According to a report in the Rapid City Journal, Harley-Davidson Corporate is ending its 20 year tradition of displaying new models and hosting its HOG members at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and moving it's base to the Sturgis Community Center. Brian Maliski, the civic center’s general manager was quoted as saying, My understanding was that the new Harley CEO wanted to be in Sturgis itself."
Harley-Davidson was paying the Rapid City civic center $31,000 for the 10 day August event.
During the event, the local dealer, Black Hills Harley-Davidson set up and sold merchandise at the Rapid City venue, but not corporate, which only displays new motorcycles. The dealership was not a part of the discussions or decision to move to Sturgis.
*Added Tuesday April 20th. Harley-Davidson issued the following press release
Harley-Davidson will move its 2010 rally experience to two all-new locations in the heart of Sturgis, S.D., where the Motor Company will celebrate the 70th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with customers and motorcycle enthusiasts August 6-14, 2010.
The Harley-Davidson Road Tour with the newly released 2011 Harley-Davidson® motorcycles, Genuine Motor Accessories, MotorClothes® merchandise and H.O.G.® members-only pin stop will run from Friday, Aug. 6 through Saturday, Aug. 14 at the intersection of Lazelle and 3rd streets in downtown Sturgis. All Harley-Davidson activities in Sturgis are free of charge.
Harley-Davidson demo rides for 2011 motorcycles will be available in Sturgis at a location near Interstate 90 at Exit 30. More details on the exact location, dates and hours of demo rides and other Harley-Davidson activities in Sturgis will follow in the coming weeks.
“Right smack in the middle of Sturgis seems like the ideal place for Harley-Davidson to spend the week,” said Steve Piehl, Harley-Davidson Director, Consumer Events Marketing. “We recently made a similar move to an outdoor rally experience for Daytona Bike Week this year and it was extremely popular. We listen closely to our customers and believe that they will love the new Sturgis locations for our Road Tour activities, demo rides and H.O.G. pin stop.”
In recent years, most Harley-Davidson activities for the Sturgis Rally had been located in Rapid City, S.D. at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. “We really enjoyed working with the staff at the Civic Center in Rapid City and have been very pleased with the service and facility over the years,” Piehl said. “We feel that our move to Sturgis will give us the opportunity to reach significantly more rally attendees than we could in Rapid City.”