South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem touted the ongoing Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in her state, calling it an act of “freedom” and “independent spirit.”
Noem, a Republican, made her comments in a column posted by Fox News on Thursday.
“The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the biggest gatherings for motorcycle enthusiasts in the world,” she said. “While the rally has always promoted an independent spirit, these past two years have taken on a new meaning of freedom.
“The Sturgis Rally is about hopping on your bike and exploring this great country through our open roads. Bikers come here because they want to be here. And we love to see them!
“Outside of the Fourth of July, the Sturgis Rally must be one of the most iconic celebrations of freedom in the country. And where better to celebrate than in South Dakota, the freest state in the nation?”
Despite the pandemic, the event is on pace to surpass 2020 attendance.
”Many of the visitors to whom I’ve spoken to say they’re coming to South Dakota specifically because it reminds them of the America they grew up in.” she said. “Free. Independent. Unburdened by the constraints and headaches that big cities and liberal ideology forced upon them.
“The rights of individuals are what birthed this nation and that independent spirit is what drove America to become the leader of not just the free world, but the whole world.”
She noted South Dakota is “the number one state in the nation for GDP growth.”
“At the same time, we currently have some of the lowest COVID case numbers in the country,” Noem said. “We have also worked hard with counselors to provide services for substance abusers, leading the nation in decreasing the number of deaths from overdose by 15.9%.”
She blasted “bureaucrats” and the media for casting “aspersions on the rally while ignoring concertgoing, lavish birthday parties, and the continuing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.”
However, she acknowledged “there’s a risk associated with everything that we do in life. Bikers like those attending the rally this year get that better than anyone."
The Associated Press noted last week that organizers of the rally expect at least 700,000 people at the event.
The 10-day rally is scheduled to end on Sunday.
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