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The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, usually the first full week of August. The first rally was held on August 14, 1938, by the "Jackpine Gypsies" motorcycle club, who still own and operate the tracks, hillclimb, and field areas where the rally is centered. The first event was called the "Black Hills Classic" and consisted of a single race with nine participants and a small audience. The founder is generally considered to be Clarence "Pappy" Hoel. He purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis in 1936 and formed the "Jackpine Gypsies" that same year. The focus of a motorcycle rally was originally racing and stunts. In 1961, the rally was expanded to include the Hillclimb and Motocross races. This could include half-mile track racing (the first year in Sturgis, there were 19 participants), intentional board wall crashes, ramp jumps and head-on collisions with automobiles. The Sturgis Rally has been held every year, with exceptions during World War II. For instance, in 1942, the event was not held due to gasoline rationing. This rally is known as a rowdy affair, generally unsuitable for small children. Public alcohol consumption/drunkenness and public nudity are occasional problems for the local police. In recent years, there has been a revitalization of motorcycling and a new group of fans that are interested in the old rallies. This has led to huge attendance numbers for classic rallies such as Sturgis. Attendance was estimated at 514,951 in 2004, 525,250 in 2005, and 754,844 in 2000—statistics rivaling South Dakota's population. Many of the new attendees of the Sturgis Rally are families, bringing their children and driving trailers and campers to the rally, riding their motorcycles the last few miles. This has prompted several of the attendees to start wearing patches and shirts saying "I Rode Mine to Sturgis" with the date instead of the traditional patch stating that the wearer attended the event in that year. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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