PIERRE, S.D. — Extra law enforcement officers will be brought in to help patrol the northern Black Hills when the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club holds a major event in Spearfish later this month, a police department official said Thursday.
Up to 1,200 people, including 400-600 club members, are expected to attend the club’s annual USA Run in Spearfish July 25-29, Spearfish Police Lt. Curt Jacobs said. The event has been described as the club’s annual convention.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol will have extra troopers in the area, and other law agencies will help patrol the area, Jacobs said.
“We expect them to follow the rules that the citizens do in this area for 365 days out of the year. As long as they follow those rules, there shouldn’t be any issues,” he said.
Jacobs said he and Spearfish Police Chief Pat Rotert met earlier with representatives of the Hells Angels, but they have no valid phone numbers for the club. The club did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
“The Hells Angels are used to this. Anytime they have their USA Run they know that law enforcement is going to beef up their numbers in that area,” Jacobs said.
“They have their meetings, their barbeques, their picnics and then they head back home,” he added.
Jacobs said the crowd at the Hells Angels event will be small compared with the hundreds of thousands of bikers who attend the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in the area each year. This year’s Sturgis rally is set for Aug. 6-12.
Christina Steele, a Sturgis city official who also represents the rally, said some of the people who attend the Hells Angels USA Run will likely stay in the area for the Sturgis rally.
“It’s an economic boost anytime you get a group like that,” Steele said.
Steele said officials are not expecting any major problems from the Hells Angels event. The club also held its USA Run in the area a few years ago, she said.
“I don’t recall there being any problems that last time they were all here. They’ll be treated just like anybody else,” Steele said.
Members of the Hells Angels have had run-ins with the law during Sturgis rallies in past years. Two club members involved in a stabbing that left two people with injuries during last year’s rally were convicted of assault charges.