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.
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.
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 Levatich, president 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.