Not Even a Global Pandemic Can Stop Sturgis

In a world where virtually every large live event has been canceled, the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally forges ahead. 

The decision to move forward with the event was based on the momentum of participants rather than a planning committee’s decision, as no one actually owns the Sturgis Rally. According to a court ruling in 2019, no single entity, including the City of Sturgis, “owns, produces, or operates the rally … the rally is a pluralistic ­endeavor.” 

More than 50 regional businesses expressed their conviction to host the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally from August 7-16, 2020, with or without the city’s involvement.

“You can’t cancel what you don’t own,” said Randy Peterson on the Sturgis.com website, “You can choose to participate or choose not to participate, but the Sturgis Rally will still go on regardless of what the City of Sturgis chooses.” 

The Sturgis City Council decided in a near-unanimous vote that they will be providing municipal services and issuing vendor permits for the 80th year of one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. 


Sturgis Main Street in 2019 | Photo by City of Sturgis

Sturgis Main Street in 2019 | Photo by City of Sturgis

Several modifications to the event will be in place with a focus on preserving the safety of the local residents. The opening ceremonies, parades, entertainment and live music at Harley-Davidson Rally Point have been canceled.

Attendees will be asked to be respectful of the community concerns by practicing social distancing and taking personal responsibility for their health by following C.D.C. guidelines. Enhanced safety and sanitization protocols will be carried out for rally goers, including public hand sanitizing stations throughout the downtown area.

The City of Sturgis made an official statement following a city council vote to support the event: “The City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an icon of American Freedom and Independence. The City of Sturgis has been the pre-eminent host of this event for decades and welcomes each visitor to the event. We ask that attendees help maintain the safety of our community and guests alike by respecting protocols and guidelines. We look forward to celebrating the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in grand style in 2021.”


Header Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash

Motorcycle Industry News by Eva Rupert. Follow Eva @augusteva.

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