Walking through the streets of Sturgis three short weeks ago, I was blown away. Having never been to the rally, I had made every attempt to mentally prepare for the number of motorcycles and people I’d see in the normally sleepy city of 6,627 people.
However, I had no idea how many motorcycles I would see not only on Main and Lazelle streets, but on the side streets of the city, at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, at Black Hills Harley-Davidson, throughout Rapid City, in the city of Wall 80 miles away and everywhere leading in and out of the city.
My first thought was: How lucky am I to get to be in Sturgis for the 75th! But my second was: The motorcycle segment is alive and well!
And that was just the motorcycles, I also spotted a few side-by-sides rolling down Lazelle and Main, and campgrounds like those at the Buffalo Chip were packed with ATVs and side-by-sides that campers were using to travel from their campsite to the concert area.
It’s easy to get discouraged by a slow traffic day at the dealership, or a disappointing product launch, or production issues. Some days we may want to throw in the towel and become negative about our niche industry.
But, if you open your eyes and look toward the positive, it’s not hard to see the powersports industry is doing well, and there will be powersports enthusiasts as long as we continue to introduce new people to the sport and produce new, innovative vehicles that give our customers an adrenaline rush.
Not only did those at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally go to be part of the event and ride the beautiful Black Hills region, but they also went to spend. Nowhere was that more evident that at Black Hills Harley-Davidson, where Terry Rymer, co-owner and GM of the dealership, lined up hundreds of bikes, which seemed to be flying out of the dealership. At the Mustang Seats booth, bikes were lined up, waiting for the install of new bike seats. Downtown, at J&P Cycles, the store was packed with people buying accessories for their Sturgis ride. And I could go on and on with examples like this.
People were genuinely excited to be at the rally. Many took their only vacation of the year to ride to South Dakota for the sole reason of celebrating their love for motorcycles.
What other industries can say their customers are that passionate about their products? You won’t find people traveling to celebrate their laundry soap or coffee or weed whip. So let’s take a second to appreciate the exciting industry we live in and be grateful for the customers who spend their hard earned money on the products we produce and sell. The powersports industry is exhilarating and fun and continuing to serve a wide and enthusiastic group of customers.
Liz Keener is the managing editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She assembles the brand’s three-times-a-week e-news and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive national dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis, Power 50 dealership honors program and dealership conference, Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo.