On March 20th, 2003 the 109th Engineer Company of the South Dakota Army National Guard from Sturgis became the first South Dakota unit to enter Iraq during the “Shock and Awe” campaign. The National Guard unit was also the first to enter Kuwait from South Dakota.
Following its five months of service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 39 battalion members underwent a demobilization process in Fort Carson, CO where they received medical screenings and financial reviews. The members then made their way home to Sturgis, where they were honored at a parade. A welcoming ceremony was also held at Grunwald Middle School where Governor M. Michael Rounds addressed the soldiers and their families.
Just four years later, the 109th Battalion was reorganized and relocated to Rapid City-based parent unit, the 109th Regional Support Group. A new unit, the 881st Troop Command, replaced the 109th unit in Sturgis. The 109th Battalion had its beginnings in 1924 and was organized with companies from Rapid City, Madison, Brookings, Huron, Lead, Hot Springs, and Belle Fourche. It had been located in Sturgis since March 4, 1930.
Read more about Sturgis on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
The Sturgis Police Athletic League is looking to deter juvenile crime by creating a professional quality bike park, reports KOTA News. The park would have attractions for bicyclists of varying skill level—from toddlers to BMX aficionados.
The total cost of the park is estimated at $75,000. So far, the Sturgis Police Athletic League has raised over $31,000 at an auction held at the Knuckle Brewery. Construction of the park will be done by Pumptrax USA, which has build the past three Olympic BMX tracks.
To read more news about health and wellness in Sturgis, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
On December 21, 1981 Bear Butte, located east of Sturgis, South Dakota, was designated as a National Historic Landmark. Bear Butte is one of just over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks across the nation. National Historic Landmarks must be “historic places that possess exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States” and may be buildings, sites, structures objects or districts.
Known as Mato Paha by Lakota people—and as Noahvose by Cheyenne people—the butte is not a butte by definition but is instead the remnant of ancient volcanic activity. Bear Butte sits 1,200 feet above the land that surrounds it, at a total of 4,426 feet above sea level. The result of a volcano that failed to fully erupt, the land feature is also a place of deep significance to a variety of indigenous peoples from the region. The Cheyenne spiritual leader Sweet Medicine is said to have received the basis of Cheyenne spiritual and moral customs on Bear Butte, while Lakota and Dakota people have held various ceremonies there.
By the end of World War II, homesteader Ezra Bovee was the legal landowner of Bear Butte. Early in 1945, Northern Cheyenne individuals requested to hold a ceremony at Bear Butte to pray for the war’s end. Bouvee welcomed their presence and became a steadfast supporter or preserving the butte. Bouvee went so far as to spark interest in making the butte a national park. While the federal government did not show interest in creating a national park, the South Dakota legislature set the area aside as a state park in 1961. Four years later, the butte was designated as National Landmark.
The Rapid City Journal recently announced that the final publication date for both the Meade County Times-Tribune and Butte County Post will be November 8. On November 9, the Journal will begin publishing a Northern Hills page.
Following the announcement, the Belle Fourche City Council approved an ordinance to designate the Black Hills Pioneer as the city’s legal newspaper. As the city’s legal newspaper, the Pioneer will publish all of Belle Fourche’s legal notices, which include items such as minutes from governmental meetings and bids for construction projects.
The Black Hills Pioneer and Rapid City Journal are not affiliated.
Although areas unavailable for parking are marked by “do not park” signs and yellow lines, the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has seen an increase in parking violations, reports KOTA News. The Sturgis Police Department has reported an increased number of individuals who have received tickets or had their vehicles towed.
This year, the department issued approximately 150 parking tickets—approximately 70 more than the previous year. Police Chief Geody VanDewater indicated that parking violations are a habitual issue as visitors do not want to walk as far to their destinations.
To learn more about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s issue hub. Read more recent news from Sturgis at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Native Hope is discussing the dangers and signs of sex trafficking with Sturgis Rally attendees, reports KOTA News. The non-profit organization hopes to decrease the instances of sex trafficking during the annual event held in Sturgis.
Native Hope works primarily to prevent sex trafficking among Native Americans, who are more likely to be trafficked than other racial groups. The group helps to promote education and safety techniques to help those who may be at risk of being trafficked.
An individual may be a trafficking victim if they avoid eye contact, are not allowed to speak for themselves, or if their background information is unclear. If you suspect an individual is the victim of human trafficking, call 911.
To read more about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Sturgis officials are noting that while there is a perception of the rally being attended by older adults, more and more younger people are coming as well. According to the Rapid City Journal, rally promoters see that both the rally and the motorcycle industry in general are finding ways to adapt to younger crowds and continue to find new ways to bring the youth movement into Sturgis. The future of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is dependent on these youth trends to continue in its existance.
To read up on past and current Sturgis Rally news articles, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.
For more information on the current 77th annual rally and it's history, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub page.
This spring, 13 graduates were recognized at a ceremony held at the Sturgis Community Center. South Dakota Supreme Court Justice offered remarks as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
The Northern Hills Drug Court is a judicially-monitored program that focuses on non-violent, adult drug offenders. Goals of the court include breaking the cycle of addiction, encouraging growth of healthy families, and efficiently using public funds.
To read more about judicial issues in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Following a fundraising effort by the Sturgis Police Department and a local boxing club, Sturgis Police Officer Joe Leveque reached out to the National Police Athletic League to develop the first PAL chapter in South Dakota, reports KOTA News.
The National Police Athletic League is non-profit program aims to reduce juvenile crime by providing recreational and athletic opportunities for youth. The Sturgis chapter hopes to prevent juvenile crime as well as drug and alcohol abuse among area youth. Individuals interested in learning more about the Sturgis PAL can find more information on their website.
To read more news from Sturgis, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The efforts of the Buffalo Chip to remain as a municipality have reached the South Dakota Supreme Court, reports KOTA News. In order to keep its current designation, the court would need to overrule a decision by a circuit court judge who ruled that the Meade County Commission erred in its approval of a vote that designated the Sturgis Rally destination into a new town in South Dakota.
The final briefs for the case have been filed with the state Supreme Court. A decision on whether or not the court will hear the case is expected soon.
To read more about the Buffalo Chip, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
A large-scale project in downtown Sturgis aimed at replacing waterlines and improving lighting and walkways is over 50 percent complete, reports KOTA News. The effort is included in the Future Sturgis Initiative which began in 2009.
Crews have nearly finished replacing water lines in the town which were 50 years old. The next steps in the project will include installing new lights and paving new sidewalks. Streets will also be resurfaced in the spring, as asphalt requires warmer temperatures.
To read more about Sturgis, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Although area businesses had proposed allowing open containers of alcoholic beverages during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the Sturgis City Council voted against the proposal. According to KOTA News, law enforcement officials and citizens of Sturgis spoke against allowing open containers.
Sturgis Chief of Police Geordy VanDewater noted that approximately three-quarters of calls during the event are alcohol-related. He noted that open container would likely increase the number of disturbances.
Nearly 3,000 commemorative bricks in front of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame and armory will be removed, categorized and repositioned as part of a $3.5 million reconstruction project as reported by the Black Hills Pioneer. Contractors for the project hope to have the bricks repositioned by November, if weather permits.
The bricks were inscribed and purchased by visitors to Sturgis. The brick removal is part of a larger project including the installation of a new water main which has a completion date of June 30, 2017.
To learn more about Sturgis, check out the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Judge Jerome Eckrich officially ruled that the Buffalo Chip cannot be its own town, Rapid City Journal reports. Eckrich ruled that the action taken my Meade County was "without the required relevant and competent evidence necessary to support it," along with thirteen other conclusions of law.
The Meade County Commission still has the opportunity to appeal the decision, which attorneys for the Buffalo Chip have stated previously that they would support.
For more news on the Buffalo Chip, please check out the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archives.
Business organizations in the Black Hills are currently seeking to draw companies in the motorcycle industry to the region. According to the Rapid City Journal article, the groups, including Rapid City Economic Development Partnership and the Rushmore Region Alliance, tout having an association to the Sturgis Rally as being a selling point in the indusry as well as the state's business-friendly taxes and regulations being a draw as well. Several motorcycle businesses have relocated to the area, bringing job opportunities with them, while others are looking into doing the same.
For read past news articles related to economy of the Black Hills, click on this archives link.
To find out more information on the economic development of the region as well as employment statistics, be sure to check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network resource page.
The city of Sturgis and Fort Meade were both established in 1878, and shortly after a half mile track for horse races between the citizens and the soldiers was built. The area surrounding the track was filled with activities like bowling and a covered roller rink that could also double as a dance hall. A flood washed away the race track and the horse stables, but the track was rebuilt in 1911. In 1921, after technological advancements from World War I, the track was modified to allow motorized racing.
In 1936, a small motorcycle club formed, and the following year they began hosting "Field Days" that included both trick riding and speed events. In 1938 they decided to make it an annual event, to be held each August, with "fair-like" events to support the races. 1939 saw the introduction of motorcycle tours through the Black Hills. While the races were suspended from 1942-1945, for World War II, they resumed in 1946 and have been steadily growing ever since. 2015 saw the attendance soar all the way to 750,000 people.
For more information on the Sturgis Rally, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network news archive.
A organization of motorcycle enthusiasts hopes to return the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to its roots in racing. The Rapid City Journal reported that the White Plate Racing Association is seeking to grow and preserve the motorcycle racing aspect of what created the rally in the first place. While attendance was low the first year, last year's 75th rally saw a spike in attendance. Organizers are planning on having greater attendance for the 76th rally this year with better scheduled times for events and some bigger names in the racing industry coming to compete.
To read up on past news articles related to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and its 76th year, be sure to click on this archives link.
For more information on the Rally itself, check out the event's official homepage.
KOTA TV reports that the Full Throttle Saloon is rebuilding after a fire destroyed much of the bar in 2015. The Full Throttle Saloon, also known as the world's largest biker bar, is open with tents constructed to serve beverages. Michael Ballard, owner of the Full Throttle Saloon, is rebuilding a new bar near Pappy Hoel Campground. The site is 6 miles north of Sturgis on Highway 79.
News Center 1 reports drivers/riders need to be aware of speed limit reductions and additional stop lights in the area as the 76th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally approaches. The South Dakota Department of Transportation will reduce the speed limit on parts of Interstate-90 as well as in parts of Sturgis.
The Rapid City Journal reports the current drought situation is affecting agriculture, businesses, and families. The National Weather Service in Rapid City deemed areas in five South Dakota counties to be in extreme (D3) drought conditions. These extreme conditions have resulted in the Small Business Administration giving out Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses. The Farm Services Agency also has some financial aid for ranchers and farmers in the area. The Rapid City Journal reports that these funds have not been active since 2013, but the response so far is positive.
For more news about area droughts, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network news archives.