Sturgis releases 2008 rally statistics

Attendance down from 2007

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 23, 2008
Attendance at the 2008 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was down from 2007, says a report released by the City of Sturgis, ND.

An estimated 414,917 attended the 68th Sturgis rally, down 18.2% from 2007, but the volume of two-wheeled traffic in the weeks prior to the event suggests that motorcycle enthusiasts may be choosing to visit the Black Hills region ahead of the actual Sturgis rally, Aug. 3-9. Retailers reported increases in sales leading up to the rally, while the city’s tax revenues increased 18% in July, further supporting that theory.

State-wide sales tax revenue was down 25.7% during the rally week, but tax figures in Sturgis decreased by only 7.6%. Vendor licenses also decreased 14.8%, leading to an 11.5% drop in vendor fees. Taxable sales figure from vendors totaled $10.4 million, a decrease from the $11.75 million reported in 2007.

Attendance was down at the 68th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.Organizers expected lower attendance at the 2008 rally because of economic uncertainty and a 47% increase in gasoline prices from 2007, but they say the rally faired well despite the challenges.

“We knew we would face some challenges this year but we also took into consideration a robust summer tourist season and the impact a strong Euro and Canadian dollar would have on the event,” says director Pepper Massey. “Many exhibitors stated they had record sales and we saw more ATM cash withdrawals this year than in 2007. Attendees and exhibitors commented over and over that it was one of their best Rally experiences and we equate that to a great year for the City.”

In other Sturgis Motorcycle Rally statistics, traffic violations and drug arrests were up from 2007 while parking tickets, hospital visits, calls for emergency service and rally-related fatalities decreased.

The number of marriage licenses issued also decreased to 66 from the 79 issued in 2007.

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2008 Sturgis Coverage