Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2021: Friday’s Burger Battle Puts South Dakota Beef Front-and-Center

by Amy Myers

Omaha, Nebraska might have its handle on steak, but at the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, South Dakota is the state to be for top-notch hamburgers. On Friday, the South Dakota Beef Industry Council will host the annual Beef Throwdown. Five teams of grill masters will compete for the title of best burger to win prizes. In each team, one rancher will work with one “Rally VIP” to whip up the best batch of patties they can make.

The partnership between the state’s Council and the Rally establishes beef as the official meat of the entire 10-day event. So, within the city, the number one menu item that riders are craving and restaurants are serving is burgers. That means that the Beef Throwdown teams will have to be pretty skilled at the grill to meet the judge’s expectations.

The Beef Throwdown is just another example of how the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is as much about community as it is about bikes. With good food, warm weather and a bit of friendly competition, the Rally provides an oasis for riders to be amongst a like-minded crowd that enjoys the open road as much as they do. Along with the Gold Star Memorial from the Military Appreciation Day, the town wants to be sure that it not only welcomes all riders from different walks of life but also celebrates where they’ve come from.

2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Beef Throwdown Welcomes Back Food Network Star

Plenty of celebrities, both local and national, have already made their appearance at the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. From Super Bowl champion and Green Packers offensive lineman Earl Dotson to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, the Rally has had plenty of big names walk through the streets.

One more celebrity will be joining the long list of notable guests during the Beef Throwdown. Food Network star and cookbook author Justin Warner is back again to help kick off the burger bash on Friday. In past years, Justin has acted as one of the judges for the competition. However, this year, he remains “impartial” and instead will act as the emcee.

“I’ll be narrating the action that you see,” the Food Network star told KOTA News.

Warner noted that winners from previous Rallies will be judging the 2021 Beef Throwdown at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. During last year’s competition, the judges consisted of a panel of South Dakota ranchers. In order to follow social restrictions, judges traveled to individual restaurants which served them their beef dishes for the competition. This Friday, however, the Beef Throwdown will be located on Main Street at Harley Davidson Square.

Now that the rally-goers can see the competition in person, the title for the best burger is even more exciting.

“That’s what South Dakota’s all about–beef, right,” Warner said.