Although the rally will officially end this Sunday evening, plenty of bikers had their fun and have already left Western South Dakota for the ride home. The number of participants seems to be about the same than in 2008. As of today Saturday, 6th official day of the event, one biker has died in a motorcycle accident (out of 66 accidents with injuries). Last year, 3 bikers were killed. This year, the city of Sturgis sold 696 vendor permits, 1 more than in 2008. This year, no matter the “recession prices” offered to bikers, people just were not buying accessories and merchandise or spending as much in bars and restaurants.
In Deadwood, merchants reported sales 50% down versus last year. Only vendors offering quality equipment making long rides more comfortable (seats, saddlebags, tour packs) seem to have done pretty good. Number of participants in the different bike shows were up from 5% to 20% with a lot of participants being new comers on the custom bike show tour. It was easy to see that if Harley continues to rule, foreign brands represented a higher percentage of the 2 wheelers visiting the rally. It is also evident that increasingly more baby boomers are retreating to their childhood riding style, putting back that extra wheel so they can continue to ride. I mean more and more trikes on the roads of South Dakota, and not only men and couples, but also quite a few women doing solo triking.
And for the show- biz part of the biker scene, it’s official: be ready for the release of Easy Rider # 2 called “The Ride Back” (how a film in which the 3 main protagonists are killed off by the end of the flick can have a sequel?!?). And fans of Steven Tyler, don’t worry. He is back in Boston recovering from his Buffalo Chip stage fall with a broken shoulder and a few stitches on his head. Looking forward to next year because it will be the 70th anniversary and it may have a lot of impact on attendance