Official Sturgis Motorcycle Rally numbers show second largest crowd in past 10 years

STURGIS, S.D. -- Attendance was the second highest in the past 10 years at the 2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August in the Black Hills of South Dakota, according to official numbers released Thursday, Oct. 11.

STURGIS, S.D. --  Attendance was the second highest in the past 10 years at the 2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August in the Black Hills of South Dakota, according to official numbers released Thursday, Oct. 11.

The City of Sturgis in reporting the numbers said there were 495,000 visitors at the 10-day event with a total economic impact to the state of $786 million. More than $580,000 was raised at various events for local nonprofit organizations.

The biggest attendance for the rally was at the 75th anniversary three years ago when some thought close to 1 million visitors attended. The official number released, however, was 739,000.

Of the 2018 visitors, a surprising 24 percent were first-time visitors with the average age falling from 52 in 2015 to 49 this year.

The city also said of the first-time visitors, 90 percent plan to return.

The visitors this year stayed an average of five days, with 50 percent at the numerous nearby campgrounds and 18 percent in hotels or motels.

Fifteen percent of this year’s visitors had been there at least 25 times.

The attendance numbers were based on roadway counting machines leading into the city and other factors.  Other statistics were based on 3,363 random surveys conducted before and during the rally.

The 79th annual rally next year will be Aug. 2-11