The founder is generally considered to be Clarence “Pappy” Hoel who is still honored in various ways by the crowd at Sturgis.
The main focus of a motorcycle rally was originally racing and stunts. This could include half mile track racing (the first year in Sturgis, there were 19 participants), board wall crashes (intentional), ramp jumps and head on collisions with automobiles.
The Sturgis Rally has been held every year, with exceptions during World War II.
In modern times, there has been a revitalization of motorcycling and a new group of fans that are interested in the old rallies. This has led to huge attendance numbers for classic rallies such as Sturgis.