Buffalo Chip numbers higher than expected
Attendance is down, but not as much as initially projected
STURGIS, S.D. (KOTA) - Rally anniversary years tend to draw larger crowds to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And while the numbers are down because of the pandemic, it could have been worse.
“With them predicting about 250,000, just being here and in the parking lot of the Buffalo Chip, I have honestly never seen it this full, aside from the 75th,” said Elysia Pederson, at the Information Booth of the Buffalo Chip Crossroads. “It’s been pretty huge-- there was one day there was no parking whatsoever. And, I just feel like they keep coming in, and I feel it’s much bigger than they anticipated.”
Pederson estimates 50-thousand people have been through the campground and thinks people are flocking to the Chip to escape the restrictions in the City.
“Well, expecting 800-thousand for the 80th for Sturgis Rally, but even though it’s 250, 400-thousand, there are still more people we’d like to see than any other time, right,” said Sal Dazzo, president of Gun Barrel Coffee.
Dazzo said Gun Barrel Coffee went in with the mentality of “it is what it is.” But, Dazzo estimates more than 3,000 people have passed by his tent in the last 24 hours.
Pederson said the Buffalo Chip is one of the best parties around and draws people from all over, but the pandemic means some different visitors.
“Especially with our foreign visitors,” said Pederson. “We’ve had people come from all over the world to come to the Buffalo Chip and to the Sturgis Rally. So, I think that has dented quite a bit, but other than that, I’ve heard people are trucking it out here just because they could, and they needed to get a breath of fresh air out here.”
Everyone at the Buffalo Chip appears to be in high spirits and having a good time.
They might be in a better mood this year than ever before.
“We have noticed, and we think it’s the pandemic, people are extremely nicer,” said Pederson. “Earlier, a bike fell down, and 27 other bikers leaped off their bikes and come and helped this one person. I think when people are staying at home, they just want to show some of that appreciation and respect for other people because they haven’t had it for months.”
Masks are encouraged at the Chip, but not required.
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