South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem posed for an Instagram photo with a skull cap at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The governor, a potential U.S. presidential candidate in 2024, attended the rally just days after Friday’s Welcoming Ceremony. NBC News reported last week that rally attendance numbers were around 700,000 as COVID-19 infections rise throughout the nation.
Noem, Super Bowl champion Earl Dotson, History Channel star Michael Henry, Motorbike artist Darren McKeag, Ironman World Champion Carlos Moleda, and Uhl reportedly participated in Monday’s Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Legends Ride.
Noem thanks Harley-Davidson oil painting artist David Uhl in an $80,000 fundraiser for Treasured Lives in the post. Treasured Lives works to help victims of human trafficking. Uhl’s painting of Noem and her horse, Ice, went for $55,000 while a flag Noem carried on stage sold for $25,000.
“For over two decades, I have chronicled what has been called the ‘American freedom machine,’” Uhl told BuffaloChip.com. “As 2020 wore on, for obvious reasons, my livelihood was canceled with one exception: The Sturgis Rally.”
Uhl, the first licensed painter for Harley-Davidson, praised the organizers for not canceling Sturgis this year. In the press release, he presented a piece of fine art “to honor the person responsible for allowing my program to survive such a tumultuous time” as a way of saying thank you.
Noem said she had been working and fighting on the issue for more than ten years in the post.
Noem’s attendance at Sturgis
Earlier last week, Noem Tweeted that the Sturgis Rally was about “exploring this great country through our open roads” by “hopping on a bike.”
She said, despite the immediate dangers of a deadly respiratory virus in a pandemic, that “there’s a risk associated with everything that we do in life” and that “bikers get that better than anyone.”
In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that the annual event took in an estimated $800 million in profits to the area. KOTA.com said that the event took in $1.4 million in taxes from vendors. The report also mentioned that these taxes go into state sales, tourism, municipal sales, and municipal gross receipts.
In addition to revenue, one 2020 Institute of Labor Economics study estimated that last year’s Sturgis event “generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion and was the cause in the infection of about 250,000 Americans nationwide.
On Monday, Stone Temple Pilots, REO Speedwagon, and Thunderosa performed at Sturgis. In addition to the ride, there was a Hardcore Cycles Performance Show and Skinny Tire Bagger Build-Off.
With Kid Rock and Buckcherry already performing at the Sturgis Rally’s start, Clint Black and Matt Stell highlighted Tuesday’s schedule. There were several Women’s Day Events in the lineup as well. ZZ Top takes the stage on Wednesday with Anthrax, the main band for Thursday’s Rally fans.
Shinedown is Friday’s featured performer, while P.O.D. to be the leading performer on Saturday.