What to expect from this rally 72nd edition? Even before arriving in Sturgis, I can tell you that all my indicators point to a much bigger event than last year. It seems in the range of 15 to 20% regarding the number of people attending and vendors participating. 2 months ago, reservations in campgrounds and hotels were sharply up with bikers making reservations much sooner than during the 5 last years. A vert large number of hotels are sold out during the next 10 days. Number of vendor permits applied at the City of Sturgis is also up 20%. The Rally doesn’t officially start until Monday, but my industry friends already on location tell me that downtown Sturgis is already packed. The number of press releases I received this year regarding exhibitions, events, concerts, appearances, bike shows, invitation to professional parties, etc is way above the volume received in 2011. Yes, this has been a long, drawn-out recovery; and for most people alive today, it’s the longest they’ve had to conserve financially. But some “Frugality fatigue” is driving a rise in retail sales among consumers who’ve grown tired of putting off vacation and some discretionary purchases.
As their prospects improve and as Americans have “learned to live with less, some pent- up demand is being released. And for bikers, the Sturgis Rally is extremely appealing, for its vacation atmosphere, scenery and multiple options for lodging, quality riding, etc. When will be reading this, I will be flying the blue skies between Florida & South Dakota. So, you know that starting tomorrow I will do as much as I can to report daily on the main events and happenings of this 2012 Black Hills Rally. Talk to you soon from Sturgis. (please, American Airlines, don’t lose again my luggages)