Since 1938, bikers have been coming to Sturgis to watch motorcycle races, admire well-made machinery, swap stories and enjoy the open roads of the Black Hills. This year, the 75th Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™ could attract as many as 1.2 million bikers.
That's twice the number of any previous rally. (If you do the math, you might wonder why wasn’t the 75th rally in 2013? Because the event was cancelled for two years during World War II.)
The popularity of the Sturgis Rally has transformed the Rushmore Region in important ways. A number of companies that manufacture motorcycle parts, accessories and products geared toward the motorcycling public have made the Rushmore Region their full-time place of business.
For both business and pleasure, the Rushmore Region’s climate is optimal. The high, dry air features the best of all four seasons. Low taxes and less regulation provide corporate comfort that few states can offer. The workforce is skilled, and very familiar with the unique world of motorcycling. These are some of the companies that do business here year round:
Terry Components. Founder Keith Terry built his first custom bike in 1994. More than two decades ago, Keith and his wife Fran have built their business, Terry Components, into a major supplier of motorcycle starter motors and battery cables. As a vendor, Keith made the trek each year to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. In 2004, they moved their company to Spearfish from Southern California.
Legend Suspensions. Founder Jesse Jurrens is originally from Watertown, S.D. He developed his first motorcycle air shock while still in high school. This innovation led to the creation of Legend Air Suspensions. In 2000, he moved his company to the Rushmore Region. Now based in Sturgis, Legend Suspensions makes air and coil suspension systems for Harley Davidson models, off-road UTVs and other vehicles.
Competition Distributing Machine Works. Lonnie and Marianne Isam moved their company to Sturgis from Houston in 2006. They specialize in making and distributing parts for pre-1936 Harley-Davidsons, early Indians and other vintage bikes. “For mail order, this location is a plus-plus-plus,” he said. “We can ship to anywhere in the Lower 48 states in two to three days,” Isam said.
Prough Design. Custom bike designer Michael Prugh grew up in Casper, Wyo., and graduated from college in Denver. His first softtail chassis design -- long and low -- launched a craze for the “Lowlife Chassis.” That first bike was featured on American Thunder, launching his career in the custom bike business. In 2006, he launched Prugh Design, based in Rapid City.