Friday, July 31, 2015

The 75th Year

It is once again rally week here in the Hills. More importantly, it's the 75th rally -- which means that things kicked in a bit earlier than usual and we are now host to extra thousands of bikes.

In response to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally three years ago, I posted this letter. As it is once again that time of year and I still like what I wrote then, I thought I'd give it another chance to be read ... with some revisions.
An Open Letter to Sturgis Rallygoers
Welcome! We're glad you're here. No, really -- we are. This is one of those events that South Dakotans have a (possibly grudging) appreciation for and we're happy you're here to enjoy it. We know it's a big year and we're actually pretty excited about it, too.

That being said, there are some things I'd love for you to keep in mind.

1. If you're not currently in Sturgis, please pay attention to the non-rally-goers around you. If you're out and about, you're surrounded by bus tours of senior citizens and people on their way to Yellowstone and  innocent vacationing families from Vermont. Families that may have a slide show to show friends back home that are instantly posting all of their photos to Facebook for their grandmothers to see. We'd like them to come visit, too. Please be mindful of that. (And maybe cover up a bit...)

2. Similarly, if you're not currently in Sturgis, odds are you're practically in someone's backyard. That person probably has to go to work this week. Please be nice, particularly after dark. (If you are in Sturgis ... Well, residents there have their coping mechanisms.)

3. If a local seems a bit impatient, please remember that a) we do this every year, and b) we all have a mix of good and bad stories to tell from this year and past ones. Be a good story.

4. Spend! Yes, our economy is just a bit dependent on this week. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes. With wild abandon, even.
5. Take your time to see things! There are some gorgeous drives to be had that aren't in Sturgis. Give yourself a chance to see them (especially if you want to get away from the crowd for a little while and breathe).
6. The best thing I've seen this week has been bikers taking selfies. Keep doing that. Pretty please. (No, seriously.)

7. Most importantly, please drive carefully. Locals are, for the most part, used to looking for bikes (and this week we're all a bit hyper aware because no one wants to collect a bike in the grille) but those big hulking RVs? They're not. And you will lose. We want you to be able to come back next year and bring all your friends. Stay smart & stay visible.

Have a great week!

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