|Rally comes to an official close|
|Sunday, 12 August 2012 20:38|
Sturgis was a much different place Sunday as the 2012 Rally came to an end. There were still a few bikers around. But the last official day of the rally was a day for traveling.
Downtown Sturgis, there were still a few bikers around, and the loudspeakers were still relaying rally messages along with biker rock 'n' roll. But the cars had returned to Main Street. The town of Sturgis was quickly returning to normal.
Out at the Chip the job of picking up and packing up was underway. Many of the campgrounds around Sturgis had emptied out almost completely by mid–afternoon. The few campers that remained were vendors, for the most part, doing last–minute cleanup, taking down stalls and tents, and packing up surplus inventory. Campground operators said it was good year for the Rally.
Matt Bruer says, "We had a very good year this year. A lot of people showed up, it would seem to be, from last year. For sure. They came early too."
The Rally traffic this year turned out to be a bit larger than last year, according to some preliminary traffic counts. But the official stats won't be out for awhile.
In the meantime, the big job for the next several days is cleaning up. There is a lot of refuse to haul away, a lot of barricades to take down, a lot of ribbons, streamers, banners and signs to roll up, tables to fold up, cables to roll up, and lights to take down. And we'll have to get used to the sound once again of birds tweeting and crickets chirping.
As the rally wraps up, some final numbers are being released and it seems this was a somewhat dangerous year on the roads. The South Dakota Highway Patrol says nine people died at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, that's more than double of last year's four fatalities.
The Patrol says DUI arrests were also up from last year with a total of 251.
Regional Health says system wide, 39 remained hospitalized this morning with rally–related injuries.
Al Van Zee