Even though more than half the people in Sturgis, South Dakota, wanted the famed motorcycle rally postponed, the 10-day event kicked off as scheduled with defiant bikers revving into town Friday and Saturday.
Masks are encouraged but not required during the iconic festival where 250,000 people are expected, down from the usual half-a-million, USA Today reported Saturday.
The incoming revelers won’t have to quarantine even if they’re from a virus hotspot.
“Screw COVID,” read the design on one T-shirt being hawked. “I went to Sturgis.”
Bruce Labsa, 66, rode in North Carolina for the rally. He wasn’t wearing a mask Friday and told the New York Times he wasn’t worried about catching the virus.
“I don’t know anyone who’s had it,” Labsa said.
Though 62% of Sturgis residents wanted to postpone the rally, it went on as planned because of pressure from local businesses who clean up every year at this time.
Sturgis city manager Daniel Ainslie said the city received a letter sent by attorneys for an outside business threatening litigation if the rally was canceled.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, tweeted her support of the rally last week.
“I trusted my people, they trusted me, and South Dakota is in a good spot in our fight against COVID-19. The #Sturgis motorcycle rally starts this weekend, and we’re excited for visitors to see what our great state has to offer!”