Patterico's Pontifications

8/4/2020

Pandemic Or Not, Famed Motorcycle Rally Is A Go

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:18 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This just doesn’t seem like a good idea. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is on:

More than 250,000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota, seeking the freedom of cruising the boundless landscapes in a state that has skipped lockdowns. The Aug. 7 to 16 event, which could be the biggest anywhere so far during the pandemic, will offer businesses that depend on the rally a chance to make up for losses caused by the coronavirus. But for many in Sturgis, a city of about 7,000, the brimming bars and bacchanalia will not be welcome during a pandemic.

In non-pandemic years, the famed rally at Sturgis usually sees around 500,000 people. But while this year’s numbers are estimated to be half that amount, we’re still talking about a quarter of a million people coming from any number of places throughout the country and descending on a small city during a ten-day period in the midst of a pandemic. Apparently, while a majority of residents were against hosting the event this year, local business leaders pushed for it, pointing to the incredible amount of money that is spent by rallygoers – especially the affluent riders with loads of cash burning a hole in their pockets:

Rallygoers have spent about $800 million in past years, according to the state Department of Tourism…

The attorney for a tourism souvenir wholesaler in Rapid City wrote to the City Council reminding that a judge found the city does not solely own rights to the rally and threatening to sue if the city tried to postpone it. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Chip, which is the largest campground and concert venue that lies outside the bounds of the city, made clear that it would hold some version of the rally.

Rod Woodruff, who operates the Buffalo Chip, said he felt he had little choice but to proceed with the rally. He employs hundreds of people in August and a smaller full-time staff.

“We spend money for 355 days of the year without any return on it, hoping people show up for nine days,” he said. “We’re a nine-day business.”

Woodruff felt he could pull off a safe event, allowing people to keep their distance from one another at the outdoor concerts at his campground. He said he was emboldened by the July 3 fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore, where 7,500 people gathered without any reported outbreaks after the event, according to health officials.

(For comparison: the July 3 fireworks celebration was a single-day event which saw 242,500 fewer people than are expected during the 10-day Sturgis rally, which will include poker tournaments, drag races, concerts, rides, etc.)

In spite of the event being greenlit, there can be no doubt that the city recognizes that this year is like no other:

When the rally is over, every year the city weighs all the trash generated to estimate how many people showed up. This year, they will also conduct mass coronavirus testing to see if all those people brought the pandemic to Sturgis.

The City of Sturgis rally website provides attendees with instructions regarding travel restrictions on tribal lands due to Covid-19, as well providing instructions for temporary vendor and liquor license holders.

South Dakota’s current Covid-19 numbers can be found here.

–Dana

41 Responses to “Pandemic Or Not, Famed Motorcycle Rally Is A Go”

  1. How many do you think will be wearing masks or making efforts to social distance??

    Dana (292df6)

  2. Seems like transmission is a lot lower when contact happens out doors so that might be a mitigating factor.

    That said SD is doing well for COVID right now and this is a risk.

    I think that risk / reward needs to be balanced by SD officials and some of the economic activity needs to be focused on risk mitigation. Don’t think I can say definitively from my screen if this is ‘bad’ or ‘good’.

    I now eagerly await Gryph’s panic attack at the thought someone in SD might wear a mask. I hope he doesn’t faint. ;D

    Time123 (235fc4)

  3. I now eagerly await Gryph’s panic attack at the thought someone in SD might wear a mask. I hope he doesn’t faint.

    Lol.

    Dana (292df6)

  4. There’s no word in the AP report about masks and social distancing policy. I wish them luck.

    Paul Montagu (f7c552)

  5. Honestly, this feels like the type of thing that could be run safely if the organizers put the time in and the participants take it seriously.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  6. Honestly, this feels like the type of thing that could be run safely if the organizers put the time in and the participants take it seriously.
    Time123 (235fc4) — 8/4/2020 @ 1:26 pm

    I doubt it, they’re bikers: “Ride free or die”. *shrug*

    Angelo (16ec18)

  7. The Aug. 7 to 16 event, which could be the biggest anywhere so far during the pandemic, will offer businesses that depend on the rally a chance to make up for losses caused by the coronavirus.

    And the coronavirus a chance to make up for losses caused by South Dakota’s isolation.

    nk (1d9030)

  8. A quarter million bikers, some masked, descend on South Dakota. Gryph hit hardest.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  9. There won’t be many lefties in that crowd. Bikes and the low-T levels historically afflicting liberal “males” don’t mix well.

    The throaty exhaust of a gas-burning motorcycle frightens and confuses that ilk.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  10. Good luck to them and may God have mercy on their souls.

    Nic (896fdf)

  11. Most of them will be middle-class, middle-aged and mid-life crisis, just like any other industry-sponsored auto, boat and RV show.

    nk (1d9030)

  12. Pandemic or not the family birthday party will be taking place. All 23 family members in attendance. Happy birthday will be sung, blessings pronounced, candles blown out, celebration will reign without fear rearing it’s ugly head. No masks will be worn.
    Y’all can panic and go down the shaming road now.

    Marci (405d43)

  13. Many happy returns, Marci.

    nk (1d9030)

  14. Well thanks NK. Not mine though, just a family member. But mine is in just a few days and I’ll take your wishes early. :)

    Marci (405d43)

  15. “How many do you think will be wearing masks or making efforts to social distance??” Dana asks.

    I think we know the answer. When they get to Sturgis, the helmets will come off and masks will be shunned. Social distancing in a small town…. impossible.

    A Covid Party of over 200,000 followed by nationwide distribution.

    noel (4d3313)

  16. A lot of people say…. Jerry Falwell Jr. will be at the rally preaching to the angels. But don’t expect him to be too much fun after the ruckus he created yesterday.

    And, as always, he must abide by Liberty University’s Student Honor Code…. “We have a responsibility to uphold the moral and ethical standards of Liberty University and personally confront those who do not.”

    noel (4d3313)

  17. 2. What part of “I won’t go anywhere that requires a mask” do you have a problem with, douchebag?

    3. I’m still waiting for the “superspread” from the July 4 shindig over at Mt. Rushmore. Let me know when it happens, Toots.

    Gryph (f7c533)

  18. 16. Yeah, just like happened at Mt. Rushmore…wha…?

    Gryph (f7c533)

  19. 8. That’s on the opposite side of the state from me. For those of you who don’t know rudimentary South Dakota geography, Sturgis is in the middle of the Black Hills along the western-central border. I live in Aberdeen which is in the northeast corner of the state roughly an 80 minute drive from Ortonville, Minnesota.

    Gryph (f7c533)

  20. @17, Ma’am please calm down. I’ve already called my manager.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  21. Gryph, I like you and I’m trying to kid around about how strident you are about masks. I’m not going to beat this joke into the ground, that would be annoying to anyone. I just wanted to make the intent to tease you explicit.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  22. Only about 30% of the tickets to the Rushmore 3rd of July event were requested by South Dakotans. Still, the state’s Covid numbers are rising.

    But since it was largely an outdoor event, I wouldn’t expect it to be as contagious as an indoor rally.

    noel (4d3313)

  23. Sturgis, SD. A town of 6,900 people. Hosting an 250,000 person event for a week? Then spreading out across the country?

    That sounds wise to you, Gryph?

    noel (4d3313)

  24. Let’s see if even 25,000 show up.

    nk (1d9030)

  25. 22. The numbers are only “rising” in the sense that the number of cases continues to go up. The curve, such as it is, is flat. As flat as it’s gonna get. As for the number of out-of-staters here, do you think that should have made it more or less likely to be a superspread event?

    23. The population of Keystone, SD (where the Mt. Rushmore Visitor Center has its mailing address) is approximately 350. And they played host to 75,000 people, to say nothing of the overflow in Rapid City. That probably didn’t sound wise to you at the time either, but I’m still waiting to hear about the superspread from that event.

    21. Probably a good idea that you made your intentions explicit. I’m not in a very jokey mood right now (for a number of personal reasons that have nothing to do with CoViD).

    Gryph (f7c533)

  26. 21. Probably a good idea that you made your intentions explicit. I’m not in a very jokey mood right now (for a number of personal reasons that have nothing to do with CoViD).

    Gryph, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope the rest of your week goes better.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  27. Anybody seen any good data on spread at outdoor events? Seems like there are lots of examples of poor social distancing out of doors that haven’t lead to an increase in Covid19

    Time123 (c9382b)

  28. 29. Let me put it to you this way: You won’t hear me talking about my wife anymore. -.-

    Gryph (f7c533)

  29. Gryph @ 29,

    I’m not going to jump to conclusions, but I will say a prayer for you and your wife. I hope things can work out for you two. Please take care of yourself.

    Dana (292df6)

  30. The population of Keystone, SD (where the Mt. Rushmore Visitor Center has its mailing address) is approximately 350. And they played host to 75,000 people, to say nothing of the overflow in Rapid City.

    It was 7,500 people, not 75,000 people.

    Dana (292df6)

  31. 33. I stand corrected. I put an extra zero in there. Still, I think if we can pack nearly 8000 people around Mount Rushmore without a superspread, the rally won’t be the end of the world.

    And I don’t know if it’s been made abundantly clear here, but if it were up to the Sturgis city government, there would have been no rally. The reason it is being held is because of the threat of litigation from numerous vendors that the city would have been incapable of adequately defending against.

    Gryph (f7c533)

  32. 29. Let me put it to you this way: You won’t hear me talking about my wife anymore. -.-

    That doesn’t sound good. Best of luck to you.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  33. 29. Let me put it to you this way: You won’t hear me talking about my wife anymore. -.-

    Gryph (f7c533) — 8/5/2020 @ 4:49 pm

    That’s tough no matter how it came to pass. Tougher these days because we’re isolated. Take good care of yourself. Find an outlet.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  34. Sorry, Gryph. Hope things pick up for you.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  35. Middle class, middle-aged, and late onset mid-life crisis:

    For Stephen Sample, who rode his Harley from Arizona, the event was a break from the routine of the last several months, when he’s been mostly homebound or wearing a mask when he went to work as a surveyor.

    “I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be cooped up all my life either,” he said.

    Still, Sample, who is 66, feared what could happen if he caught COVID-19 at the rally. He said he was trying to avoid indoor bars and venues, where he felt the risk of infection was greater. But on the opening day of the rally, he said he ate breakfast at an indoor diner.
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-sturgis-motorcycle-rally-coronavirus-south-dakota-20200807-5wtbv43sbje2teekiu7h6ay25i-story.html

    nk (1d9030)

  36. Dang, Gryph. Been there myself. Keep your head…unmasked!

    urbanleftbehind (99ca9d)

  37. 28.

    The numbers are only “rising” in the sense that the number of cases continues to go up

    Cumulative cases. It is showing up in new places. But the 7-day moving average of new cases has now dropped below the 14-day moving average, so R0, nationwide, is now below 1.0.

    The governor of South Dakota got in special contact with Mike Pence to let him know she doesnt want his job.

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)


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