By Carter JonesDigital Producer, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
Thousands of bikers are in the Black Hills at the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D., including staff from Polaris Inc. and its Indian Motorcycle Co. division.
Meanwhile, Indian’s biggest competitor, Harley-Davidson Inc., didn’t send any staff due to the Milwaukee-based manufacturer’s travel ban, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.
Polaris has a very limited presence at Sturgis, including scheduled, outdoor, controlled and socially distanced demo rides for its Slingshot, a three-wheeled vehicle. Indian Motorcycle demo rides are by appointment only.
“We value the time we spend with customers, and we are prepared to do so safely. We have detailed plans and are following safety guidelines from the CDC, along with our own robust safety requirements,” a Polaris spokesperson said in an email.
Prior to the festival, the company conducted detailed discussions on its approach, from the number of employee allowed to attend to planned activities and safety measures. The Medina, Minn.-based motorsports manufacturer is offering hand sanitizer, along with cleaning equipment and demo areas.
Instead of sending staff, Harley-Davidson is promoting socially distanced riding through its “Let it Ride” campaign.
“We will be focusing our support in ways that are consistent with our health and safety goals instead of large consumer activations. Fortunately, the Sturgis Rally isn’t restricted to concerts and parties – the true experience is rooted in riding and the spectacular routes that surround the event,” a Harley-Davidson spokesperson said in an email to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
With revenues of $6.08 billion in 2018, Polaris (NYSE: PII) is Minnesota’s eighth largest manufacturing company, according to Business Journal research.