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article imageSturgis Rally is now about the motorcycles and the music Special

By Jay McClung     Aug 1, 2013 in Lifestyle
Sturgis - Imagine living in a small, quiet town where almost every person of the 6,600 people is friendly and polite. That’s a nice image to have in your mind, isn’t it?
Now imagine your quaint little town getting overrun by more than 300,000 people and motorcycles for one week. An image of extreme noise and chaos can easily be imagined but after that one crazed week, your little town will return to normal. This is what Sturgis, South Dakota experiences every year when it hosts the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
For most motorcycle riders, Sturgis is the Mecca of motorcycle rallies. People will come from all around the country to get a taste of the Sturgis experience. This year’s rally events will start tomorrow and that means thousands upon thousands of people will congregate to the small western South Dakota town. The Sturgis Rally, originally known as the Black Hills Classic, began in August of 1938 as a motorcycle race with nine participants. By 1964, the event had grown to a three-day event, a five-day event in 1965, and then onto a seven-day event in 1975.
The Sturgis experience, however, has changed over the years with the emphasis shifting away from just being on the bikes and the scenic rides. While the rally has always been a week long party, today’s rally has a big entertainment feel to it with big name musicians and bands being brought in to perform for the thousands of people in attendance. According to officials, last year’s attendance was 416,072. That’s a lot of people partying and listening to music in a town that typically serves 6,600. Always looking to put on a good show, the musical acts performing at this year’s rally include: Queensryche, Buckcherry, Pop Evil, The Cult, Black Label Society, Candlebox, Halestorm, ZZ Top, The Black Crowes, Bret Michaels, Quiet Riot, Warrant, Doobie Brothers, Kid Rock, Queens of the Stone Age, Gretchen Wilson, LA Guns, Saliva, Skid Row, Toby Keith, Shooter Jennings, KORN, Saving Abel, Vince Neil, Lita Ford, Molly Hatchet, Machine Head, Mastodon, Rob Zombie, Gary Allen, Big & Rich, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jackyl, BulletBoys, Great White, Sublime, Fuel, Lit, Alien Ant Farm, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, SevenDust, and Three Days Grace.
With that kind of a musical line-up, Sturgis certainly has a modern Woodstock feel to it so the Digital Journal interviewed a Sturgis veteran to get his insight on the big music trend at the rally.
Tommy Doggette is a certified Harley Davidson mechanic and has been a motorcycle enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He’s seen the Sturgis changes first hand. “Sturgis is really a promotional thing now,” the Lander, Wyoming resident says. “It’s all about the tourist dollar now and there’s big money to be made during that week. It’s not just exclusively about the motorcycles, the motorcycle rides, and the parties any more. There are more and more people coming to the rally who don’t ride motorcycles or even own a motorcycle. It’s about the entertainment value for them and the musicians and the bands play a big part of that.” When asked what advice he would give to someone going to Sturgis for the first time, Tommy laughed and replied, “Get there early and take a lot of cash. But seriously, don’t be in a big hurry and don’t just stay in Sturgis. Explore the Black Hills and the surrounding area. It’s a nice part of the country and there’s a lot to take in.”
This year’s Sturgis rally begins tomorrow and commences on Sunday, August 11.
More about Sturgis, Music, Motorcycle rally, Harley davidson, Vacation
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