Motorcycle Rally Canceled, Small Town Feeling The Financial Impact

6,400 bikers attended the 2019 Sturgis Kentucky Bike Rally, bringin nearly $500,000 in revenue for the city of just 1,800 people.

Posted: Sep 9, 2020 11:01 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2020 8:21 PM

"Well last year we had 6,400 bikers come into town, they spend a lot of money, at my bike shop, the grocery store, the dollar story, the restaurants, everyone profits from it" says Carlene Thomas.

She and her husband own a Sturgis, Kentucky motorcycle store, for the last 10 years the couple has also organized "The Sturgis Kentucky Bike Rall".

"We have the bike rally every year the third weekend of July" says Thomas.

Since 1993 bikers from all over have come to enjoy good food, live music, and old stories from longtime friends. The rally generally held in July was postponed until this September weekend due to COIVD-19.

"Our Union County Judge asked us to change it to a later date, so we changed it to September, we had to cancel again because he (County Judge) said there would be to many bikers coming in from out of town and COVID would spread" added Thomas.

"As far away as Evansville, Indiana, the Kentucky Lake area, Madiosnville, Henderson, Kentucky, over in Illinois, the hotels are all full, everyone makes a lot of money during this rally" says Thomas.

With a population of just 1800 people the small Kentucky city depends on the annual bike rally to keep their doors open through the winter months.

"I spent $103,000 just to the people in Union County, I paid, that was out of my check book, like my radios, signs, my port a potties, my workers, out there, thousands and thousands of dollars was lost this weekend because we didn't get to have the bike rally" Thomas says.

Organizers estimate nearly $500,000 will be lost in revenue.

In the last 14 days COVID-19 cases have surged in the small Kentucky community, with 88 news cases, the highest spike in COVID-19 cases for the county since the pandemic began in March.

"We will be back July 15-18,2021, we will beat the virus, and be back better than ever, see you next year" Thomas says.

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