2009 Sturgis Rally Goers Go Shopping

Ok, so this was wild. I went to the grocery store at about 3:30 this afternoon to pick up a couple things. It’s Saturday, it’s summer and the mid afternoon store is usually pretty quiet. It wasn’t today.

Let me preface the rest of this post with the fact that the Black Hills of South Dakota hosts an unpredictable ‘rally’ every year at this time. It is the Sturgis Rally and it is hard to explain. I just say that hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists travel by plane or car (most of their bikes are trucked in separately) to gather, PARTY, with no particular agenda for 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 days. They stay in hotels but most of them camp in campgrounds that spring to life once a year.

It is an event that has a huge impact on our rural population and environment.

Last year was an off year. The numbers varied from 250,000-350,000 attendees. So no one knew what this year would bring. By the looks of the early, usual pre-camp setup days, it didn’t look like the numbers would be much better than last year.

I was of that mind until I went to the store. I don’t quite know how to explain it. There wasn’t a motorcycle in the parking lot, yet there was so much shopping going on that it paled our winter blizzard panic shopping sprees. Most folks had at least 2 carts, there was one couple that had four. The carts were filled to the brim with ice, groceries and booze.

In the parking lot, the provisions were loaded into pickups, vans, cars and RVs. Rally camp setup up has clearly begun. My mode has shifted. This year might just end up being a blockbuster.

Pre Rally Memories 7/30/09 It’s Sturgis Harley Rally time in the Black Hills. It seems like such a marketing wonderland. Outlaws and Demons, the damned rule! – Every year at this time I hear the collective entrepreneurial juices flow – some from successful entrepreneurs but most from folks who have been collecting paychecks for their whole adult lives.

To be fair, it is almost impossible to see this many people flow into the Hills with their loads of cash and not ask the question, “How can I make my fortune? So many others are rolling in dough, why not me?”

I plea ye, wait, think it through and in the end be glad the state collects oodles in sales tax from the experienced and inexperienced vendors alike so you don’t have to personally fill all the pot holes from here to Pierre. That’s the easy way to earn a Rally fortune. All you have to do is stir your tolerance pot a couple extra times.

We have a Rally get-rich story from many, many years ago. But I think it is best left in the to-be-written-later category. Maybe I’ll write it up the next time someone comes to me with a really, really dumb idea. We’ll see.

Do you have any stories of supposedly GREAT ideas gone wrong? Post them here.