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#970212 by mdpocian
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:14 pm
Attendance: WAY DOWN, lotta t shirts and trinkets going home with the vendors. Lots of parking spaces.

Indian motorcycle: Very popular, many in attendance.

Hooray to the city of Sturgis for the new, wider sidewalks. Too bad rally goers were not filling them.

Roads clear and plenty of room.

Deadwood casinos slow. Had an older lady at Tin Lizzie cash cage tell me, when I posed the question, "What is the percentage payout of your slot machines"? Respond sarcastically. "THATS NEED TO KNOW ONLY". No shit, lost my cash elsewhere. Keep that place in mind your next visit. Others were more open to at least attempting to offer a response, or did not know at all.

Low visible law enforcement, in Sturgis and highway patrol.

Whether was perfect for the rally. Cool, overcast most days. Little, long lasting rain.
#970213 by EM2
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:18 pm
:thumbsup: Glad you had a safe time!
#970230 by VDeuce
Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:58 am
Yep, way, way down. My estimate: 270K.

My wife and I have gone every year since 2001. This was by far the smallest we have experienced with *one exception I will get to in a minute...

Even the sidewalk reconfig and removed parking spaces and widened turn around areas couldn't make downtown seem as busy as in the past. Cross streets used to have barricades and bikes parked everywhere. No problem getting a spot in front of popular spots like One Eyed Jacks at any night during the rally. By 9PM - 10PM things were really getting sparse in downtown.

Traffic was light. Far fewer vendors especially in outer areas where they had been for years such as at the Spearfish Canyon exit gas station - gone this year. No need to jog around Sturgis backstreets to avoid traffic.

Full Throttle? Stick a fork in it. Not the happening venue it was. Rumor has it Ballard bought locations in Deadwood. The original property has now been sold.

For reference, I don't believe the city's posted attendance numbers as I feel they are cooked to make it seem as if more is happening. I believe 2003 was the largest (traffic backed out on I-90 for 2 miles) with the 75th slightly lower.

* As to the exception to the lower numbers, Tuesday in Alzada MT at the Stoneville Saloon was way busier than I have ever seen and the traffic on 212 headed out there was crazy busy. Must have been thousands of bikes, probably 5K or more people - seas of bikes parked everywhere. The bartenders couldn't keep up and they were topless. More going on there than in Hulett for sure and I was there both Tuesday and Wednesday.
#970252 by randee
Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:03 am
Interesting to read these - Thanks guys!! I hope more folks post something as well.

From my point of view, the rally was much busier at the beginning, and much quieter at the end - than last year.
Over all I thought is was up maybe 10%+ over last year. Last year was the slowest year I've seen since the 90's in my WAG ('wild-assed-guessing') opinion. Photo sales are up 200% over last year (still only 1/2 of the 75th) - but they could die off as quickly as the actual rally did - hope not, but we'll see. We had some really iconic background for riders photos this year... Bear Butte, Devils Tower, Needles Highway, Badlands and Spearfish Canyon.
http://www.sturgis.com/bhriders/
#970266 by Hoop
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:24 pm
I arrived on Thur & left the following Thur. Very hard to get a take on attendance this year for me. The HD dealership in Rapid City had more people than I've ever seen there (yes that includes the 2nd biggest Rally-the 75th). Main Street always had parking for solo bikes & often 2 - 3 slots available. Seems Main St east of Junction is pretty much a glorified parking lot. Food vendors seem to be getting scarce on Main St. The rides I went on generally had fewer bikes, but Needles Highway was very busy while Iron Mountain Road had the lowest # of bikes I've seen in years. The Badlands seemed to be about like last year, but 3 bikes fueled up in Wall with no wait on pumps. Hulett wasn't the least bit busy (tues).
I stayed at Creekside Campground, which seemed to be down slightly from last year.
Overall, I'd guess it was fairly close to last years 300K - 350K attendance. Seemed to me like the busy days were Saturday/Sunday/Monday. Lots of people departing Tues/Wed.

Other Obsevations. Guys seem to be outnumbering girls at the Rally by about a 3 to 1 margin. I saw very few under 40 people at the Rally on bikes. And most of the 20 somethings were working. Definitely a Baby Boomer crowd.
Demo rides at HD had few takers. Gone are the lines of eager buyers. Indian Motorcycles definitely on the rise. With Polaris choosing to not disclose sales numbers in units, one can only guess if they are or ever will be serious competition to HD.
Weather pretty good. High temps in the 70's & 80's. Somewhat cold at night.
Cops busy east on Hwy 34/79. Seemed to be heavy presence of State Troopers.
Went to Full Throttle in the afternoon. Wasted 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Other than there concerts, not sure why anyone would go there. A name change from Full Throttle to Fully Boring in order.
My favorite shop in downtown Sturgis (B-1 Bobs) is permanently closed (they sold discounted previous years Rally T's/etc). Now a year around leather shop.
#970267 by Mad Dog
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:33 pm
I agree with you completely on the Full Throttle.....what a waste of time and money to go there. Prices for drinks are ridiculous and the place just isn't that cool. Won't be visiting there in future years!
#970289 by ChuckieBrown
Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:14 am
Had great fun...parked on main anytime....hardly sat in traffic anywhere.

did rushmore cave...hiked up to devils bathtub in spearfish.

never waited much for food....tips at the loud American were fantastic....saw Hair Ball at the iron horse....fun show.

Drinks at the Iron horse were cheap...but it pays to know people.

went to the FTS....got stuck there in a rain storm.....14 dollar hamburger....same old story....wont be back.

Left in a rain storm....liked getting wet better than staying at the Throttle...and 7 miles north is a ways out too.

Eagles landing wasn't crowded....

It was like a rally in a library to me....real quiet....which was fine by us.

my guess on numbers....350k tops....coupla venders I talked to said it was the worst year ever for them sales wise.
#970295 by randee
Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:13 pm
http://www.blackhillsfox.com/content/news/Sturgis-rally-traffic-mirrors-2016-440555493.html
STURGIS, S.D. (KEVN TV) - Veteran rallygoers could have told you it wasn’t that big of an event this year and now we have the traffic numbers to back that up.

According to data from the South Dakota Department of Transportation, this year’s rally traffic was up just 1.1 percent over 2016, which was the lowest traffic count in almost three decades.

Looking at the totals for each day of the rally, it appears that bikers arrived earlier and left earlier this year when compared to 2016.

Traffic counts at nine locations entering Sturgis for the 2017 rally are as follows:
Friday, Aug. 4: 48,489 - up 11.3 percent
Saturday, Aug. 5:54,254 – up 9 percent
Sunday, Aug. 6: 54,425 – up 1.8 percent
Monday, Aug. 7: 58,669 – up 3.7 percent
Tuesday, Aug. 8: 55,382 – down 1.4 percent
Wednesday, Aug. 9: 54,428 – up 3.8 percent
Thursday, Aug. 10: 50,479 – up 5.4 percent
Friday, Aug. 11: 41,003 – down 8.9 percent
Saturday, Aug. 12: 34,255 – down 10 percent
Sunday, Aug. 13: 17,812 – down 15.3 percent

The 10-day total for the 77th Sturgis Rally is 469,103. Last year, it was 463,941.
#970298 by hawk_56
Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:01 pm
I arrived at Lamphere's Friday the 4th and stayed until Sunday the 13th. My thoughts; the beginning was definitely busier than last year. Ross Lamphere also commented that he was up a good bit in attendance at his campground. I concurred as I have been staying there since he opened and am used to what it looks like at various stages of occupation. The "busy" times are nothing like the "0's" and "5's", but when compared to the 76th. I also noticed more bikes on the roads during the Friday to Monday time frame. After Monday, I noticed the beginning of the mass exodus, pretty much ending on Wednesday. Not nearly as many coming in on Wednesday, as has usually been the "turnover" day! In spite of the "noticed" comings and goings, I had a great time riding the hills, and our groups of 15 - 30 generally got around pretty darn well. Deadwood also seemed to have good crowds, and parking behind the Oyster Bar was always a crap shoot. Lastly, and Randee I'd like your thoughts on this, I feel the rally board really messed up by changiing the start day to Friday. The hard cores, like me, always came the first Friday. The casual attendees came Sunday or Monday. With moving the date up, the casual folks showed up Thursday or Friday, stayed their normal 3 days and left.

My wife, and our camp had a great time! Not looking forward to the 80th and its crowd!!
Ride on,
Bob
#970324 by randee
Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:10 pm
hawk_56 wrote: ..., and Randee I'd like your thoughts on this, I feel the rally board really messed up by changing the start day to Friday.

I'm not sure yet... So far it seems that more folks showed up early and left early this year as compared to previous years. A 12+ day rally changes things as not as many folks will come for the 'whole rally' as compared to 2 or 3+ days of the rally. And of course they probably want to come from the early part... Maybe this will ultimately change it to a 3 or 4 day rally if so few people come for the 2nd half.
#970325 by EM2
Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:28 pm
randee wrote:
hawk_56 wrote: ..., and Randee I'd like your thoughts on this, I feel the rally board really messed up by changing the start day to Friday.

I'm not sure yet... So far it seems that more folks showed up early and left early this year as compared to previous years. A 12+ day rally changes things as not as many folks will come for the 'whole rally' as compared to 2 or 3+ days of the rally. And of course they probably want to come from the early part... Maybe this will ultimately change it to a 3 or 4 day rally if so few people come for the 2nd half.


For quite a few years now, I've heard many folks say that they were going "early" so they don't have to fight the crowds. I think at some point, when it did get very crowded, it just became a pain in the ass for people when there was no parking, it took an hour and half of traffic just to get through Sturgis to get to their camp grounds and so forth.

With that in mind, many folks knew that vendors and bars were going to open or set up earlier than than the official rally dates and decided to enjoy the "experience" without the hassle. Came early and left early. But also keep in mind the whole "biker" experience has declined in the past 15 years. Not near like it was in the late 90's and early 2000's. When the economy blew in '07, the "toys" were the first thing to go. I know a few "life long" bikers that sold their bikes due to financial or age situations.

As to quote Bob Dylan: " The times, they are a-changin'"
#970326 by randee
Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:24 pm
EM2 wrote:
randee wrote:
hawk_56 wrote: ..., and Randee I'd like your thoughts on this, I feel the rally board really messed up by changing the start day to Friday.

I'm not sure yet... So far it seems that more folks showed up early and left early this year as compared to previous years. A 12+ day rally changes things as not as many folks will come for the 'whole rally' as compared to 2 or 3+ days of the rally. And of course they probably want to come from the early part... Maybe this will ultimately change it to a 3 or 4 day rally if so few people come for the 2nd half.

For quite a few years now, I've heard many folks say that they were going "early" so they don't have to fight the crowds. I think at some point, when it did get very crowded, it just became a pain in the ass for people when there was no parking, it took an hour and half of traffic just to get through Sturgis to get to their camp grounds and so forth.
With that in mind, many folks knew that vendors and bars were going to open or set up earlier than than the official rally dates and decided to enjoy the "experience" without the hassle. Came early and left early. But also keep in mind the whole "biker" experience has declined in the past 15 years. Not near like it was in the late 90's and early 2000's. When the economy blew in '07, the "toys" were the first thing to go. I know a few "life long" bikers that sold their bikes due to financial or age situations.
As to quote Bob Dylan: " The times, they are a-changin'"

I agree! Those who say 'the rally is dying' are wrong... no one kills a legendary party!
It just changes to fit the current partiers. Someone will be around to sell beer and show titties. :lol: :m08: :beer:
#970331 by Teqsun
Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:14 pm
We arrived last Wednesday (due to work), stayed in Custer... rode up to Lake Sylvan and then into Hill City... good turnout on Main St for later in the day.
Thursday... rode Iron Mt to Keystone over to Black Hills HD and then to Sturgis Main St... easy parking for 2 bikes. Then out to Full Throttle, never again... they must be moving onto another property after their 5 year lease of the Pappy Hoel campground ends... as still under construction 2 years later, poor service, etc. Agree that the original had a lot of ambience, compared to this new building that at least won't burn down... not much wood.
Friday was Sundance HD, then onto Devils Tower, Hulett and got caught in the thunderstorm while on Spearfish Canyon Rd. Stopped at Lewie's for a beverage and to dry out... not sure their alchohol pour totaled a half an ounce... never stopping there again. I heard they have great burgers, but order beer... you at least know what you are getting.
Saturday, rode Needles, back to Custer and up to Hill City... took railroad road back to Keystone and Mt Rushmore. Then headed back to Mt Iron and Custer State Park wildlife loop... heard the buffalo were up the gravel road from the visitor center, about 1.5 miles to see a 40-50 head herd. Thank you to the park service ranger for the info...
Sunday, rode Spearfish Canyon again... in the sunshine, over to Sturgis main street for a Sweeto Burrito and some discount souvenir shopping. Traffic was mostly automobiles (80%). Interestingly though... the DOT traffic counter on Vanocker was set up for both directions. Have to wonder if they count all traffic at their counters, or actually divide the total in half. And then what about the autos??
Had another wonderful rally riding in the hills... 800+ miles in 4.25 days. We had 2 newbies with us... and they enjoyed it also.

Ride safe everyone...
#970343 by mdpocian
Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:03 am
P.S. To all the Big Rig Class A motorhome drivers trying to navigate Iron Mountain Rd and Needles Highway. YOU are truly, undoubtedly very stupid people. Tying up traffic cuz you cannot make a curve or better yet, try to fit in a tunnel.
#970353 by randee
Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:19 am
mdpocian wrote:P.S. To all the Big Rig Class A motorhome drivers trying to navigate Iron Mountain Rd and Needles Highway. YOU are truly, undoubtedly very stupid people. Tying up traffic cuz you cannot make a curve or better yet, try to fit in a tunnel.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :biggun:
#970385 by mouldy
Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:05 pm
I enjoy reading riders perspectives on the rally.Good info folks
#970405 by SturgisSoundguy
Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:45 pm
Hey All,

This years Rally was smaller than last year in my opinion. It was EASY to park 4 or more bikes together on Main Street or the side streets on any block downtown anytime during the Rally. By 9pm most nights Main Street was pretty empty. There was 1 night we were downtown that the sidewalks had mild congestion of foot traffic. Every time we went to any place downtown we easily got a table without a wait. It was a little busier on the Loud American/One Eyed end of Main Street than the eastern end of Main.

We saw WAY less bikes down toward Hill City, Rapid, Deadwood, etc.

Campgrounds between Sturgis and Rapid had okay crowds a few days at No Name City, Suzie's, Katmandu but still looked to have room for more. Hog Heaven had LOTS of grass showing the entire rally we saw from the top of the Jackpine Gypsies Hill Climb and from the I-90 riding by. Kickstands (former Elk Vale campground) looked like a ghost town every time when going past on the I-90. Socoro Station (sp?) had plenty of open space visible from the I-90 as did the other campgrounds closer to Rapid. Heading out toward Spearfish the only place we ever saw with a good number of bikes was Perkin's in Spearfish. Must be the pie :D

Traffic wasn't bad at all the couple of times we went out east of Sturgis. Black Hills Harley's bike parking lot wasn't even half full the 4 times we went there, twice to look around, twice for a broken bike.

There was one day that seemed busy on the highway, Wednesday. And for some reason Thursday night was the only night we heard any bike traffic on the I-90 (Blink-182 night at the Chip).

It was busiest the 1st weekend and that wasn't bad at all.

We left Vegas on the 29th and took 4 days going the scenic way home. 1st night camped in Logan Canyon along the river. If you haven't gone that way it is a really nice ride. 2nd night camped at Lizard Creek next to Jackson Lake in the Tetons. Did the lower loop to see Old Faithful in Yellowstone and then stayed in Cody. Went over the Bighorns and hit the I-90 to Sturgis. Saw very few bikes packed for travel heading toward Sturgis. Ran into a guy from Vegas I know in Cody, out riding for the week, but were not going to Sturgis. Got home on the 1st. My brother Joe rode in on the 2nd, he said there was very little bike traffic his 2 day ride coming from northern Nevada going the short/fast route. He stayed with us the entire Rally and other than his tranny going out he had a great time. Because of his tranny we went a lot of places on 4 wheels and had no problems parking close to where we wanted to be.

In Deadwood the t-shirt vendors were doing 3 for $30 by WEDNESDAY the 9th.

Once again it was a very good Rally, less crowded is way better!
#970409 by VDeuce
Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:49 pm
Great writeup, sound guy.

I will say this is the smallest I've seen. I'm sure the city will cook the numbers to make it seem like 400k+ but there's no way.

I like it, but seeing the numbers down for years is kind of sad.

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