The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: Thousands of Short-Term Jobs for RVers

The Sturgis motorcycle rally is a gold mine of jobs for RVers. Here's how I got started working there. I was riding my bike through Spearfish, South Dakota, and stopped at an independent motorcycle repair shop. I really didn’t need anything, but like to stop just to look and see what’s new. I’d been to the shop two or three times before, once to buy a tube for my rear tire.

The shop was busy. I stayed out of the way and let the owner take care of business. All of a sudden he yelled across the showroom, “Hey, do you have time to change a tire”? I didn’t know he was talking to me at first. He explained he was busy and couldn't keep up with the work.

A customer needed a tire changed -- now. He knew I had purchased an inner tube, so he assumed I could change a tire. If I would do it, he said he would make it right with me later. I changed the tire. Everybody was happy. He asked if I wanted to work for a couple of weeks until the rally was over. That’s how I got a job working at a motorcycle shop during the Sturgis motorcycle rally and races.

Motorcycle RallyA Motorcycle Rally Creates Thousands of Short Term Jobs for RVers

The Sturgis motorcycle rally, officially "The Black Hills Motor Classic," is an annual event. Hundreds of thousands of people gather for the largest motorcycle rally in the world. The 2015 attendance was pegged at over 700,000 people. The Jack Pine Gypsies Motorcycle Club started it in 1938.

It is held the first full week in August, in Sturgis, South Dakota, and the surrounding area. There are literally hundreds of businesses that show up the week before the bike rally, set up, and run for 10 days. They then tear down, pack up, leave, and aren’t seen in the area for another 49 weeks.

The Sturgis motorcycle rally is too big for the little town of Sturgis, which has a population of less than 7,000 people. It encompasses the whole Black Hills area and western part of the state, over flowing into Wyoming.

Bike RallyThe Bike Rally Provides RVers with All Sorts of Temporary Jobs

The revenue from the 2015 event was over $800 million. That amount of money changing hands in 10 days means there are a lot of temporary jobs. Jobs include most anything you can think of, plus many you can't imagine.

Work is available with anything that has to do with food or drink, like cooking, serving, delivering, washing dishes, and bar tending. Maybe you want to deep fry alligator or rattle snake, this is the place to do it. Permanent restaurants hire. So do numerous temporary food vendors.

Lodging is at a premium in the area. They need help for any work that needs to be done in a motel or hotel, like the front desk, maid service, pool maintenance, and so on. Established RV parks need help. Hundreds of camping areas open up just for the rally.

Local business and temporary vendors sell anything from 3-for-$10 t-shirts to $50,000 motorcycles, to $ 1,000,000 motor homes. Realtors are busy selling Black Hills properties and homes to rally goers. Those businesses need workers. You can also set up as a vender, making money while you hawk your own goods and services.

If you can fix things, there are things to fix. Cars, trucks, computers, RVs, cell phones, trailers, tires, jewelry, and numerous other items get broken, and people are willing to pay to have them fixed.

The Blacks Hills is a summer tourist area, with many tourist attractions. They are busy during the rally, and most need extra part-time help. Sturgis, of course, but also surrounding communities of Deadwood, Hill City, Custer, Keystone, Spearfish, and others.

Security positions are available all over the area. It might be watching a gate or checking wristbands at an event. It could be as a bouncer at a bar or beer garden. Policemen, troopers, deputies, sheriffs, members of the military, and officers retired from those fields are hired by local police departments. They are hired for patrols and desk and dispatch duties.

With a little ambition, you can find just about any job you would like to do during The Black Hills Motor Classic. Many businesses plan and hire extra help for the rally. If you don't want to commit ahead of time, you can just walk around and look for “Now Hiring” signs. If you want to work at the Sturgis motorcycle rally, all you need to do is show up, and be willing.


Coleen's comments: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article about working at the Sturgis motorcycle rally. It's a good example of how to use your hobbies and interest to find work. It's also a good example of how to find work by going to places where there are workers doing work you can do. Riding a Harley wasn't a prerequisite for this job. But, for a guy who rides and is interested in bikes, it sure worked out well.

More of Bob's RV work articles.

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