When the ten day Sturgis South Dakota motor cycle rally ended earlier this month over 460,000 partiers headed home.

It was the biggest gathering in the nation since COVID-19 started, attendees made their way to and from the party through 61% of all of the counties in the country.

Rally Stats

Average attendee is 54 years old and white. Only a little more than half rode a motorcycle to the event. Many trailered their bikes until they arrived. Half of them camped, some stayed in motels and others rented homes. Most stayed for about 5 days of the 10 day event. 57% had attended the rally 5 times before.

  • $17,000 was raised by ‘Give a Shift’ for local senior meals
  • $18,753 was seized from drug arrests
  • 145 DUI (driving under the influence) arrests
  • 367 drug arrests 241 were misdemeanors (pot is not legal in SD)
  • 50 non injury accidents
  • 56 injury accidents – 5 fatalities
  • 8 sex trafficking arrests involving a minor

And Then There’s the Corona

Not the beer, the disease.

Much like the state that hosted the party, attendee’s chose not to socially distance or wear masks. The Governor, Kristi Noem, encourages personal responsibility choosing to keep the state open for business and adopting a face mask optional policy.

In the 3 weeks since the rally ended ten states have reported COVID-19 Cases traced back to attending the event. Several of these states have asked anyone who attended to get tested. Experts from the University of Minnesota have said infections could take as long as four weeks to show up. South Dakota does not track COVID-19 stats for people outside of the state. The following list of states reporting infections traced to the rally was compiled using Google search:

  • 20 Colorado
  • 1 Michigan
  • 56 and 1 death Minnesota
  • 6 Montana
  • 7 Nebraska
  • 6 New Hampshire
  • 1 New Jersey
  • 30 North Dakota
  • 105 South Dakota
  • 3 Washington
  • 2 Wisconsin
  • 12 Wyoming

If you attended the rally the following businesses have been identified as places of exposure:

  • One Eyed Jacks Saloon, Sturgis
  • Knuckle Saloon, Sturgis
  • Broken Spoke Saloon, Sturgis
  • Asylum Tatoo, Sturgis
  • Bumpin Buffalo Bar & Grill, Hill City
  • Smash Mouth Concert, Sturgis

In the three weeks since the rally South Dakota COVID-19 infections have increased 45% from 10,274 on August 16 to 14,889 on September 4. The good news is the number of deaths is rising at a slower rate from 153 at the end of the rally to 173 on Sept 4.

South Dakota remains open for business and continues to invite people from across the country. This weekend you could join thousands of others at the Mustang Rally at Sturgis or the State Fair at Huron. And don’t forget the upcoming Sanford International Golf Tournament in Sioux Falls!!

As one of the largest public gatherings since the emergence of COVID-19, the Sturgis motorcycle rally has attracted significant attention around the world. We wanted to see what the migration to Sturgis really looked like when you examine the data, and see if we could offer valuable insights to improve public health, economic considerations, and social policy.

Copyright: Tectonix GEO

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