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Sturgis: The Mecca of Motorcycle Rallies

Each year since 1938, thousands of riders from all over the world have made the pilgrimage to Sturgis, South Dakota. With only one exception—1942, when gas rationing caused by World War II forced the Rally to be canceled—riders spend the first week of August enjoying the scenic views and destinations South Dakota has to offer: Mount Rushmorethe Badlands, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Spearfish Canyon.

Sturgis was born when Clarence "Pappy" Hoel purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in 1936 and formed the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club. After receiving an American Motorcycle Association charter in 1937, the club began promoting dirt track races on their property just outside Sturgis. In 1938, the club promoted a "Gypsy Tour" through the Black Hills National Forest, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally had begun.

Today, over 700,000 riders attend the Sturgis Rally annually, making it the biggest weeklong motorcycle event in the country. As they travel through South Dakota's canyons and prairies, riders are challenged with winding roads and steep elevation changes. Riders can get a feel for Sturgis' ride through interactive riding maps, rally information and more at

Find out more information on Sturgis and its attractions at

Photo courtesy of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

 Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

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