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Sturgis South Dakota
Sturgis South Dakota the most incredible motorcycle rally on the planet. Here's some serious camping advice. Sturgis motorcycle rally is the biggest most incredible motorcycle convention in the world. I have written a few pages and provided 20+ photographs for those interested in this portion of the trip here at Sturgis motorcycle rally pictures.
Every year around the second week of August, Sturgis goes from a population of 6,442 to over half a million people. Yes you read that correctly - 500,000+ people from all over. Thirty or so giant campgrounds hosting thousands of campers each spring up all around the town in the rolling foothills complete with hundreds of temporary showers, food booths, outhouses, and water stations. For the craziest of them all, there is coleslaw wrestling, ultimate fighting championships, tire burning, bikini contests, rock and roll concerts like Rob Zombie, carnival tents with nail driving contests and smash the put and hit the bell, mechanical bull riding, pudding fights, buffalo chasing, arm wrestling, and the nightly parade of bikers riding by showing whatever it is they have, from riding lawnmowers, motorized barstools, three wheelers and four-wheelers, couches with 3-4 people sitting on them pulled by huge suv's, hot tubs in beds of trucks, dogs wearing sunglasses and helmets riding on the gas tanks of motorcycles, 6-seater limo motorcycles, go-carts, mini-bikes, scooters and homemade motorcycles with tubs on the back and pipes everywhere, and circus freaks most people haven't even seen in the movies.
Of course some insist on showing a little more skin than they do back home so you have grandma in her g-string strapped on a Harley cruising by at one mile an hour. She has to come to a stop in front of you due to the traffic and flashes her smile showing all 3 teeth. Then she peels out and leaves you in a cloud of butt fumes.
The best part is that nearly everything is FREE once you establish your campsite! Whatever you do, when going to Sturgis for the first time you MUST stay at Glencoe campground.
The Glencoe experience will totally immerse you in the biker world like you have never experienced it before. Three miles east of Sturgis in the foothills adjacent to wild Buffalo range, in a place outside the laws that govern those in town, a new city is born of RV's, tents, campers, and buses filled with thousands and thousands of wild motorcycle packing rambunctious bikers eager to show everyone everything they are, and everything they are not.
Unless you pay $800 to $1,000 for a full hook-up RV site with electricity and water, you will be in the "free-for all" zone. This area comprises over 60% of the camp and cost $125.00 per person in 2005. You get an armband that must be worn for the entire time you want entry. Lose it and you pay another $125.00. Armband is good for one week before official start, during the actual bike rally week, and one day after it ends. There are eight sections of the Glencoe campground that all run together, each housing thousands of campers, parking any way they want, facing any direction, with any number of vehicles, tents, tarps, trailers, motorcycles, chairs, tables, lean-tos and sleeping bags. The free-for-all zone has water faucets every hundred feet or so, temporary toilets setup, a centralized bank of showers, small food bank/restaurant, laundry room and plenty of shade trees.
If you ever stay at Glencoe you will never stay anywhere else anytime you travel to a Sturgis Bike Rally. It's that fantastic. Take all the parades you have ever seen, all the parties you have ever attended, all the bike shows you have ever seen, all the circus nuts and freaks you've ever met, all backyard geniuses and engineers, all the flashers and costume folks, and put them all together and it would NOT top one night on the Glencoe parade street.
It is important to realize that the wildest, funnest days start the Wednesday/Thursday BEFORE the official Bike Week event and the fun begins to die down the Thursday/Friday of the actual event week. GO EARLY to Glencoe and pick out a good camping spot with shade trees in the middle or back off the main road or you will never get any sleep. Arrive late and you will be sorry. We walked up to the front roadside campsites each evening for front row seats on our lawn chairs of the Glencoe parade - the crazy free-for-all described above. You will NOT be bored. Bad points are LOUD bikes, dust and huge doses of lung clogging exhaust.
You'll need to pick up the local bike week rally magazines that are published each year especially for Sturgis for show schedules, bar happenings, contests, bike viewings, etc. Most days we rode our bicycles in the hills, mountains, forests and horse farms in places like Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and Bear Butte State Park. Then at night you have plenty of time for sight seeing and people watching. Our strategy was to make sure we were so tired when we finally bedded down that we can sleep through anything. You'll do well to follow our lead here as the screaming, loud pipe blowing, tire burning, people yelling, doesn't slow up until about 3:30 a.m. each night.
Many people brought small portable swimming pools, filled them up and sat in them during the hot days. Make sure to bring plenty of food and beverages as the prices at all the stores double during this month due to sheer supply and demand. Visit rally pictures or Click for motorcycle pictures from Sturgis