Riders come to Sturgis for fun, family

Motorcycles line the streets of Sturgis for The Rally in Sturgis, Mississippi. The event is expected to bring more than 3,000 motorcycles to Sturgis this weekend. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

Jo Bullard rode into The Rally at Sturgis, Mississippi on Friday.

The Woodland native was returning to the rally for the second year astride her white Honda Goldwing trike, a gift she had received for her 80th birthday.

“My kids were going off and leaving me at home," Bullard said. "I just enjoy it since I got started.”

Bullard is one of approximately 3,000 riders expected for the rally this year and will join the annual celebration entering its 18th year, featuring bike shows, group rides, a dice run, music, and food.

Like Bullard, Dan Haile of Guntown was also attending his second Sturgis rally. However, the 70-year-old enthusiast was a veteran rider.

Haile said he started riding in the early 1960s when he was 17. He had owned motorcycles built by Yamaha, BSA and Honda before moving to Harley-Davidsons, including the 2016 Street Glide he rode to Sturgis on.

Haile spoke about some of the features built into his Harley.

“I liked the cruise control and navigation,” Haile said of the Street Glide. "My old bike didn’t have that. The electronic cruise control is really worth the money. You just set it, and it’s like a car. You just cruise along.”

Haile said he rode in on Friday to get to Sturgis ahead of the Saturday crowds.

“The guys I ride with usually, most of them are working, so I decided I would drive down on Friday,” Haile said.

Sturgis native Jerry Bean has attended the rally since the early days, and had his Harley-Davidson Road King parked along Fraizier Street.

“This is a big event for most of Mississippi," Bean said. "There are people coming here from all over the country even. I wouldn’t hesitate to say at least 10 different states, probably a lot more.”

In addition to Harleys and Hondas, bikes built by Yamaha, Triumph, BMW and other manufacturers were also present.

Rally Vice President George Jones spoke to the rally’s family-oriented nature.

“We have the bands set up on home plate, and a lot of times there’s kids playing football in the outfield,” Jones said.

Saturday night's entertainment at the rally will include the Black Water Trio at 8 p.m. followed by Little Texas at 10 p.m. The event will end with the blessing of the bikes hosted by the Christian Motorcyclists Association at 9 a.m. Sunday.

On Friday afternoon, rally participants rode into Starkville for a barbecue dinner at Village Cycle Center.