STRUGIS, S.D. (NewsNation Now) — The Department of Transportation says so far, more than 313,000 vehicles have entered Keystone, South Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
This year is a little bit different for some of the bikers.
Mask wearing is required inside all the buildings here whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. That means anyone who wants to go shopping, get some of the Memorial’s famous ice cream, or enter the visitor’s center, must wear a mask.
Brian Mapps is a biker from Pennsylvania. This is his second time coming to the Rally and Mount Rushmore.
“Some of us have masks in case we want to go shopping, some of us don’t, you know,” Mapps said.
From Kansas to Pennsylvania, bikers are coming from everywhere to visit the Black Hills during the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Riders say this area has some of the best views in the country, which includes the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Two riders from Connecticut said they did not attend the rally last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is my fourth time here and because of COVID we weren’t able to travel anywhere (last year), so being able to get out mask free and enjoy the rally, it’s been extra special this year, it’s been a great time,” said Shari Bailey, a rider from Connecticut.
More than 10 years ago, Jim Corban and Keith Wiese, from Kansas, decided to check the Sturgis Rally off their bucket list. Since then, they’ve made their way back nearly every year.
“100 miles around there’s stuff going on so you can never get to every place. 12 years and I don’t think I’ve seen half of it yet,” Corban said.
The two explained Mount Rushmore is always a must-stop when they take their trip to Sturgis.
“It’s just a pretty ride, you gotta stop here,” Wiese said.
“It’s just fun. The first time I was here was in ’93, I’ve been here seven or eight times. I always come up during the rally but if I have my kids here, it’s also a lot of fun,” Corban added.
With expectations of extremely high visitor numbers this year, some returning bikers say they see a major increase in traffic compared to previous years.
NewsNation affiliate KELO contributed to this report
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