STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) — The 83rd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has come and gone, and with its departure, we have a full set of data from the event long Rally Tally. Some early notes: DUIs were down, citations were up. Fatalities were up and drug arrests were up.

Here’s a visualization of the day to day numbers in each category throughout the rally in 2023 vs. 2022.

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers

  • DUIs down 28
  • Warnings down 1,009
  • Cash seized down $2,330
  • Vehicles seized down 4

  • Misdemeanor drug arrests up 98
  • Felony drug arrests up 52
  • Citations up 49
  • Non-injury crashes up 13
  • Injury crashes up 14
  • Fatalities up 2

While the largest number of changes were in warnings and cash seized, both down from 2022, the thing that may stand out most is the steep rise in drug arrests.

In 2022, there were a total of 251 drug arrests at the rally. This year, there were 401.

This 150 arrest increase represents a 59.7% increase in drug arrests overall.

KELOLAND News reached out to DPS on Friday, August 11 and again on Monday, August 14, asking for an interview or information on the following:

  • Reasons that we’re seeing more drug arrests this year than last year (~400 vs ~250 last year).
  • Whether we’ve seen drugs primarily for personal use/small sales, or whether it was mainly large quantities for sale and distribution.
  • The types and quantities of the drugs found this year, whether certain types were seen more than others, and whether the types of drugs have been changing year over year.
  • If there were large-scale drug busts this year, or if most of these arrests resulted from more routine things such as speeding stops or DUI checks.

On Monday we received an email telling us that the data provided speaks for itself.

The data does show that there’s been an increase in arrests, but does not give any context regarding why there are more arrests, what drugs have been found, the quantities of the drugs or the circumstances in which they were found.

KELOLAND News followed up, asking again for this information, and received this response:

“Thanks for reaching out to DPS.
We appreciate your interest but have nothing further to add at this time.”