Rally History



1936 – Clarence “Pappy” Hoel purchased an Indian Motorcycle Franchise in Sturgis, SD. The Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club was formed.

1938 – The Rally Begins…The first Sturgis® Rally, known as the Black Hills Classic was held on August 14th with a race of 9 participants and a small audience.

1942 – Due to gas rationings in support of the war efforts the Rally did not take place.

1949 – For the 1st time, Sturgis Main Street is blocked off for a 2 hour awards ceremony.

1961 – The Jackpine Gypsies introduce the Hill Climb and Motocross races.

1964 – One block of Main Street is officially closed for motorcycle parking over the course of the 3 day event.

1965 – The Rally moves to a 5 day event.

1974 – The first temporary vendor set up in the Sturgis Auditorium.

1975 – The Rally evolves to its present 7 day event
1979 – The City of Sturgis begins licensing temporary vendors. 9 vendors licensed.

1983 – City Park is closed to camping due to fire outbreaks.

1986 – Local man, Tom Monahan, donates the artwork of the Official Rally Logo to the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce.

1988 – 117 vendors licensed in the City of Sturgis.

1989 – Sturgis Rally Founder, Pappy Hoel passes away at the age of 85.

2000 – The Sturgis Rally saw the largest attendance exceeding as high as 600,000 people.

2002 – The City of Sturgis formed a city department within the city government to take the place of all prior contract labor hired to promote and organize the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

2006 – The 66th Anniversary of the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally was celebrated!

2008 – 68th Annual Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally!

2010 – 70th Annual Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally with 466,769 in attendance!

Be sure to visit the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally website here.