Each August it happens with the reliability of Old Faithful: More than 500,000 bikers overtake sleepy Sturgis, S.D., and other nearby towns with rumbling engines, sprawling campgrounds, raucous concerts and audacious stunts.
Visible everywhere are tricked-out motorcycles, ornate tattoos, overflowing biker bars and topless women wearing pretty much nothing but body paint from the waist up. But these days, if you look carefully enough, you’ll spot other burgeoning staples of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: hand and shoulder massages to help relax stiff joints; cushy RVs equipped with comfortable beds; biker goggles outfitted with bifocals.
The Sturgis rally is in its 72nd year — and that’s about the same age as some of its most devoted attendees. Unlike other massive outdoor festivals that appeal mainly to the 25-and-under crowd, Sturgis continually draws an array of colorful regulars who are in their 70s and 80s and haven’t seemed to notice.