STURGIS, S.D.(KBHB) – This past Friday marked the official start of the 82nd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as opening ceremonies were held at Harley Davidson Rally Point.
That’s Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen, who says Sturgis has been busy all week leading up to today’s open.
This year’s Grand Marshal is former NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace.
Wallace says this isn’t his first rodeo at Sturgis.
Black Hills Harley-Davidson President Al Reiman also welcomed in bikers today.
Rally Point was packed during Friday’s opening ceremony at Main Street Sturgis closed to motorcycle traffic only early this morning, and will remain that way until Sunday, August 14th.
Traffic is heavy in the Sturgis area, and law enforcement has already reported some accidents on Friday. One of those was a car-vs-pedestrian incident on Lazelle Street, where a woman received a hurt ankle and there was also a collision at I-90’s Exit 30 involving a semi-truck.
Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater says patience is a must during rally week.
And, while Sturgis is the home base for the rally, it also spills over into surrounding Black Hills towns.
Rapid City Police Chief Don Hedrick says even Rapid City will see heavy traffic.
That sentiment is shared by Pennington County Sheriff-elect Brian Mueller.
And while many ride their bikes into Sturgis every year, some arrive via airplane and have their rides waiting for them at Rapid City Regional Airport.
Jim Singletary is with Singletary Motorcycle Transport.
Singletary says he has been in the business of shipping motorcycles to Rapid City from the southeast, primarily from states such as Florida, Georgia, and Alabama for nearly two decades.
This year, 60 bikes were in his care with around 80 percent of his clientele being repeat customers.