Woodruff helps bikers, businesses connect going to and from Sturgis Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings cash not only to local businesses, but also to thousands of other establishments on the unlimited routes to the South Dakota event. Sturgis Buffalo Chip founder Rod Woodruff has created a plan that provides both riders and businesses with incentives to do business with each other along the way to this year’s 72nd annual Rally.
One of the goals for the program is to literally put biker-friendly businesses on a map that riders can use to plan their stops on the trip to Sturgis. It will, at the same time, offer the business an opportunity to incentivize riders to also stop at that business on the return trip home.
Businesses — from motorcycle dealerships to bars and restaurants — along the endless miles of roadway into Sturgis have been invited to participate in the program for a nominal fee. The riders have multiple reasons to stop. Each participating business has a poster with a QR code unique to that business. Each time a rider scans that QR code he or she is entered to win a customized Victory Crossroads motorcycle and matching Epiphone Les Paul guitar, which will be given away live on the Buffalo Chip’s main stage on Friday, Aug. 10 — no purchase necessary.
Riders also have more incentives to stop and scan the QR code. A single scan entitles the rider to collect a free souvenir patch upon his arrival at the Buffalo Chip’s Sturgis Rider Café. The rider is at the same time additionally entitled to collect prize certificates that will entitle the rider to incentives provided by participating businesses for the ride home. The rider further will be given a unique microfiber map showing the best rides in the Black Hills of South Dakota if he or she had scanned the QR code of at least 10 participating businesses.
Riders do not need to be staying at the Chip in order to participate. Riders that take part in the program by visiting partner business on the road are able to pick up the awards they earned at the new, free access Crossroads at the Buffalo Chip development. The Crossroads is located on 20 acres in front of the Chip’s main west gate. Participants will find the redemption desk inside the new 17,000 square-foot Sturgis Rider Café in the center of the Crossroads.
Woodruff feels bikers don’t get enough respect for the economic impact they create. Accordingly, he says a second goal of this program is to help provide data to demonstrate this impact to political officials. “I believe this program will benefit the businesses and at the same time show politicians why you can’t find a hotel room in Sioux Falls, 400 miles away, when riders are headed to or from Sturgis. That’s a big part of what this program is meant to do.”
“I stop at restaurants in Fort Collins, Colo., and they tell me their biggest two weeks of the year are when folks are going to Sturgis and coming home from Sturgis,” Woodruff said. “I’ve had to go as far away as Sheridan, Wyo., to get rooms for people, and that’s 240 miles away. Every hotel around is filled, and the roads coming in are filled. People are coming from everywhere.
“It’s the biggest event for a long ways around, not just South Dakota. We’ll have far more people at the Rally than there will be at the State Fair, but the State Fair gets subsidized, and we get taxed. We have all these people everywhere. It’s one way to show people that this rally is important to people outside of Sturgis. Back in the day you wouldn’t see these ‘Welcome Bikers’ signs that are everywhere now. This program is a small way to put a number on it and show the politicians the desirability of doing business with motorcyclists. The rally is the economic lifeblood of this area, period.”