Sturgis Rally wins unanimous trademark support from City Council

News release

Officials with the non-profit Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. are pleased to announce that, in an historic meeting on July 29, 2013, the Sturgis City Council unanimously endorsed a resolution in support of SMRi and its ownership and licensing of trademarks pertaining to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The Council’s vote came two weeks after initial discussions on the resolution to support the organization and its volunteer board began. The final vote saw a change in positions by a previously self-described “king” of SMRi opponents and an acknowledged “fence sitter.”

“We see this as a big step toward unifying the community and educating those in Sturgis and beyond about our work to help the people of Sturgis,” said Dean Kinney, Chairman of the SMRi board. “If we don’t protect this intellectual property, someone else will; and we’re determined to help the community realize the financial benefit it deserves for hosting this event.”

This unprecedented move by the Council to extend an official endorsement on behalf of the City of Sturgis to SMRi and the work it does was taken after dozens of local citizens spoke about the organization, with 90 percent in favor of the resolution. After the official vote was taken and the resolution was unanimously approved, those in attendance applauded.

City officials note that the trademarks managed by SMRi have been the source of the largest Rally-related revenue the community receives. The City’s official sponsorship program, enabled pursuant to a license with SMRI regarding the trademarks, brought in more than a quarter-million dollars in 2012.

“When you cut through the rumors and wild accusations it becomes clear who really is looking out for Sturgis,” Kinney said. “And every dollar spent on legal services to defend these trademarks is a dollar that is not available to local charities; and if these trademarks are declared to be in the public domain, that revenue, that support for the least-fortunate in the community, goes away.”

Each of the past two years has seen a $50,000 donation by SMRi to Sturgis Rally Charities Inc., which directly supports Sturgis-area non-profits with its own donations. At the recent meeting where the resolution passed Council president Tim Potts said matching funds and receiving funds from another organization is critical.

“You heard ABC say the contribution from SMRi helped them get a $500,000 grant,” he said. “You heard the dental bus was over $300,000. Think about the multiplier factor when you are talking about the $188,000 given out in the past few years. You can see by just a few that spoke that’s over a million bucks that is coming back to our community and when you take into consideration the multiplier effect that helps my citizens, my voters, I vote yes.”

The official resolution supporting SMRi is available at

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