Smaller crowds, less trouble at Sturgis rally
STURGIS, S.D.--As the 76th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially starts on Aug. 8, there were no fatal crashes reported so far as of Monday afternoon, compared to last year when six motorcyclists had died already in the weekend before.
STURGIS, S.D.-As the 76th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially starts on Aug. 8, there were no fatal crashes reported so far as of Monday afternoon, compared to last year when six motorcyclists had died already in the weekend before.
There were, however, several serious injury accidents, 47 drunken driving arrests and 67 drug arrests as of Monday morning.
One accident caused Interstate 90 to be blocked for several hours west of nearby Spearfish on Saturday. Tony Mangan of the South Dakota Department of Safety said Damian Villareal, 38, of Palm Spring, Florida, lost control of his semi truck on the interstate and its tipped on its side, blocking the eastbound lanes of the interstate leading into Sturgis. Villareal suffering serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
All categories of arrests at the rally known for its "partying" were done this year compared to last year when an estimated 800,000 to 1 million visitors flooded into the picturesque Black Hills city for the rally.
For example, last year there were 60 DUI arrests and 80 drug arrests by this time already.
Last year, besides the six fatalities, there also had been 29 injury accidents, compared to just 12 so far this year, according to Mangan..
Law officers helping at the rally-as extra officers are called in from around the country-write plenty of warnings, too, during the event.
About the only category up this year was warning tickets written by those officers. So far this year, they have written 981 warning tickets compared to 1,257 last year.
As far as the vendors who flock to the city for the rally in buildings and streets throughout the town, Christina Steele, a public information officers for the city, said there were 699 temporary vending permits compared to 873 last year. It was still ahead of 2014 when 648 permits were given.
Events Monday kicking off the rally were the Mayor's Ride from Sturgis to Mount Rushmore then Custer State Park, flat track racing at the city's fairgrounds, hill climbing racing, short track races and concerts by Foghat, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kat Perkins.
Tuesday there will be a B-1 Flyover on Main Street at 3 p.m. and a huge Harley-Davidson wedding at 6 p.m. downtown.
Other big-name concerts this week include Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick on Tuesday, Aug. 9, Loverboy on Wednesday, Aug. 10, Jackyl and Miranda Lambert on Thursday, Aug. 11, Buckcherry on Friday, Aug, 12 and Weird Al Yankovic on Saturday, Aug. 13.