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Feds to have limited presence at Sturgis rally due to budget cuts

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Federal agents who help investigate crimes at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota's Black Hills will not come from Sioux Falls this year due to a shrinking travel budget related to federal spending cuts that took effect in March.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has had up to 20 agents at past rallies. The only ATF presence at this year's rally will be from the Rapid City satellite office, and that lone agent will be available on an "as-needed" basis, Sioux Falls Field Office Agent-in-Charge Bob Boland told KELO-TV.

"We've always been a strong supporter of supporting that rally with our presence both from an investigative and intelligence-gathering perspective and this year, we offer nothing," he said.

One of the ATF's main rally duties has been to track so-called outlaw motorcycle clubs, according to Boland.

"They have historically attended the Sturgis Rally and in fact, almost every year, they are involved with some type of crime at some level," he said.

Several other law enforcement agencies work the rally, which draws hundreds of thousands of people every year. This year's 73rd annual event is Aug. 5-11.