The ground will shake and the roar of motorcycles will return to Custer beginning this Friday, Aug. 4, when the annual Custer Cruisin’ Rally begins in conjunction with the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which officially begins Monday, Aug. 7.
As always, Mt. Rushmore Road will be barricaded for center lane parking for motorcycles, with one lane of traffic heading both east and west from 5th Street to 8th Street. In addition, city crews will block off south 6th Street Wednesday so Cruisin’ vendors can set up Thursday. Vendors will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
There are special scheduled events taking place in Custer, including the annual Veterans Ride and Ceremony and the Mayor’s Ride and Poker Run.
The annual Mayor’s Ride and Poker Run is Tuesday, Aug. 8. The event is open for everyone, with registration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Custer VFW. Riders will meet at the Veteran’s Memorial on Washington Street, where they will then leave as a group after a brief road captain’s meeting.
This year’s ride will be a poker run, with riders earning a card at each stop. The first card will be drawn at registration at the Custer VFW.
The ride will leave Custer on Hwy. 16 toward Custer State Park, with the first stop at Sylvan Lake Lodge, where the second card will be drawn. The route will continue on Hwys. 87 and 244, where the second stop will be in Keystone. After the third card is drawn, the ride will continue to Hermosa, where the fourth card will be drawn at the Conoco gas station located on the corner of highways 79 and 36.
The ride will conclude at the Custer VFW, where the fifth card will be drawn and the riders’ poker hands will be turned in. While waiting for the winners to be announced, dinner will be served.
The cost of the ride is $30 per participant and $25 per passenger. When registering, participants may receive a bonus card for $5. The first 50 paid participants will receive an event T-shirt, a two-day Custer State Park pass and a welcome bag from the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce for each bike.
The Mayor’s Ride and Poker Run is sponsored by the Custer Cruisin’ Committee and FourFront Design, Inc., of Rapid City.
The annual Custer Cruisin’ Veterans Appreciation Day is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10, and will kick off with a Veterans Appreciation Ride and Poker Run.
Registration for the event will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Custer VFW. The group will depart from Custer shortly after noon.
The cost for the ride is $25 for the first poker hand and $15 for the second. All proceeds from the event will go to the Custer Veterans Memorial Fund.
Following the ride, a Military Honoring Ceremony will begin with a 21-gun salute, the National Anthem and Taps. That wil be followed by a meal and live music at the VFW.
New to the Custer Cruisin’ lineup this year is a week-long presentation by the Certified Escort Riders of America (CERA), which will offer skills instruction, certification testing and certification practice throughout the week. CERA will begin each day with skills demonstrations at 10 a.m., followed by solo riders’ skills instruction, skills demonstration with passenger, solo or passenger skills instruction, challenge box, certification practice and certification testing.
This year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Custer Cruisin’ will undoubtedly bring a large number of motorcycles to the area, creating slower traffic throughout the Hills and longer lines at local businesses.
Because of that, officials encourage local residents to pre-plan their personal affairs before the Rally starts. Such things include, but are not limited to:
• Stocking up on groceries and other supplies
• Filling prescriptions
• Getting gas for automobiles
• Doctor’s visits
• Going to the post office
• Renewing driver’s licenses
• Getting license plates renewed
People are encouraged to not use Mt. Rushmore Road and to use either Washington or Crook Street to get around.
As a way to quickly get information to the public with rally updates, people may follow the county’s twitter account and Facebook page. They can be found at CusterSD_EM (twitter) and facebook.com/pages/Custer-County-South-Dakota-Emergency-Management.
Custer Cruisin’ runs through Aug. 13.