The Sturgis Rally is a motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota each first full week of August. It was founded on August 14, 1938 by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club who still own and operate the tracks, hill climb, and field areas that the rally is concentrated around. The first rally lasted two days and was focused on racing and stunts.
The founder is generally considered to be Clarence "Pappy" Hoel who is still honored in various ways by the crowd at Sturgis.
The main focus of a motorcycle rally was originally racing and stunts. This could include half mile track racing (the first year in Sturgis, there were 19 participants), board wall crashes (intentional), ramp jumps and head on collisions with automobiles.
The Sturgis Rally has been held every year, with exceptions during World War II.
In modern times, there has been a revitalization of motorcycling and a new group of fans that are interested in the old rallies. This has led to huge attendance numbers for classic rallies such as Sturgis. Attendance was estimated at 514,951 in 2004, and 525,250 in 2005. This rivals the resident population of the entire state -- 754,844 in 2000.
Daytona Bike Week
also called Daytona Beach Bike Week, is a motorcycle event and rally held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. Approximately 500,000 people make their way to the rally area for the 10-day event. The festivities include motorcycle racing, concerts, parties, and street festivals. The event is usually held on the first full week of March and contends with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as the most popular motorcycle rally in the United States.
Myrtle Beach Bike Week, is a motorcycle event and rally held annually in Myrtle Beach, SC. Approximately 300,000 people make their way to the rally area for the 10-day event. The festivities include motorcycle racing, concerts, parties, and street festivals. The event contends with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as one of the most popular motorcycle rally in the United States.
Laconia Bike Week is a motorcycle rally held in June annually. It is held in Laconia, New Hampshire. Attendance is estimated between 100,000 and 400,000.The rally has its origin in the Loudon Classic motorcycle race started in 1923 and the Gypsy Tour, where many motorcyclists passed through Laconia. Events were scheduled, including races, shows and a motorcycle hill climb competition.
The Laconia rally has its roots in June of 1916 when a few hundred motorcyclists gathered at Weirs Beach in Laconia. Seven years later, the event was officially recognized by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (to be later called the American Motorcyclist Association) as part the Gypsy Tour, where motorcyclists celebrated races and hill climbs for an entire weekend. The Federation of Motorcyclists continued to sanction the event until 1960.
Motorcyclists continued to return to Laconia in stronger numbers. Participants began flocking to Laconia earlier in the week until the rally unofficially became a week long event. Local businesses became strong supporters of the event which kick started the beginning of their busy tourist season.
However, Laconia's Bike Week did see times of trouble. During the summer of 1965 a riot between motorcycle gangs and local police broke out, which brought national media attention to Laconia. Local police and city officials began to view the rally as a major inconvenience. Laconia officials enforced stricter law enforcement and the number of events during the week began to decline. The rally was eventually minimized to a three day weekend and saw a large decline in the number of participants.
It wasn't until the early 1990's that, in an effort to increase tourism; Laconia businesses approached the Federation of American Motorcyclists for their support to bring the rally back to a week long event. Eventually the business owners joined in a coalition with local motorcycle groups and founded the Laconia Motorcycle Rally and Race Association which organizes and schedules all events associated with motorcycle week. The group is also responsible for promoting the event nationwide and issuing licenses to vendors. Laconia Motorcycle week is now a nine day event which officially ends on Fathers Day. Info provided by biker plaza