The motorcycling public has long associated Harley-Davidson with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but Sturgis and the Motor Company are in the process of making it official. The Milwaukee-based manufacturer and the City of Sturgis, SD are ringing in the year of the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally by looking forward to the next 75 years.

Sturgis 2014 Wrap Up

The plan calls for Harley-Davidson to be the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally until 2090. (No, that’s not a typo.) As part of the agreement, Main Street in Sturgis will have a permanent plaza constructed and dedicated to Harley-Davidson. Designed for year round use, the plaza will feature a stage for events ranging from concerts to weddings. The Harley faithful can be expected to drop by throughout the year and not just during the annual rally.

Officials expect the plaza to be completed before this year’s 75th anniversary event. For added significance, 75 ceremonial bricks will be brought from Milwaukee to Sturgis. As part of the announcement of this agreement, one brick was removed – by a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750 motorcycle, no less – from the entrance of the company headquarters and former factory. Additionally, one brick from the Harley-Davidson Museum and the remaining 73 sourced from the corporate headquarters’ famed motorcycle-only parking lot will be donated to the plaza. Naturally, these 75 bricks will make their trip from Milwaukee to Sturgis by Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson Hitting Sturgis In Full Force

When speaking of the agreement, Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen said, “For decades, Harley-Davidson has been the motorcycle of choice for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally fans and a great partner to the City of Sturgis. Today, it gives me great pleasure to solidify its importance by making it the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.”

“Harley-Davidson riders have attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for decades. This new agreement will help fuel many more years of freedom, independence and rebellion for this iconic gathering,” said Matt Levatichpresident and chief operating officer at Harley-Davidson. “Riding is a passion passed down through generations, so it’s important we celebrate the legacy and history of Harley-Davidson in Sturgis, while helping creating new memories.”

This agreement, while possibly surprising on the surface, could be seen as a natural progression for the City of Sturgis, which in recent years has spent considerable effort in defending the Sturgis brand. Linking the city to the strongest name in motorcycling makes perfect sense from a branding perspective.

Bill Davidson, great-grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, right, hands a brick to Sturgis, S.D., Mayor Mark Carstensen after its removal from the historic Milwaukee headquarters.

Bill Davidson, great-grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, right, hands a brick to Sturgis, S.D., Mayor Mark Carstensen after its removal from the historic Milwaukee headquarters.

Bill Davidson, great-grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, Christian Walters, Managing Director, United States at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company celebrate after removing a brick from the historic Milwaukee headquarters.

Bill Davidson, great-grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, Christian Walters, Managing Director, United States at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company celebrate after removing a brick from the historic Milwaukee headquarters.

 

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Harley-Davidson Communities

  • Old MOron

    Oh wow, how to respond to this news?
    Horror at corporate interests co-opting civil interests?
    Amusement at Harley’s obvious nervousness about Indian?

    Well, those were my first responses, but a moment’s pause brings things closer to home. Why does it seem like Harley owns MO? This is bullshit! Not long ago you had Harley advertising plastered all over your home page. Then it was one Harley story after another. Now you’re trying to pass off a blatant press release as some sort of MOronic article. Cut it out.

  • michael franklin

    How much did harley have to pay to the sturgis organizers for this honor?

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    I can’t help feeling that’s sort of a stupid move on Sturgis’ part. Increasingly there’s been a greater variety of bikes seen at the event; doing this seems just a bit like the city is saying they’re not welcome. I doubt most people will read it that way, though.

    But the fact that Sturgis was originally started by Indian riders and now they’re handing that legacy to Harley-Davidson. I don’t know why, but that irks me. It’s extra sleazy on both sides.

    • Rellick

      Hi!
      I could not agree more. When I first read it my initial reaction was not good. As a matter of fact I couldn’t believe it. This is BS. I’m going back this year because it is the 75th. I was at the 30th so I’ve seen alot of changes, but this will probably be the last.

    • http://harleydatingsite.weebly.com/ Aimee Raman

      Hi, I’m a lady biker that like to ride, have fun and meet new friends. most of my time on my blogger. check it out http://aimeeraman.wix.com/bikerdatingsites

  • Dare Devil

    Freedom, independence, rebellion! How does a motorcycle brand fuel these? This marketing crap would be better served if all the free, rebellious, and independent clientele didn’t all wear the exact same uniform. What a joke, I guess the other brands were becoming too populous and Harley was getting nervous.

  • allworld

    This reeks of desperation on HD’s part and political corruption on the part of Sturgis.
    Perhaps the riders of all other makes should boycott the event and create a new venue in the same area.

    • Rellick

      I’m an old Harley rider and I agree with your comments. Pappy Hoyle was an Indian dealer. The bikes raced in 1938-39 were Indians so what is this. I’ve been going to Sturgis since 1969 and appreciate that Sturgis has grown to include all brands and types as they became popular. (ie: sport bikes) We Harley riders already have a reputation of being somewhat arrogant, this really helps. There I feel better

  • Tod Rafferty

    The brick is appropriate.