The 2023 Sturgis Rally is over, but the Buffalo Chip is already preparing for next year. The historic venue brings a recap to celebrate the exciting 2023 rally and guarantee big plans for the future.
This year’s rally started with disappointing rainfall, but the weather cleared up by midweek, and the party continued. The 458,000 rally-goers enjoyed live music by famous names, inspiring custom bikes and motorcycle art, a death-defying stunt show, and plenty more. American Rider’s managing editor, Paul Dail, was in attendance and got a view from the inside through the Ride with a Local event.
Read Buffalo Chip’s press release below for a recap of the 2023 rally and a look at what Buffalo Chip has in store for the future.
The 2023 Sturgis Rally started with an unprecedented rainfall, but that certainly did not dampen the spirits of our attendees and sponsors. The Best Party Anywhere rocked on with big name acts and a busy amphitheater every night. Facility improvements in the amphitheater included a highly revised East Entrance sponsored by Progressive Insurance that led directly into a remodeled Motorcycles As Art and Softail complex.
Motorcycles As Art drew significant attention this year, as a surge in visitors encountered an exhibit meticulously arranged by Kevin Dunworth and Savannah Rose. The gallery celebrated motorcycle art masters like Michael Lichter, Ray Drea, David Uhl, and Scott Jacobs. Additionally, the introduction of an art purchasing option and a VIP bar serving MotoDoffo wines created a nightly audience that appreciated the experience.
Royal Enfield took advantage of the increased attention in the space by hosting the reveal of a custom Super Meteor 650 built by Roland Sands. The spectacle featured a smokey burnout in a crate as an epic crescendo for the assembled media, influencers, VIP guests, and sponsors.
Progressive Insurance had teams seemingly everywhere with an amphitheater activation anchored by a very cool mobile Skee-Ball display and highly engaged product experts. Their efforts were seen throughout the campus with activation teams patrolling the campground and the free-for-everyone Crossroads at the Buffalo Chip.
Buzz-Balls joined us this year with a very successful sponsorship at Club Chip. The late-night party venue had guests partying well into the evening and was the hot-spot following the headlining concerts every night.
Speaking of concerts, the line-up was as broad and diverse as always. Kicking off the Sturgis Rally with ZZ Top, the week featured an amazing performance from Styx and the legendary biker soundtracks from George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Each night ended with a killer show from legendary bands like Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Limp Bizkit, and others. See the entire 2023 lineup here.
Following an epic Monster Wall Smash, Thursday night showcased the retro-spectacle of the Death Wire Daredevil Spectacular featuring Kyle Ives jumping a motorcycle over Blake Wallenda on a high-wire. This first-time-ever event drew in even more motorcycle and music fans!
While Mother Nature tried to wash out some of the rally week, motorcycle and music fans proved that the show will go on. Buffalo Chip staff and sponsors proved their dedication to serving the tens of thousands of guests who flock to the rally and this legendary venue. When you have a party that’s become an American tradition for over four decades, even the forces of nature have to join in!
The Chip staff thank everyone for their support and creativity at this year’s event and are already planning for 2024, which marks both the 85th rally anniversary and the 45th Best Party Anywhere celebration!
What’s Next for Sturgis Rally?
Even with 42 years of history hosting bikers, bands and massive amounts of fun, the Buffalo Chip staff have been looking ahead and planning for two huge, concurrent anniversary years coming up. In an era where history is revered and seemingly ever-changing, these two anniversaries will draw huge attention in the motorcycle world and will come up faster than expected for many.
The Chip sponsorship team has been working with several brands on multiyear agreements that allow them to plan for activations and new products and gain customer attention during the Sturgis Rally over that period.
“The multiyear programs are what allow all of us to get to business and not be distracted by the annual contract discussions,” says Sturgis Buffalo Chip VP Jeff D’Entremont. “Our team comes up with creative solutions for any budget, and by spreading a commitment over years, our audience gains significant trust and allegiance with our partner brands. This party will continue for decades to come, so it only makes sense to plan ahead and make the most of it.”
The Buffalo Chip team has set up several brands with programs that uptick over time and secure their place for the coming years. This helps avoid direct brand competition and allows the Chip to secure those relationships at a more approachable rate than an annual agreement.
While the big party may last only a couple of weeks, the Buffalo Chip marketing team sends out partner programs and shares social and marketing projects over the whole year. So, despite being seen as a summer event for bikers, our international audience sees a consistent and authentic stream of messaging all year long. This helps brands maintain interest throughout the year, as well as plan for unique communications starting in the holiday season that pay off in the summertime.
In addition, there are some new plans regarding our Buffalo Chip Campground website and the expansion of camping availability for a significantly longer period than “just the rally.” This will expose sponsoring brands to a wider variety of guests while increasing the value of the relationship.
The Buffalo Chip always respects history and what it takes for events to endure, and these days what it takes is to leverage that history for the future. We truly look forward to discussing how we can fit into a brands marketing plan and have tailored programs for budgets and brands of all sizes.
Grand Alliance Highlight: Progressive Insurance
If you came to the party at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip these past few years, you couldn’t help but notice that we joined forces with Progressive, the nation’s #1 motorcycle insurer and leader in RV insurance.
In 2023, our partnership with Progressive expanded, offering new experiences and campus improvements, such as Progressive Skee-Ball, container art installations, and East Gardens entrance enhancements.
What’s next, you ask? Plans for 2024 are already underway, and we look forward to continuing our program and bringing more for our shared guests at the Best Party Anywhere!
Thank you to all our sponsors who helped make 2023 a huge success!
Meet the Team: Jeff D’Entremont, VP Brand Alliances
Jeff started full-time at the Buffalo Chip in January of 2023; however, he has been in the motorcycling scene for decades. Leading motorcycle events that toured the nation, Jeff has a level of customer and sponsor perspective that few others can match. Traveling around the U.S. and working with a variety of OEMs, sponsors, international clients, and the aftermarket gives Jeff the ideal foundation for leading sponsorship efforts at the Chip.
His influence helped bring in a powerful relationship with Progressive Motorcycle Insurance and our new ticketing platform, TIXR. Both relationships, like fine wine, will only get better in the coming years.
A strong family man himself, Jeff treats relationships with a similar candor and commitment. While Jeff would prefer to stay behind the scenes, it’s impossible to hide behind the significant impact he has had on the organization and the industry.
Jeff’s background in venue and event management, sponsorships, and advertising shaped his perspective, but so did his early-years gigs in the Boston area bars. It’s a good thing he’s in the corner for the Chip, our clients, and our valuable guests!