• Harley-Davidson Inks 75-Year Sponsorship Deal With Sturgis

Ask any motorcycle enthusiast where Sturgis is and that person can probably pinpoint the exact location of the small South Dakota city in any map. That’s the kind of love and affection riders have for the city that has hosted the biggest motorcycle gathering in the US for the past 74 years. This year marks the 75th anniversary of bike convergence in Sturgis, making it the perfect time for Harley-Davidson, one of the most well-represented brands in the annual event, to step in and ensure that Sturgis lives on for another 75 years.

The American bike maker has just signed a deal with the city, making Harley-Davidson the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. That’s a distinction Harley-Davidson will be proud to wear. More importantly, the deal sets up the rally for at least until 2090. I don’t think I’ll be able to live that long, but apparently, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will.

As part of the deal between the city and Harley-Davidson, the latter will build a permanent structure on the main street in the town for events all year round. The road towards building this structure began when a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750 motorcycle tore a brick out of the company’s Milwaukee headquarters. That brick, another one from the brand’s museum, and 73 others from the headquarter’s parking lots will all be part of the new building in Sturgis. Once completed, the location will be able to accommodate a wide variety of events, including concerts, weddings, and obviously, motorcycle gatherings.

Harley expects to finish the project in time for the 75th rally this August, so in the event you’ve already circled Sturgis on your calendars, this is one part about this year’s festivities - and the 75 more to follow - that you can look forward to.

Click past the jump to read more about harley-Davidson’s deal with the city of Sturgis.

Why it matters

It’s pretty cool that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will live on longer than most of us will be alive to see it. I mean, 75 years? That’s a long time from now!

Give credit though to Harley-Davidson and the city of Sturgis for recognising the importance of the rally, not just from an enthusiast’s standpoint, but from a cultural point of view.

We’ve all seen how big the rally has become, especially how mainstream media seems to have adopted it as a must-attend event for any bike enthusiast in America and the whole world for that matter.

This deal is perfect because we get to see the rally take place for another 75 years. A lot of us won’t be around to see what happens from it, but you can be sure that the generation of people that will be around in 50 or 60 years from now will certainly appreciate the fact that steps were taken to ensure that the rally continues to become an important date for bike lovers the world over.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
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Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press Release

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Harley-Davidson and the City of Sturgis, S.D., are setting their sights on the future – far into the future. In the spirit of this year’s 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the company and city officials are finalizing an agreement covering the next 75 years making Harley-Davidson the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Bill Davidson, great-grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, left, and Jeff Wick, Social Media Project Manager at Harley-Davidson celebrate after removing a brick from the historic Milwaukee headquarters using a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street(R) 750 motorcycle. In the spirit of this year’s 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, that brick, alongside one from the Harley-Davidson Museum and 73 bricks from the headquarters’ famous motorcycle-only parking area, will be incorporated into the design.

"Harley-Davidson riders have attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for decades. This new agreement will help fuel many more years of freedom, independence and rebellion for this iconic gathering," said Matt Levatich, president and chief operating officer at Harley-Davidson. "Riding is a passion passed down through generations, so it’s important we celebrate the legacy and history of Harley-Davidson in Sturgis, while helping creating new memories."

As part of the agreement, a permanent plaza will be built on Main Street in Sturgis that will include a stage for events, concerts and even weddings. The year-round location, which will be completed in time for this year’s 75th rally, will be the official Harley-Davidson destination for riders and fans alike.

"For decades, Harley-Davidson has been the motorcycle of choice for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally fans and a great partner to the City of Sturgis," said Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen. "Today it gives me great pleasure to solidify its importance by making it the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally."

Sturgis: Baked into the bricks of Harley-Davidson

To ensure the new multi-purpose space builds on the legacy of the brand and is pure Harley-Davidson, the plaza will integrate bricks from the company’s Milwaukee headquarters, a building that once housed the company’s factory dating back more than 100 years.

During a news conference at the company’s headquarters, Harley-Davidson announced the planned agreement, which has an initial term and renewals running through 2090. To unveil the deal, Harley-Davidson removed a brick from the historic front entrance using a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street® 750 motorcycle. That brick, alongside one from the Harley-Davidson Museum and 73 bricks from the headquarters’ famous motorcycle-only parking area will be delivered to Sturgis on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Whether riders are trapped inside for the winter or riding south toward warmer weather, now is the perfect time to plan a trip to the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The party starts Aug. 1, 2015, and for those who’ve had Sturgis on a bucket list, this might just be the year to attend. For inspiration and pictures from the 2014 rally, visit www.h-d.com/sturgis.

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