Against All Odds: An Insider’s Look at the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally  

  • Tuesday, September 1, 2020
  • by Mary Panerio

When news broke in early August that hundreds of thousands of bikers were heading to the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, living rooms across the nation lit up with theories of what this event would look like amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journalists from every imaginable outlet flocked to the area, pointing their cameras at biker destinations across the Black Hills in order to send a snapshot and a story to viewers at home. But truly portraying this event required more coverage than these outlets could muster.

To give the world a real look at the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, you couldn’t just watch from the wings for a day or two. You needed to immerse yourself in the activities for the whole shebang.

That’s exactly what four motorcycle and music lifestyle photographers did when they rode in and set up campsites at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip® prior to the rally’s official start date.

Being in the middle of the number one Sturgis Motorcycle Rally destination gave them a vantage point unparalleled by the media. They watched the party spring to life, saw friends reunite and got in the middle of some ridiculous shenanigans. All the while, they were armed with the equipment and knowhow to portray each moment in its most authentic form.

Check out the view from behind their lenses as you take an in-depth look at this historic gathering. What you see just might surprise you.

Photos from Aaron Packard


About Aaron C. Packard Productions

Over the years Aaron Packard’s photography has taken numerous turns but his subject has remained people and the human condition. Studio based portraits photographed on Large format film, reportage style documentary projects, nude studies, and clean commercial lifestyle imagery. This combines in an amalgamation of new media and classic processes, of image making, and artistic presentation; a search for balance in contemporary technology based image creation and the traditional craft of photography. He is a problem solver and custom style developer.


Photos from Brad Schneck


About Brad Schneck

Brad Schneck has been the Multimedia Director at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip for eight years. His work encompasses a broad range of disciplines from photography to live video broadcast, but his passion for motorcycles is a common thread that makes the Chip a fun and exciting place to focus his creativity over the last 9 rallies. When not working for the Buffalo Chip, he likes to take adventures with his two sons and worship in the church of motorcyclism. He also has a very cool cat.


Photos from Savannah Rose


About Savannah Rose

Savannah Rose is a freelance content creator and marketer, specializing in photography, video, drone photography, social media management, social media advertising, and more. She began her foray into the motorcycle realm shortly after she started riding and began her marketing-specific career with a social media management position at S&S Cycle. In early 2019, Savannah decided to go freelance, for the capability to work with many different clients and events. She contributes to Drag Specialties, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Sena Technologies, Lone Star Rally, Broken Spoke Saloon, Iron Horse Saloon, The Buffalo Chip, and more. She currently writes for print magazines like Cycle Source Magazine, Cycle World, and numerous blogs.


Photos from Jordan Axtman


About Jordan Axtman

As far back as Jordan Axtman can remember, music and photography have been an important part of his life. He photographed his first band in 2008, and he still remembers it like it was yesterday. The feeling has never left. The lights, the noise, the people, everything coming together to make for a unique experience each and every time. After covering over 350 nationally touring acts, the feeling remains the same. He has been featured in SPIN Magazine, MusicRadar, and several news and industry websites in the US, Canada, UK, and Sweden. Axtman has photographed for the Sturgis Buffalo Chip for eight years, he was the house photographer for the Bismarck Event Center for 11 years and has recently relocated to Minneapolis, MN.

Do you have great photos from your own adventures at the Chip during the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally? Enter them into the Chip Shots Photo Contest for the chance to earn yourself a free pass to Buffalo Chip’s 40th Anniversary Party in 2021!

Did any of these photos change your perception of the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally? Tell us in the comments below.

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