Motorcycles, Music and Merch – The Buffalo Chip is Your One-Stop Shop
As Rally-goers roll through the town of Sturgis, many of them make their rounds of Main Street and vendors, then head east out of town on Highway 34 to the most notorious and longest running Sturgis Rally venue – the Buffalo Chip Campground. Since 1982, the Buffalo Chip has been the go-to for all things Rally. It comes from humble beginnings; the very first gathering at the Buffalo Chip was in an open 80-acre field. Called the “Buffalo Chip Picnic,” it was the start of what the Buffalo Chip lovingly calls “The Best Party Anywhere.” Now, The Chip sees numbers anywhere from 250-750 thousand bikers roll through their gates each year. From an empty 80-acre field to the largest, longest-running Rally venue, the Buffalo Chip is its own microcosmos.
Motorcycles are the reason the Chip exists. Everything there either directly or indirectly relates to bikes. The Chip hosts tons of events; one of the favorites is the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride. This 50-mile ride from Deadwood to Sturgis was started in 2008. The bike line is headed up by celebrities and was created to raise money for good causes. This year, it is scheduled for Monday, August 9. Ride Wild, put on by Wild Gypsy Tours, is in its fourth year, and it is the only female-exclusive bike festival at the Rally. There are dozens of bike shows, motorcycles as art exhibits, minibike shows, modeling and dance shows such as the Flaunt Girls, organized rides, and of course, the Miss Buffalo Chip Pageants that take place during the live concerts. Even if you stayed for the full, extended Rally, you would never be able to experience all the motorcycle-related activities. It’s a biker’s dream!
Aside from bikes, one of the biggest draws for Chip visitors is the music. The first performers ever to grace the stage of the Buffalo Chip were Susan Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, and Foggy Notion. The three-night event had a moderate-sized crowd and was played on a makeshift stage. As the Rally grew, so did the Chip’s entertainment playbill. Bands such as Marshall Tucker Band, Ozzy, Steppenwolf, The Charlie Daniels Band, Kidd Rock, and hundreds more have played to packed crowds at the Buffalo Chip. The performance venue has grown from one to multiple stages over the years, and the live concerts they host are truly epic. They have a state-of-the-art light show and installed sound system, so band’s roadies don’t have to completely break their backs loading what would be a massive amount of gear. The Buffalo Chip offers multiple different ticket and campground price packages – you can find them here. Some artists you can look for in 2021 are Kidd Rock and ZZ Top.
Merchandise is also an extremely important component for the Chip. Bikers love mementos of their time at the Rally, whether it’s a patch, a jacket, or a t-shirt. There are countless vendors hawking their wares. You can also find parts vendors for your hog, garage services, tattoo artists… you name it, the Chip probably has it. The Buffalo Chip Garage will tune up and trick out your bike on the spot. Discount Biker Supply makes stainless steel jewelry specifically for bikers. Hattast-ique offers an insane supply of hats: steampunk, fur, top hats, pirate hats, cowboy hats. Merlin’s Hide Out sports hand-crafted leather and fur items. Red Glare is a Veteran-run vendor that handmakes bullets reused and repurposed from their personal firearms. The Chip has everything! And let’s talk about the food vendors – you simply can’t leave the Chip with an empty stomach. From funnel cakes to turkey legs to gourmet grilled cheese, there is an insane variety of eats and treats available for the epicurean.
The Buffalo Chip Campground truly is synonymous with the Sturgis Rally. It should be an item on your bucket list – the visit will be something you never forget.