Angel Staley, 28, has missed only one Sturgis motorcycle rally since she was 5 years old and definitely has an opinion on where the rally is headed.
Staley, of Preschool Choppers, a motorcycle repair business and longtime vendor at the rally, said she attended the first Sturgis Post Rally Summit on Wednesday to get some perspective on the direction the Sturgis motorcycle rally is taking.
And frankly, as a millennial, she's not real happy with the path it's on.
Staley said she believes people her age are socially progressive and want to work to improve the human condition, so when she sees something like the sexualization of women or the sale of Confederate flags at an event, they can be a turnoff.
"We want the experience of something unique and authentic, and the rally provides that, but unfortunately, I feel like there is a lot of flash and showiness to the rally," she said.
Patrick Dame, director of Rapid City Regional Airport, said he attended the summit in hopes of forging some relationships with Sturgis rally officials.
"I've met some folks associated with the rally, but I really want to get a good understanding of where it is the rally is headed and how can we be a better partner," he said.
Dame said he and his staff meet annually with Regional's air carriers and having good data concerning the rally and those who attend would be valuable. "It might get us more flights or more seats in our market, or even new destinations," he said.
Sturgis Rally & Events Director Jerry Cole sounded the battle cry of the Three Musketeers in his assessment of marketing the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally.
His "one for all and all for one" theme seemed to carry the day at the first Sturgis Post Rally Summit. "For two weeks in August, like it or not, we're all in this together," Cole said. "Let's get together and figure out what works. When we bring more people in, everybody will succeed."
Cole said the Post Rally Summit grew from a conversation with partners in the city's digital marketing campaign last spring.
"We told them that we would give them the information of how we did with the campaign following the rally," he said.
Those partners and other city officials decided that not only should the marketing partners be privy to the information, but anyone who wanted it should be. "We want to grow the rally. So, in order to do that, Sturgis Rally and Events and the city of Sturgis know we can't do it alone," he said.
The first day of the summit included information about the city's digital marketing campaign that was implemented prior to the 77th Sturgis motorcycle rally.
Brad Jurgensen of the HomeSlice Media Group, which has the contract with the city to market the Sturgis motorcycle rally, said from their calculations, the digital marketing launched before this year's rally helped increase attendance from specifically targeted areas by 91,200. He said it had a direct economic return for South Dakota of more than $90 million.
Kristi Sandal, spokeswoman for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, said counters at nine locations around Sturgis show that 469,103 vehicles entered Sturgis this year, as compared with 463,941 in 2016, for the period from Aug. 4 through Aug. 13.
Sandal said the week started out strong, but said, compared to last year, the numbers declined Friday, down 8.9 percent, Saturday, down 10 percent, and Sunday, down 15 percent.