The 81st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in the Black Hills last month generated hundreds of thousands of additional dollars for government coffers.
The South Dakota Department of Revenue released tax collections earlier this month from the annual motorcycle festival. So far, collections sit at $1.79 million, an increase of 34% over last year’s collections, indicating attendees spent more during this year’s rally than in recent years past.
State sales tax accounted for $1,038,561 of the total revenues, compared to $785,251 in 2020 and $733,312 in 2019.
That’s despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Officials expected attendance to skyrocket with over 700,000 attendees for the 2021 rally as a direct rebound from the pandemic’s impact on last year’s attendance, but visitors only tallied up at a little over 525,000.
It’s a far cry from the record 747,032 visitors to the 75th Rally in 2015, but still more than the 460,000 attendees in 2020. The tax revenue from the 2015 rally totaled $2.4 million, which is still the highest in the event’s history.
The increase in spending in 2021 came with a 29% increase in vendors doing business in the Black Hills during the rally. According to the revenue department, 1,014 temporary vendors were licensed, compared to 784 in 2020.