STURGIS MUSTANG RALLY
Galloping through the Black Hills of South Dakota
The name Sturgis usually conjures visions of thousands of motorcycles converging on the Black Hills to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the largest events of its type in the country. However, two weeks after all the beer bottles have been swept up and the throaty roar of a gazillion throbbing Harley-Davidsons has faded into the distance, Sturgis becomes the cruising destination for the Sturgis Mustang Rally, or SMR, as the insiders like to call it.
The SMR was cofounded some 12 years ago by Frank Lawton and the late Gary Lipold, and governed by the Sturgis Mustang Rally Committee, which currently consists of Lawton, Robin Shrake, Ed Hinker, Leland Hollis, Dan Jacobson, and Butch and Patty Shields. As you might imagine, staging an event of this magnitude requires an army, in this case 80-plus hardcore Mustang enthusiasts working strictly on a volunteer basis, and you couldn’t meet a more welcoming bunch of folks. The result was a smooth running, fun event that this year attracted entries from 35 states, Europe, and Canada. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,100 earlyand late-model Mustangs converged on Sturgis’ Main Street.
The Sturgis Mustang Rally, or Mustang Week, as it is also known, kicked off with “Mustang Monday” and events that included a concert and a burnout exhibition.
Tuesday’s activities included event registration and a golf tournament, with proceeds from the event donated to the Wounded Warrior Family Support Foundation. On Wednesday, BFGoodrich sponsored two high-performance driving schools, held before and after the Military & Veterans Tribute Cruise, led by Wounded Warriors Family Support specialist Ed Mardiat.
Another cruise on Thursday took in the sights at Spearfish Canyon and the Spearfish Canyon Lodge, followed by a visit to the mining town of Lead, and then to the streets of Deadwood for the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Main Street Show and Shine.
On Friday, SMR attendees were treated to the Black Hills Poker Run, sponsored by Roush Performance. They took in the awesome sights of the Black Hills, including Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and an optional stop at Mount Rushmore. The well-attended run was followed by the Gateway (Mustang Club) Classic Ride Along segment at the Thunderdome Arena, followed by a drifting exhibition and drifting and barrel-racing competitions.
Mustangs lined up as early as 6 on Saturday morning to stage for the Show and Shine competition on Main Street, which consisted of 82 classes and a total of 36 judges. Following the annual group photo shot by Bob Davis (thanks for letting us share the photo platform, Bob!) was the Sturgis Mustang Rally/Main Street Parade. After that, everyone congregated at the Loud American Road House for the Loud Pipes Contest. Saturday’s activities concluded with drag racing at nearby Sturgis eighth-mile Dragway.
Following Sunday morning’s Cowboy Church, the SMR drew to a close with the final rounds of autocross and the Barrett Jackson– hosted dinner and awards ceremony. A highlight of the banquet was the auctioning of the Roush Bandit/Sturgis Mustang Rally 2018 Limited Edition convertible, the proceeds of which went to the Wounded Warrior Family Support Foundation. Brian and Nancy Lahti of Tower, Minnesota, were the winning bidders.
We’d like to extend a special thank you to Deadwood’s Cadillac Jack’s Hotel & Casino for the outstanding accommodations, and Front Range, Colorado, Mustangers Bill and Karla Puck for serving as our chauffeurs throughout the event. The 13th SMR will be held over Labor Day weekend 2019; visit sturgismustangrally.com for more information.