The Black Hills of South Dakota are roaring with motorcycles and crowds as the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began its 10-day run today.
Organizers say they expected at least 700,000 people to show up despite COVID-19 cases increasing in both South Dakota and the country with the more contagious delta variant. About 420,000 visitors attended last year in the midst of the pandemic.
Although the Rally didn’t begin until today, downtown Sturgis was clogged with Harleys and other motorcycles yesterday while rallygoers crowded shoulder-to-shoulder at bars and rock shows with masks nowhere in sight.
Public health experts worry the Rally will again be a vehicle to spread coronavirus infections.
Hundreds of attendees were infected last year, spreading the virus to other communities and states, but the total number of related cases was far lower than had been feared.