Sturgis was founded in 1876 and is the county seat of Meade County. The community is named after General Samuel D. Sturgis, a commander at nearby Fort Meade Cavalry Post.
During the Great Western Expansion, Fort Meade served as a United States Cavalry Post to nearly every cavalry regiment in the United States Army. The Star Spangled Banner became part of the evening military retreat ceremony at Fort Meade in 1892, long before it became our National Anthem.
Sturgis is famous for being the location of one of the largest annual motorcycle events in the world, which is held annually on the first full week of August. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world flock to this usually sleepy town during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The rally got its start in 1938 when J.C. “Pappy” Hoel hosted a dirt track race with nine riders that set a course in Sturgis history.
The history of Sturgis also must include the background of Bear Butte rising above the prairie just northeast of town. It is a geological wonder referred to as “Mato Paha,” or sleeping bear, by the Sioux Indians and is the origin of many Native American legends.