Money from vending permits for the Sturgis Rally goes to charity

One of the vendors for the motorcycle rally in Sturgis
One of the vendors for the motorcycle rally in Sturgis(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 9:30 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - To sell goods at the Sturgis rally, you have to have a vendor’s permit.

But once you’ve paid the fee -- where does that money go?

Vendors are an important part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; they don’t just help boost the local economy by selling their goods, but also by purchasing their vending permits from the City of Sturgis.

“This represents 20 percent of our sales tax last year,” said Tammy Even-Cordell, the rally and events director for the city of Sturgis

Last year the city of Sturgis brought in more than $1.9 million from the rally. Out of that, $750,000 was from sales tax alone. But for vendors to be able to sell their goods, they must have a vendor’s permit.

Even-Cordell said, “They have to get a vending permit from the city they have to get their sales tax license from the Department of Revenue with the state of South Dakota”.

This permit price can vary depending on the vendor.

“The license they were $1,500 you pretty much would go to the city,” said Braxton Watkins, a worker for the Milwaukee Leather tent

The city of Sturgis does not keep the money that comes from these permits. They instead donate it to local charities.

“Hundred percent of people’s registrations go toward the charities. We don’t give out any of our expenses for the t-shirts or the riders or anything; 100 percent goes to the charities,” said Even-Cordell

Last year the city donated $1.1 million to charities -- including $383,000 from vendor permits. This year, with more vendors asking for the permits, officials estimate that number might be much higher.

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