The numbers are in for the motorcycle rallies in Sturgis, South Dakota and Atlantic Beach, South Carolina. Guess who won.
You, and you know who you are, dropped a collective total of $18,822,304 with 954 temporary vendors on things like tee- shirts and collapsible batons at the Black Hills Rally. The figures do not include costs of lodging, fuel or refreshments at permanent restaurants. There were eleven fewer vendors this year than last.
Total tax revenue during the rally that has been reported so far is $1,361,924. Last year’s tax revenue was about $40,000 less.
The South Dakota Department of Revenue divides rally sales and tax statistics between the Northern Hills and the Southern Hills regions. The Northern Hills includes Sturgis, Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish and Belle Fourche. The Southern Hills includes Rapid City and the campgrounds south of that in places like Custer.
The towns in the Northern Hills will realize $1,081,846 from sales and tourism taxes collected during the rally from $15,083,795 in vendor sales there. South Dakota collects a four percent tax on all sales. The state imposes an additional 2.5 percent tourism tax on just about anything you can buy during the rally. The city of Sturgis has its own two percent sales tax.
City Of Sturgis
This year the city of Sturgis had a budget of $7.044,422 and the city anticipated spending $310,000 for rally costs. The largest line item in the city budget is $1,789,519 to pay for cops.
The city anticipated it would make $380,000 from selling “transient merchant” licenses, $100,000 from “franchise fees,” $280,000 from rally rentals, $270,000 from rally sponsorship, $6,500 from rally information booths (because, you know, knowledge is not free), $5,500 from rally parking, $65,000 from a couple of sponsored rides, $17,000 from the photo towers at either end of Main Street and $10,000 in rally website sales.
So Sturgis, South Dakota probably made about $1.6 million from this year’s rally which was almost enough to fund the police.
As the rally sprawls so does the income. This year there were 181 vendors in the Southern Hills and they had gross sales of $3,738,544 which was up about ten percent from last year. Total tax revenues amounted to $280,078.
Black Bike Week
Meanwhile, on the East Coast, the controversial Atlantic Beach Bike Fest rally in South Carolina only generated about $99,000 in income this year.
The rally, which is popularly known as Black Bike Week, made national headlines last May when eight people were shot in multiple incidents that left three people dead. After the rally, Governor Nikki Haley called for the annual event’s cancellation. Mayor Jake Evans has promised that Black Bike Week will continue.
Part of the Atlantic Beach rally’s appeal is the money it injects into the city. This year Atlantic Beach made $80,000 from vendor fees and almost another $20,000 from rentals and other sources. But the city incurred about $48,000 in expenses connected to the rally including $13,000 for cleanup and $10,000 for portable toilets.