The Sturgis City Council was presented with the official statistics from the 2011 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally at their Monday meeting.
This year's rally showed a decrease in attendance, though it was an expected decrease. According to Brenda Vasknetz, rally department director, the drop in attendance was expected due to the 2011 rally following an anniversary year, the increase in gas prices, flooding across the nation, and other economic instabilities.
This year's rally was attended by 416,727 people, which is a negative difference of 50,042 people.
According to Vasknetz, there are five factors that the department takes into account when determining how many people attended the rally, not all of which are specific to the city of Sturgis. They look at the tonnage of garbage hauled out of Sturgis, vendor licenses issued in the city of Sturgis, South Dakota Department of Transportation traffic counts within Sturgis and around the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore traffic counts, and the South Dakota state sales tax collected.
This year's garbage haul was 511.79 tons, down by 12.24 percent. There were 727 vendor licenses issued, down from 761 last year. The DOT counted 415,367 vehicles throughout the Black Hills, down from 459,968 from the year before. Mt. Rushmore saw 55,556 visitors this year, compared to 67,130 last year. Finally, the state collected $411,466 in state sales tax, collected through Sept. 30, down by 9.96 percent over 2010.
"Overall, the 71st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally faired quite well," Vasknetz said. "We were blessed with awesome weather and many attendees and vendors commented that this was one of their better rally experiences. From my perspective, that makes it a very good year."
Other rally statistics show a positive change, with a decrease in calls for sheriff services, rally related deaths, felony drug arrests, Meade County jail visits, and hospital room visits.