Next year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: Big bash or big traffic jam? 1 million expected for 75th



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In this Aug. 3, 2014 photo, motorcycles and their riders line the streets of downtown Sturgis, S.D., for the 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Many people leaving this year’s rally say they can't wait to come back for next year's 75th anniversary bash, but others are worried about the million-strong crowd that is expected to attend. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Katie Adkins)


This photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, shows a woman riding along Main Street in Sturgis, S.D. during the Sturgis motorcycle rally. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Eric Ginnard)


STURGIS, South Dakota — Many people leaving the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally say they can't wait to come back for next year's 75th anniversary bash, but others are worried about the million-strong crowd that is expected to attend.

Rick Hultman is one rider who plans to return.

"I was here for the 50th, and the 75th is going to be just spectacular," he said. "The 50th was unbelievable, and I think next year will top that."

Some officials predict next year's rally will draw double the normal attendance of nearly half a million people. Sturgis Rally Director Brenda Vasknetz told the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/1pmD1wD ) that she's confident the city can handle that large of a crowd. But Sturgis Buffalo Chip complex President Rod Woodruff isn't so sure. The Buffalo Chip began accepting reservations for 2015 last May.

"We sent out one email to our existing base and gave them three days before releasing spots to the general public," Woodruff said. "We had record sales for three days. It knocked us right off our heels, and that was just one email."

Woodruff worries that not enough planning has been done for the extreme traffic next year.

"People will remember the traffic jam more than they'll remember the good times," he said.

For some Sturgis residents, the annual rally already is an event to be endured rather than enjoyed. Mayor Mark Carstensen estimates that about half of the city's 6,600 residents leave town during the rally.

Lucile Holman, 94, doesn't leave, even though she doesn't like the headaches the rally brings.

"I don't think there's any way to control it at this point," she said. "I think you just endure it."


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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