other weekend and 12 different events during the week of the Sturgis motorcycle rally. A stretch of 40 acres on Interstate 90 that is owned by the Jackpine Gypsies is the busiest stretch of I-90 during the motorcycle rally.

In 1942, the rally was not held due to gas rationing put into place due to the war. Otherwise, the rally grew to a five-day event in 1965 and a seven-day event in 1975. In 1974, the rally's first vendor participated in the event, with the number growing to nine in 1979. By 1988, the vendor list grew to 117 vendors.

Since the beginning of the rally, other events have been added to the Sturgis line-up throughout the years, including public concerts, large breakfasts, poker runs, bike shows and competitions. The city has a drag race, a pub crawl and an annual mayor ride.

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