The 73rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is quickly approaching and, for those riders that are attending for their first, or fifteenth time, there are some fantastic ways to make the most of this adventure in the gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota on a budget starting with the legendary Buffalo Chip Campground. Located six miles east of downtown Sturgis, they offer one of the best deals around with an extended rally camping pass. The cheapest time to purchase a pass is in August or September for the next year and for a few hundred dollars, a rider will have their base camp in the midst of one of the hottest spots for the rally where legendary bands will also perform to the crowds.
Getting to Sturgis
Whether a motorcyclist opts to ride or trailer to Sturgis, it’s best to get into the groove by camping en route and from all four corners there are great campsites to be found. Camping offers riders an opportunity to sleep beneath the stars and enjoy the scenery without breaking the bank.
An easy way to find campsites is to use Mapquest.com and simply enter the address from which the road trip will begin with an ending destination of “Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground”. Once MapQuest provides a suggested route, click on the “Lodging” icon at the top of the map and then click on “Campgrounds” and camping options will appear along the route.
For those that are flying and then renting a bike, it’s advantageous to fly into one of the surrounding states and then ride the rest of the way into Sturgis to help get into the mood. For riders that prefer to ride with others, be sure to check out many of the Harley-Davidson online forums to see if there are other riders heading the same way.
Sightseeing and Music in Sturgis
Many riders have the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on their bucket list and the 2013 lineup of concerts and events are truly stellar with tunes sure to appeal to everyone with performers such as Queensryche, The Cult, ZZ Top, Kid Rock, Doobie Brothers, Toby Keith, Rob Zombie, Bret Michaels, Gretchen Wilson, Vince Neil, Jackyl, and so many more.
When riders aren’t enjoying the great music, there is some amazing riding to be experienced in the Black Hills with historic points of interests:
- Bear Butte State Park which is sacred land to many Native American tribes and is located just seven miles north of Sturgis.
- The iconic Mount Rushmore is about an hour south of Sturgis and located within the Black Hills National Forest.
- Crazy Horse Memorial is about 20 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore and the routes to travel between the two landmarks offer some of the best riding in the country.
- Custer State Park is just a few miles east of Crazy Horse and offers fantastic scenery
Camping in Sturgis
Should the Buffalo Chip Campground be a bit too high octane for a rider there are several other fantastic campgrounds to be found in the Sturgis area including Broken Spoke and Glencoe. There are also several “mom and pop” campsites that make it easy to for a rider to remain within budget or simply find a place if they procrastinated on making reservations in advance. For example, Camp Vanocker is less than two miles from Sturgis and offers a daily camping rate of $15 per person which includes hot showers and free coffee.
Be prepared for an emergency in Sturgis
As much freedom as riders embrace, it is also important to be prepared in advance and that includes having legal assistance should the need arise. Motorcycle lawyer Russ Brown is being inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame during this rally and his team focuses on helping riders during the times when help is most needed. A wise person once said, “Anytime you find yourself in a spot to need to shop for a lawyer, you probably aren’t in a position to do so!” That being said, riders should visit Russ’s website and have his contact number plugged into cell phone.
Souvenirs for Cheap
Any good rider can’t visit Sturgis without picking up a little swag; however, the best prices start happening on the Thursday near the end of the rally and steadily decrease from there. There are also bargains to be found in neighboring towns and online after the rally ends.
Participate in the Freebies at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
There are dozens of things to see and do during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that won’t cost a cent. Most of the concerts at the Buffalo Chip Campground are free for those riders that are camping there. If; however, a rider is camping elsewhere, they simply need to purchase tickets for the concerts that are of interest to them.
Each day holds a slew of activities ranging from organized rides, contests, sightseeing, and demo rides that the major motorcycle manufacturers set up. It’s easy to keep up with all the action by visiting the Events section on the official website for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally at this link.
Food and Beverage at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Sometimes, it’s nice to simply unwind after a long day of riding the Black Hills and whether the beverage of choice is a cold beer or a soft drink, there are a few watering holes that are sure to bring in a lively crowd of fellow riders and offer some great music. Some of the most popular venues include:
- The Stone House Saloon
- Knuckle Saloon
- Loud American Roadhouse
- One-Eyed Jacks Saloon
- Oasis Bar & Lounge
- Roscoz Bar
- Side Hack Saloon
- Gunners Lounge
- Full Throttle Saloon
- Easyriders Saloon
- Old Style Saloon #10 in Deadwood
- CrossRoads at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip
For those needing to stick to a budget, food is often one of the most expensive items at a motorcycle event and Sturgis is no different. Many campers opt to stock up on necessities at one of the big box grocery stores in Rapid City.
Before setting off on a long motorcycle road trip, it’s always ideal to ensure a solution is readily at hand for a roadside emergency. A handful of insurance companies offer assistance programs as does AAA and H.O.G.; however, an additional tool to have in the wallet is the free BAM Card from Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys. Brown developed a program that allows for “riders helping riders” on the road. The idea behind the BAM Card is that it’s like having a friend offering a helping hand and it offers both roadside and legal assistance to riders.
Whether riders are veterans, or new to the scene, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be as memorable as ever and this year’s line-up of concerts, events, and scenic rides are certain to please so keep the shiny side up!