Sturgis Motorcycle Rally By the Numbers

sturgis bike rally, sturgis south dakota
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Updated 9/4/17

This year 311,937 vehicles visited the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the smallest crowds to date according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation and a 5.4 percent reduction when compared to last year. In 2016, there were an estimated 329,789 visitors.


Statistics gathered by the Department of Transportation are based on seven days instead of ten since the rally was officially a week long and at some point it was stretched out another weekend in order to bring more motorcycle enthusiasts into town. However, with the low numbers, city officials are now requesting that statistics be provided “officially” with a ten day count. This, even after a new entry point was used into the calculations.

Statistics did show that there was an increase of 1.1 percent in the amount of vehicles visiting South Dakota the weekend before the rally starts versus the last weekend of the rally. It should be noted that vehicles are counted, not people. Thus, there could be four people in a car but only one car is registered or two people on a motorcycle.

Statistics remain pending for the town of Sturgis which uses different factors in calculating the amount of visitors present. Factors include the amount of rooms booked for hotels and motels, sales tax revenue, and usage of sewer and water.

 During 1999 through 2005, there was an average of 550,250 vehicles per year with the largest number of vehicles in 2000, when 604,441 were counted. The last time I was there was in 2015 for the 75th Anniversary and 510,749 vehicles were counted. But again, this is based on seven day total not ten. At least personally, I can say in 2015 there were significant crowds even the week before.

The ten year average for the motorcycle rally is 402,543 vehicles. Oddly enough, even with smaller crowds, there were more accidents and fatalities. You can read that blog by clicking this link.


Updated Statistics

While fewer bikers may have visited the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this year, their numbers increased financially overall.

  • $1.26 million was collected in taxes versus $715,757 in the prior year.
  • The amount of vendors decreased from 1,153 to 1,050.

MC Atty

For additional motorcycle blogs on rallies and events, click here.

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