Sturgis Rally History
The Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club started in 1936, with an official American Motorcycle Association (AMA) charter in 1937. AMA began promoting the racing events; which started the now famous Rally in Sturgis on August 14, 1938. That weekend celebration in 1938 had a lineup of only nine racers and a small audience watching the races.
The average age for a motorcycle club is three years, and after 78 years, this club is still running strong. The club owns all the property on which most of our club activities take place. There is approximately 40 acres adjacent to Interstate 90 between Exit 30 and Exit 32, the busiest section of Interstate 90 during the Sturgis Rally. A lighted short track, motocross track, field meet area, hillclimb area, clubhouse, office and state approved concession business are located on these grounds.
The Jackpine Gypsies are a non-profit organization. They donate to area charities, including: the local food bank, Sturgis High School, Zonta Club of Sturgis, and Christian Motorcycle Association. Go to their site if you are interested in becoming a member. www.JackpineGypsies.com
The Jackpine Gypsies have over 150 members living all over the United States and abroad. The average age of club members is 40. The average age of spectators is 42, while the average age of the riders is 23.
The short track at the Jackpine Gypsies club grounds was first used in 1963. Since that debut race, many improvements have been made. The racetrack is now wider, it has permanent seating, the lighting system has been improved, there is an announcer, a sign up building and a clubhouse, where the concession business is located. The club holds races every other weekend and a full week of races during the rally. A motocross track was added on in the 1980's and then in 1996 a new track was built. The sport of motocross is beginning to grow again, in fact, in 1998; the Gypsies held five motocross races, which attracted over 500 racers.
During the Sturgis Rally, they hold 12 events, including: motocross racing, a 1/2 mile race, hill climbs, road tours and short track racing. There were over 6000 spectators and hundreds of racers during the week of the Rally. As you can see, the Sturgis Rally has grown quite a bit since the first rally in 1937!