"I went to Sturgis".
The scene Saturday at the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was familiar to veterans of the event, with throngs of maskless bikers packing the streets. ABC News explains that Sturgis (population, 7,000) raked in $26 million at last year's rally while the state banked an extra $655 million, often from visitors eager to open their wallets for pricey items like motor homes and motorbikes.
A city spokeswoman said opening weekend is usually the busiest. Might be less this time, with officials projecting a crowd about half the usual size.
"I don't want to die, but I don't want to be cooped up all my life either", he said.
Neither masks nor social distancing were required when Mr Trump held a celebration at Mount Rushmore at the start of the month.
Daily virus cases have been trending upward in South Dakota, but the seven-day average is still only about 84, with fewer than two deaths per day. "I love the sound of the bikes", said Bill Sudkamp, who was making his 20th consecutive rally appearance. Lunsmann said he has attended the Sturgis event every year since 2003 and didn't want to miss the 80th, despite being "somewhat" concerned about COVID-19. They were also planning to avoid bars.
"It looked like South Dakota was plateauing mostly", Sudkamp said.
Business owners like bar owner Marsha Schmid, however, are trying to prevent her establishment from becoming a virus hotspot. She spaced out tables, offered hand sanitizer and scaled back the number of employees at the rally in an effort to help contain the disease. "I just hope they are being responsible and if they don't feel good, they stay away".
Fellner felt that the risk of an outbreak would be felt long after the bikers leave.
Sample was aware his trip to the rally could end in the hospital, which seemed to weigh on him. "It could be a major mistake".