2021 is shaping up to be a year full of massive crowds. The one thing that most people have in common is that they miss large gatherings. Getting together with like-minded individuals is one of the best parts of life. Motorcycle enthusiasts are no exception to this. As a result, this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was one of the biggest in years.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was one of the only events to happen in 2020. Thousands flocked to the small town in the Black Hills amid the pandemic. However, many riders who wanted to attend the event decided to stay home. This year, however, many believe that we have moved past the pandemic and its worries. At the same time, international travel restrictions are looser. As a result, people from all around the world came to celebrate their bikes and lifestyle this year in Sturgis.
The 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is coming to a close today. The event saw a massive turnout. Tomorrow, the city’s population will be back down to about 7,000. However, for the past ten days, it is estimated to have held more people than Denver, Colorado.
Sturgis was not taken off-guard by the enormous motorcycle rally crowd. In fact, most of the city’s officials, as well as local business owners, knew this year was going to be one for the ages. They weren’t wrong. In fact, an estimated 700,000 people rolled into the small town for the 10-day event.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s Crowds Were at a High
Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin and his department assisted Sturgis City Police during the motorcycle rally. He told the Rapid City Journal that the first few days of the rally were the busiest days his department has ever witnessed. “There are more people here than in 31 years I’ve been doing this,” he told the publication.
The motorcycle rally crowd kept both Sturgis PD and Meade County SD on their toes. However, it may not be for the reasons you’d think. According to the Rapid City Journal, most of the police interaction was due to either traffic accidents or misunderstandings of the city’s open container law.
The City of Sturgis allowed the motorcycle rally crowd to carry open containers of alcohol for the first time this year. However, there were some restrictions. Most importantly, attendees could only use souvenir cups purchased from the city. Additionally, they had to have a wristband to pair with the cup. That isn’t all though. Open containers of beer or wine were allowed, but liquor was not.
Sturgis Chief of Police Geody VanDewater said that officers issued over 200 open container violations in the opening days of the motorcycle rally. However, when they filled rally attendees in on the rules, most were more than happy to go buy the required cup and wristband. In fact, they only made two arrests out of over 200 interactions. The rest, VanDewater said, were verbal warnings.