Nearly everyone thought that this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally would be one for the record books. After all, people across the United States are excited to gather with other people again. At the same time, many travel restrictions have been weakened. So, motorcyclists from around the world could come to Sturgis and enjoy ten days of celebrating their bikes and the culture that comes with them. In fact, the city of Sturgis as well as restaurant owners and other services started preparing for the monumental crowd months before the actual rally began.
Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world did flock to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally. However, the crowd wasn’t nearly as big as many people expected. In fact, it was a far cry from the over 740,000 that attended the rally back in 2015. Unsurprisingly though, the attendance was up from 2020’s rally. Last year, the pandemic kept many people away from the massive gathering. As a result, only about 460,000 riders showed up for the 80th annual rally in the small Black Hills town.
KOTA, a Rapid City, SD-based ABC affiliate reported on this year’s Sturgis attendance. They compiled the tally from the South Dakota Department of Transportation. So, these numbers reflect vehicles entering Sturgis during the motorcycle rally. As a result, the total number of attendees could be much higher.
The total tally for this year was 525,768 vehicles. That’s over 63,000 more people this year than in 2020. That number represents a 13.8 percent increase in attendance.
A Brief Look at the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Attendance
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally kicked off on Friday, August 6. That day, 55,326 vehicles rolled into the small town. By the first day of the rally, the population was already almost ten times higher than it was just a day before.
The first Saturday of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally saw the largest number of vehicles entering the town. A whopping 67,482 vehicles came in that day. It was just over 23 percent higher than 2020’s number for that day.
The next three days saw over 60,000 vehicles entering Sturgis. By the time the sun came up Wednesday, August 11, over 313,000 riders had made it to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally. At that point, the rally had reached its halfway point.
After the second Friday of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally came to a close, the official attendance count was already higher than that of 2020’s rally.
Over 56,000 vehicles rolled into Sturgis to take part in the final two days of the rally.
So, this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally wasn’t as big as everyone expected it to be. However, it dwarfed last year’s turnout. At the same time, it brought over half a million people together to celebrate motorcycles and the freedom they represent.