Latest Sturgis News

3rd Annual Harley-Davidson Rally Point Tattoo Contest

Tattoo Tuesday

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 

Do you have a cool tattoo and an even cooler story about your prized artwork?

Join us at Rally Point located on the corner of Legendary Main St and Harley Davidson Way on Tuesday August 6 at 5:00 PM to register for the ultimate Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™ Tattoo Contest and show off your masterpiece for a chance to win cash, prizes, and more. Judging will start promptly at 6:00 PM and you must be there win.

Anyone with a tattoo can enter. There is a charge of $10.00 entry fee per category (limit two) once you have been admitted to the show.   


Best Black & Grey: Just as the name implies 

Best Fresh Tattoo: Show off the Tattoo you got yesterday or today

Best Color: The brighter the better

Best Tribal:  Characterized by an all black design

Win a category and be entered in the “Best Of Show” competition. Earn your bragging rights to say you have the Best tattoo in all of Sturgis.

Located at the corner of Legendary Main Street and Harley-Davidson Way, come check out everything that is going on down at Rally Point in Sturgis!


Sturgis kicks off Rally Gives Back campaign

The Sturgis City Council will kick off the 2018 Rally Gives Back campaign on Tuesday, September 4 with significant donations to local charities. The funding comes from several events held by the City, SMRi, and Sponsors during the 2018 Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™.

Sturgis City Manager, Daniel Ainslie, says the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™ hosts not only
motorcycles, food and music, it also generates thousands of dollars to help local charities
provide services to Black Hills Communities year around. The Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™ is
often a significant funding source for many of our non-profit agencies.

The following list includes several of the donations made possible by the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally:

Donation Source Recipient Amount
SMRi Sturgis Rally Charities* $ 50,000
City of Sturgis Sturgis Rally Charities* $ 19,575
(Sponsor) Brown-Forman Sturgis Scholarship Fund $ 10,000
(Sponsor) Brown-Forman Sturgis/Meade County Sr. Center $ 10,000
Legendary 5K Run Sturgis Arts Council $ 1,000
Mayor’s Poker Tournament Sturgis Fire Department $ 797
Mayor’s Ride Sturgis Fire Department $ 7,500
Mayor’s Ride Fire Station Lot $ 7,500
Mayor’s Ride Police Reserve Program $ 5,000
Mayor’s Ride Sturgis Ambulance $ 7,500
Mayor’s Ride Wounded Warriors $ 373
Mayor’s Ride Sturgis Animal Shelter $ 2500
Mayor’s Ride VFW of Deadwood $ 2,000
Mayor’s Ride United Way (employee match) $ 2,000
  Total Charitable Donations $125,745

*Sturgis Rally Charities is a local, non-profit foundation that re-distributes donated funds to local non-profit agencies within the greater Sturgis area.

Additionally, thousands of charitable dollars are raised by private organizations and businesses. This year, the Hamster’s USA organization was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. During their 40+ years of philanthropic efforts, the Hamster’s have raised $282,000 for LifeScape Children’s Care of Rapid City. These funds all stay local to support children with disabilities in Western South Dakota.

Sturgis gives campground owners ultimatum

Campground owners around Sturgis are being asked to pay what Sturgis city officials call “their fair share” for ambulance services during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The city proposes to have campgrounds located outside the city limits pay in advance for ambulance services based on the number of calls they requested in 2018. The fees for service vary from $300 to $5,100. If payment from the campground owners is not received by May 15, the Sturgis Ambulance Service response area would be redrawn, leaving out those areas that are not paying.

The proposed fees range from $300 to $5,100 and are based on the number of ambulance calls to the campgrounds during the 2018 rally, Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie said at a Feb. 19 special meeting in Sturgis with campground owners.

Under the proposal, campgrounds that had no ambulance calls last year would be assessed a $300 fee to cover this year’s rally in August. Those with one to four calls last year would pay $650, those with five to nine calls would pay $1,850, and a fee of $5,100 would be charged to those that had 10 or more calls during the 2018 rally.


According to listings on, there are more than a dozen campgrounds in and around Sturgis. Ainslie said services provided to campgrounds inside the city limits are covered by city sales-tax and property-tax revenues.

The city’s proposal is set for discussion before the Sturgis City Council on April 15.

If approved, the fees would have to be paid by May 15. Campgrounds not paying the fees by that date would no longer receive city ambulance service.

At the Feb. 19 meeting, Ainslie said during the 2018 rally the city ambulance service responded to 60 calls from campgrounds, amounting to 17 percent of total calls during the rally.

Of those calls, he said, 33 percent of patients refused transportation to a hospital after the ambulance arrived and of those transported only 23 percent of the amount billed was paid, creating a more than $25,000 shortfall, he said.

“We travel the distance out there and either we bandage the person up or give them the immediate aid they need and they refuse transport to the hospital, or other times we go all the way out there and no one’s there. That’s a significant cost that there’s absolutely no reimbursement for,” Ainslie said.

Ainslie said reimbursement for ambulance services by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance coverage is limited.

Medicaid reimbursements, for example, only cover 20 percent of the cost of an ambulance call, while Medicare covers 50 percent of ambulance services and private insurance covers 60 percent of a call.

According to the city, calls for ambulance service have essentially doubled in 10 years, from 1,076 in 2009 to 2,070 calls in 2018.

Ainslie said in 2018 the city provided $277,201 to the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department and Sturgis Ambulance Service. He said the total losses for the ambulance service in 2018, including building maintenance insurance and equipment replacement, was $250,798.

Calls to a number of campground owners around Sturgis revealed some who were unaware of the Feb. 19 meeting. Others voiced strong opposition to an upfront fee.

“They basically have told us if we don’t submit and pay, they’ll deny us ambulance services and we’re not OK with that,” said R.J. Ludwick, of No Name City Campground, located between Sturgis and Tilford along Interstate 90.

“We all pay taxes, and we have higher taxes because of our businesses, and we all feel that’s not right,” Ludwick said.

Buffalo Chip Campground owner Rod Woodruff said the campground has a full staff of EMT-trained security that will verify the legitimacy of an ambulance call and take a patient to a pickup point to minimize the time for an ambulance run from Sturgis

“We’re doing that just to help the ambulance service to keep their costs down and eliminate the false calls,” he said.

Woodruff said campgrounds bring in thousands of visitors who spend millions of dollars in Sturgis during the rally.

“It doesn’t seem like much appreciation for the campgrounds who are taking care of these people that are going into town and spending all this money and helping Sturgis realize this income every year,” Woodruff said. “It looks like we are being asked to pay the lion’s share of losses he (Ainslie) says the city has."


Ainslie said he is open to other ideas for addressing the funding needs for the ambulance, which serves 20 percent of Meade County, along with a small portion of Lawrence County.

He asks for any written proposals to be submitted by March 15.

“If they have any ideas for alternative ways, we’re happy to discuss them,” Ainslie said.

The campground proposal is one of several funding avenues the city is exploring in the wake of a series of town-hall meetings concerning funding for fire and ambulance services, Ainslie said.

In December, a pair of proposed fire and ambulance districts to help cover expenses for areas just east and north of Sturgis were turned down by county voters.

Another area brought up concerned the cost of responding to areas in Lawrence County along Interstate 90 and in Boulder Canyon west of Sturgis. Ainslie said negotiations are underway with Lawrence County to cover some of those costs.

Meade County recently approved a $5,000 annual payment to the city to cover transporting county jail inmates for medical treatment. In 2018, there were 15 of those calls, he said.