Def Leppard to follow dangerous high wire walk at Sturgis

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip, hailed as The Best Party Anywhere®, has added multi-platinum, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Def Leppard to the list of rock superstars performing at its annual event this summer, which runs August 4-13 at The Buffalo Chip Campground in Sturgis, South Dakota. Headliners announced so far include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Limp Bizkit, ZZ Top, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Whiskey Myers, Koe Wetzel, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Def Leppard will perform after the Death Wire Daredevil Spectacular set on August 10. Photo courtesy of The Chip

Campground passes include entry to all shows at the amphitheater. 

The four-decade-old, 10-day gathering of music fans and motorcycle enthusiasts also revealed plans for a first-of-its-kind Death Wire Daredevil Spectacular that will happen just prior to the Def Leppard set at The Chip on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Blake The Flying Wallenda will attempt one of the longest high wire walks of his career, “The Death Wire Walk,” over the Sturgis Buffalo Chip amphitheater with no safety netting, while motorcycle Wall of Death daredevil Kyle Ives jumps a motorcycle over him, a feat that the legendary Evel Knievel and Karl Wallenda wouldn’t attempt. Blake and Ives are the descendants of the godfathers of extreme sports – The Flying Wallenda Brothers and the Ives Brothers. 

“Fifty years ago, when my great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, produced a daredevil show with Evel Knievel, the two conceived the plan to execute this stunt, but for some reason they didn’t follow through on it,” Blake Wallenda says. “Some speculated that it was too dangerous, but that’s just what these amazing daredevils lived for. I know that I’ll be honoring their memories by my attempt, and that’s why I have decided to go through with this deadly performance without any safety tether or safety netting. Everything about this whole event is unprecedented. But if I’m not scaring myself, I’m not doing my job right.”

The Buffalo Chip founder Rod “Woody” Woodruff and Wall of Death stunt rider Shawn Ives dreamed up the idea to attempt the sensational stunt to pay tribute to daredevil Robbie Knievel, son of Evel, who passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer. Shawn Ives, father of Kyle, is a cancer survivor. To honor both men, The Chip has teamed up with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, a non-profit organization with a long history of working with the motorcycling community, for a fundraising effort dubbed Ride for the Kids to The Chip. More info at

“We’re thrilled to welcome Def Leppard back to The Chip’s main stage,” Woodruff said. “The Death Wire Walk is the kind of performance that will go down in history. When we were thinking of ways to remember Robbie at this year’s event, I knew we had to put together something bold, dangerous and daring enough to celebrate him. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event and knowing that it will also raise money for kids with cancer ensures that its legacy will live on for years to come.”

Before Def Leppard takes the stage on Aug. 10, Blake The Flying Wallenda will be challenged to walk 475 feet across the middle of the Buffalo Chip’s main amphitheater on a steel wire that has a diameter of only 5/8 of an inch. A couple hundred feet into his walk, as he reaches a spot above Main Street in the Buffalo Chip amphitheater, Kyle Ives, wearing Robbie Knievel’s famous signature jumpsuit, will throttle his motorcycle up a specially built ramp in hopes of flying so high that he flies over Wallenda, without striking the wire, the daredevil or the balance beam. If he accomplishes all that, Ives will still have to make a landing and Blake will have to walk the remaining distance of about 175 feet.