It’s time for motorcycles to invade the Black Hills once again, as the Custer Cruisin’ Rally begins Aug 2 in conjunction with the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which officially begins Friday, Aug. 3.
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 so Cruisin’ vendors can set up their tents. Vendors will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day of the event.
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. 7. The event is open for everyone, with registration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 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 ride is 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. 385 toward Crazy Horse Memorial, where there will be a group photo taken in the memorial’s parking lot. The ride continues to Hill City, where riders will draw their second card at the city park.
From there, riders will take Old Hill City Road to Keystone and go to Iron Mountain Road where the third card draw will take place at the Iron Mountain picnic ground.
After entering Custer State Park, riders will cruise down Hwy. 16A to the Custer State Park Visitor Center, where they will draw their fourth card. The group will then proceed to the Stockade Lake spillway for more photos before heading back to Custer for the final stop at Mt. Rushmore Brewery, where riders will draw their final card and eat dinner.
The cost of the ride is $30 per participant and $25 per passenger. When registering, the participant can receive a bonus card for another $5. Those who preregister by July 6 will receive one free draw for both driver and rider. The first 50 paid participants will receive an event T-shirt, a one-day Custer State Park pass for each bike and a welcome bag with various items in it including Custer Cash and a Custer Cruisin’ pin, courtesy of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce.
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. 9, with registration from 10 a.m. to noon at the Custer VFW located at 721 Mt. Rushmore Rd. The public is invited to participate.
The run will depart the VFW at noon and the first poker hand is $25, with a second hand available at $15. All proceeds will go toward construction of the Custer Veterans Memorial.
The route will begin with a ride to Custer Regional Senior Care to visit with veterans and family residents at the facility. The ride will proceed to Custer State Park via Sylvan Lake Road to Hwy. 16 and on to Wind Cave National Park on Hwy. 87. Poker card drawings will be available at registration, the Hot Springs American Legion Post Home, the Hitchrail Bar in Pringle and at the Custer VFW following the ride.
Following the ride, there will be a meal and live music provided for the riders. A military-honoring ceremony will also follow the ride, which includes the playing of our National Anthem, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
The veterans memorial committee hopes that by the time Veterans Day comes around this November, the memorial, located just south of the intersection of 5th and Washington streets, will be ready to be dedicated in a special ceremony.
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.
Officials encourage residents to 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 vehicles
• Doctor’s visits
• Going to the post office
• Renewing driver’s licenses
• Getting license plates renewed
People are encouraged to use either Washington or Crook Street to get around.
People are encouraged to follow the county’s twitter account and Facebook page for rally updates. They can be found at CusterSD_EM (twitter) and facebook.com/pages/Custer-County-South-Dakota-Emergency-Management.
Custer Cruisin’ runs through Aug. 12.