The Ultimate Guide to Attending the Sturgis Bike Rally

The Ultimate Guide to Attending the Sturgis Bike Rally

The rally is sure to keep you busy regardless of how long you plan on staying. If you plan on attending this year’s rally, you need to bring all your gear to start riding as soon as you arrive, including safety gear, motorcycle helmet communication for riding in groups, and other must-have accessories. You also need to find a place to stay and figure out how to get your motorcycle to the rally, so you can join in all the fun. You don’t want to show up without a bike. Learn how to prepare for the Sturgis Bike Rally to make 2022 the best year yet.

What Is the Sturgis Bike Rally?

When: August 5 to14, 2022

Where: Sturgis, South Dakota

The Sturgis Bike Rally is considered the “Granddaddy of ‘em all” when it comes to motorcycle rallies and events. It was founded by accident in 1938 after Clarence “Pappy” Hoel and his wife, Pearl, purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in the middle of the Great Depression. The pair decided to host a motorcycle race in the middle of the mountains as part of the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club. Nine riders performed in front of a small audience, and the event has been going on ever since.

The annual race eventually took the small town of Sturgis by storm, bringing business to dozens of local stores and hotels. Word of the rally quickly spread throughout the motorcycle community. The unique scenery and friendly atmosphere attracted riders from all over the world, and it soon evolved into the behemoth that it is today.

What to Expect

The rally takes place over ten days, and each one is packed full of events and performances. There are dozens of races and contests to enter, and the area is sure to be full of booths and vendors selling all kinds of products for your bike. Cardo Systems has been before, and we’re looking forward to attending again this year! The rally has become more than a motorcycle fest. It has become a pitstop for household names and some of the biggest bands in the music industry.

You will also find lots of delicious food and open bars; just be sure not to drink and ride. Automotive companies and manufacturers also use the event to show off their latest technology, giving viewers a glimpse into the future of riding.

Sturgis, SD doesn’t usually get a lot of attention during other times of the year. Some people may pass through on their way to see the National Monument, but nothing compares to the onslaught that is the bike rally. It is a town of just 6,800 people, according to the local government, and the rally tends to attract 739,000 every year. That’s like dumping a gallon of water into an eight oz. cup.

This year’s rally is destined to be the largest event yet. It tends to get bigger every year, and 2022 is no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic forced some people to stay home in previous years, so you can expect a large crowd. The streets will be teeming with riders and vendors, so you’ll need to drive slowly until you get to a suitable trail. The rally takes over the entire town. Local stores will still be open, but the street will be shut down to make way for all the riders.

Bring Along a Bluetooth Motorcycle Headset for the Trip

Notable Events

The 2022 agenda is packed with major acts, including:

Music Events:

  • Snoop Dog
  • Buckcherry
  • Rob Zombie
  • Travis Mathew

Biking Events:

  • Mayor’s Ride

A massive group ride along the stunning Black Hills hosted by Sturgis Mayor Carstensen along with the Rally’s Grand Marshal, who has yet to be announced. The group visits the National Monument along the way for a great photo op. All proceeds go to the town’s emergency services, including the men and women who keep the area safe.

Cost: $145.00 for rider & $145.00 for passenger

When: Saturday, August 6, 2022

  • Medicine Wheel Ride

Ride for a good cause and join the Medicine Wheel Ride from Bear Butte to Crazy Horse monument. The ride is designed to raise awareness for the issues affecting the Native American community. All of the registration fees go toward supporting local Native non-profits in the Black Hills area working to protect, defend and empower Native women and families.

Cost: $40 per person

When: Sunday, August 7, 2022

  • Ride with a Local

Getting around the Black Hills area can be a little intimidating if it’s your first time. Many people struggle to see everything on their list in just ten days. That’s why the founders created the Ride with a Local event, back by popular demand. You will be paired with a more experienced rider who will show you around the area, including popular bars, restaurants and famous monuments. Anyone can participate in the event. There will be several group rides during the week with a limit of 25 bikes per group. Each ride lasts around three hours with rest breaks in between, and the itinerary is provided ahead of time.

Cost: $45

When: Sunday, August 7; Tuesday, August 8; and Friday, August 12, 2022

Non-Biking Events:

  • Legendary Sturgis 5K
  • Mustache and Beard Contest
  • Tuesday Tattoo Contest
  • Mayor Poker Tournament
  • Mayor’s Pub Crawl
  • Mayor’s Golf Tournament


Use a Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset to Stay Connected

How to Prepare for Your Trip

Now that you know what to expect from your trip, it’s time to start planning all the details. If you plan on participating in some of the events mentioned above, visit the rally’s official website to reserve your spot. These events tend to be extremely popular with attendees, and space will fill up fast.

If you are a vendor or would like to promote your products or services at the event, visit the Become a Sponsor page to learn more.

Most people will plan on attending the rally for a few days or a long weekend, but you can stay for the full ten days if you really feel like immersing yourself in all things motorcycle. The sooner you start planning your trip, the better. Use this guide to find everything you need to attend.

Where to Stay at the Sturgis Bike Rally

Let’s start with lodging. Sturgis has more than 300 places to stay, so you can find something that suits your style.

There are several campgrounds in the area, with Glencoe Camp and Pappy Hoel Campground, named after the founder, being the most famous of the bunch. You’re sure to find lots of fellow motorheads on the lot, so you can keep the party going after the day ends. Camping is by far the most affordable option. You also won’t have trouble finding space, considering the location. Bring your RV or tent and spend some time in the great outdoors.

You can also rent a room at one of the many hotels in the area, such as the Sturgis Hotel, which is right in the middle of the festival. There are also several budget motels nearby, including a Super 8, Days Inn and a Four Points by Sheridan if you want something a little nicer, but it’s a little farther from town.

If you want something a little cozier, consider renting a private cabin or Airbnb or staying at a local bed & breakfast instead. Lots of homeowners rent out their properties during the rally. You’ll have more privacy than you would in a hotel or tent, but expect to pay a little extra.

How to Get to the Rally

Once you have a place to stay, you’ll need to figure out how to get to and from the rally, considering most people don’t live anywhere near South Dakota.

You can always fly to the festival, but you won’t be able to bring your bike. The nearest airport is in Rapid City, which is about 34 miles away. It services all the major airlines, so you shouldn’t have a problem booking a flight.

Most attendees drive to the rally on their motorcycles. This is the best option if you want to participate in all the activities. Driving to South Dakota on a bike is no easy feat, especially if you live on the east coast. You can also haul your motorcycle to the rally using a trailer or motorcycle carrier if you don’t feel like making the commute on your bike. Consider towing your motorcycle to the rally if you live on the other side of the country. It’s best to save your energy for the rally; otherwise, you might get burnt out on riding after a long road trip.

What to Pack for the Sturgis Bike Rally

If you plan on driving your motorcycle at the rally, make sure you have everything you need to join in on all the fun, including:

  • Full-face helmet or half-face helmet with goggles
  • Riding jacket
  • Boots
  • Jeans or thick pants
  • Gloves

It’s always safer to ride with a full-face helmet than a half-face helmet, especially if you plan on driving your motorcycle to the festival. But you might prefer to use a half-face helmet or skull cap once you arrive. You will likely spend most of your time driving at low speeds and enjoying the local scenery, so consider bringing both options just to be safe.

It will also be hot during the rally, so dress accordingly. The high temperature tends to be in the mid-80s with lows in the 70s. You may want to bring a cooling pack to stay comfortable on the trail.

You will also need to bring a motorcycle Bluetooth headset to participate in all the events. This lets you talk to the other riders around you, so you don’t have to shout over the sound of your engine. The intercom clips onto your helmet for hands-free communication. Just tap the device to wirelessly connect to the other person’s radio or headset.

This technology will come in handy during the Ride with a Local event. The more experienced rider will give you a tour of the local community while you soak up the sights.

Find the Best Motorcycle Bluetooth Helmet System Online

If you are using a half-face helmet, use a half-helmet Bluetooth headset to keep the conversation going. The kit comes with an adjustable boom mic, so the receiver can pick up your voice. Bring along your gear even if you don’t plan on bringing your motorcycle. You can always rent a bike when you arrive or borrow someone else’s to participate in one of the events.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an event unlike any other. Keep this information in mind as the event gets closer to making the most of your trip. Don’t forget – we will be one of the vendors. Make sure you come say hi!