Sturgis Bound: North Dakotans head to 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may be the biggest public event to happen in the entire nation since the pandemic began.
For some North Dakotans, it is the one event they look forward to every summer. And they say not even the coronavirus can keep them away.
LaNita Wald has been going to Sturgis since 1989.
"It became a habit," explains Wald. "I got sucked in and haven't been able to stay away since."
She's only missed one Rally in 31 years. That was for her wedding.
"I was given an ultimatum!" she says with a laugh.
And this year, more than ever, she can't wait to head south.
"We're going! It's a small part of the summer normalcy," says Wald.
Reiny Rittel got his first motorcycle in 1968. He took his first trip to the Sturgis rally in 1986.
"I missed one year. That was in 2001," he recalls.
He only missed then because he had open heart surgery.
"I go every year. I enjoy the bike and the people. It's a lot of fun," says Rittel.
This year, Rittel had second thoughts about making the trip.
"Because of my age," he explains.
He's decided to go, but to take precautions.
"I'll be wearing a mask, using sanitizers and keeping my distance as much as I can," he says.
His neighbor, Ryan Hehr, will be there too.
"This will be our fifth year straight," says Hehr, who will make the trip with his parents.
But this year will be a little different.
"We'll social distance and use sanitizers. I don't know if we'll wear masks, depends on situation," Hehr says.
And, he says they'll be flexible.
"Nothing is set in stone," he explains.
So, if they feel uncomfortable, they'll come home a little early. Afterall, Hehr says, riding the open road really is the best part about going to Sturgis.
The Sturgis rally runs through Saturday, August 16. About 250,000 people are expected to attend.
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