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Motorcycle riders stopping in Billings on the way to Sturgis

Posted at 10:58 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 00:58:19-04

The 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally starts on Friday, and riders were stopping in Billings Thursday before heading to South Dakota.

Beartooth Harley Davidson in Billings is a popular stop for maintenance and merchandise before heading to Sturgis, home of one of the nation's largest annual motorcycle rallies.

Many more stop in the morning when it's cooler to avoid riding too much in the heat, according to Beartooth's owners.

Some taking a break in Billings say they are ready for the celebration, even with COVID-19.

"You're out there riding around in a big space like that," said Michael Kelly, who came out from Petaluma, California, with three friends. "Concerts a little bit. It's understandable people would be a little weird. Planning it for a little over a year now, so have got too much into it to back out. Seeing too much fun. And whatever, we're going to go for it."

"I didn't have any hesitation," said Dean Evenson, who came out from outside Seattle with friends. "I've been planning to go for a long time so I was just waiting to see if it was going to happen or not. And apparently it is. Camaraderie and just being with people that enjoy motorcycles, you know, motorcycle enthusiasts. Live music is what I'm looking forward to. It's been a long time. It seems like forever since we've been able to see any music."

"You know I went over Tuesday to pick up a bike," said Barry Usher, Beartooth Harley Davidson owner. "And it seems like the last five or so years, more people are going early and leaving before the big crowds show up and same with afterwards. So it looks like it's starting to turn into a week and half two weeks, maybe even two-and-a-half week event."

Usher said some stop in Billings even if it's not on their way to or from Sturgis because of the good roads to ride, including the Beartooth Highway.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally runs from Aug. 7-16.