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Sturgis voters to consider street race during rally

The next Sturgis rally is right around the corner, and there might be more events this coming year. However, the addition of a street race through town might not be supported by everyone in the community.

AMA Pro Racing aims to host the street race on the last day of the rally, but community members asked enough questions to successfully put the idea to a public vote.

Black Hills Rally and Gold manager Madison Pankratz was part of the petition effort. She’s worried about the potential financial implications to the public.

“Our first concern was primarily cost - $3.2 million over a total of five years is a long time and a lot of money," Pankratz said. "We were concerned about that and where we see any revenue from that and where the income would come from. Also from a business perspective, there will be businesses inside the track so it will be hard to have customers crossing that to get to and from.”

And with over a half-million people descending on the community, that can be a real hit to the bottom line.

“It gets us through the slow months of the year, so losing one day can be devastating to some people,” Pankratz said.

Pankratz also voiced transparency concerns with the decision-making process from the city.

Sturgis Mayor Angela Wilkerson said in a statement the city hopes residents can make a well-informed decision when they vote, and shared documents relating to the debate. Those documents can be found on the city's website.

The vote will be held in conjunction with local elections April 9. For this situation, a “yes” vote is a vote against holding the race, and a “no” vote is a vote in favor.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture