Fact Check: Photo Of Packed Street Does NOT Show Sturgis 2020 Crowd

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fact Check: Photo Of Packed Street Does NOT Show Sturgis 2020 Crowd Not 2020

Does a photo of thousands of people packed shoulder to shoulder without face masks show the crowd at the Sturgis 2020 motorcycle rally? No, that's not true: The photo was taken at a previous Sturgis rally when there was not a COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Sturgis has not imposed mask and social distancing requirements for the estimated 250,000 people expected to attend the 10-day event, but this image is falsely labeled as showing the 2020 rally.

The claim appeared as a meme in a post (archived here) shared on Facebook on August 9, 2020. The text on top of the old photo read:

STURGIS 2020
GONNA BE SOME GREAT DEALS OUT THERE ON USED MOTORCYCLES IN ABOUT SIX WEEKS

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 10 22:38:56 2020 UTC)

The meme said will be "great deals" on used bikes in the weeks after the rally, presumably dark humor suggesting many of the attendees will get COVID-19 and die. We are not fact checking that part of the post -- just the claim that the image shows the 2020 crowd.

The photo apparently was taken at the 2015 rally:

We also found a Facebook post from March 2019, which would mean the photo is at least two years old.

Posted by Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

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