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Downtown Mitchell gears up for an 'unforgettable' Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party with possible Guinness record

“If there isn’t something fun for you to do and enjoy in this five-hour circus we call the Palace Pre-Sturgis Party, we failed,” said Brian Klock, who organized the event four years ago, which draws upwards of 5,000 people each year.

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Stunt rider Gabe "Reckless 203" Canestri does a burn out in front of the crowd while performing during the Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party on Thursday evening on North Main Street in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)
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As the Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party has blossomed into one of Mitchell’s biggest annual events, Brian Klock hopes to continue raising the bar for downtown Mitchell.

With a jam-packed slate of events on deck for Thursday’s Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party that will feature daring motorcycle stunts, Evel Knievel toy cycle races and a world record attempting jump with a toy cycle, there’s plenty of excitement in the air for this year’s event, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. between Seventh and Second avenues along Main Street. In what will be the fourth Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party on Thursday, Klock, owner of Mitchell-based Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, is anticipating another big turnout.

“I just love seeing the energy this brings to downtown Mitchell, and there’s so much fun stuff for everyone to enjoy. If there isn’t something fun for you to do and enjoy in this five-hour circus we call the Palace Pre-Sturgis Party, we failed,” Klock said. “On Thursday, you will see someone put a full heavy weight bagger, weighing 850 pounds, straight up in the air, dragging the saddlebags on the ground doing wheelies that are full at 12 o’clock.”

While Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party-goers have witnessed record-breaking motorcycle stunts on Mitchell’s Main Street over the past several years, including daredevil stuntman Cole Freeman’s 50 foot jump over hay bales on a 817-pound Harley Davidson bike in 2018, another record could be in store on Thursday night. Only this time, it’s a toy motorcycle that will be attempting a 22-foot jump.

The newly reissued Evel Knievel toy cycle, named after the famous stuntman biker Evel Knievel who set countless world records on a motorcycle with his high-flying jumps across greyhound busses and more than 10 cars, the retro 1970’s throwback Evel Knievel toy cycles, which are controlled by cranking the handle to wind them up for either a jump or race, will bring back some nostalgia and get the kids excited to take part in the races along Main Street, Klock said.

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The 22-foot jump with the toy cycle would set a new world record, Klock said. It’s also bringing the California toy company that created the Evel Knievel cycle to downtown Mitchell to witness the record-breaking attempt.

“We are trying to set a Guinness World Record with the toy cycle jump. It’s never been done before, and to have the California toy company that makes the Evel Knievel toys will be coming here to witness it is just amazing,” Klock said, noting it will take place around 7 p.m. “There are 20 lanes for each age group, and whoever jumps the farthest on Thursday will win a toy stunt cycle. We have people coming down from all over the country to show us how to do the toy cycle jumps.”

On the entertainment side, Tennessee’s rising country music star, Shelby Lee Lowe, will take the stage at 5 p.m. in the Corn Palace Plaza, followed by DJ SieffStyle. Beer vendors and food trucks will also be scattered throughout downtown to keep the party going.

As Klock Werks is raising money to deliver more Strider Bikes to elementary schools throughout the surrounding Mitchell area, Klock said there will be a Strider Bike pump track set up for the kids to ride.

A UTV, ATV and motorcycle show that stretches three blocks along Main Street from Second to Fourth avenues is also in store for Thursday night’s festivities.

Reflecting back on the years leading up to the creation of the Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party, Klock is proud of the community support that the event receives each year.

What started off as a small gathering of bikers who were headed out to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills, has blossomed into a community event that draws upwards of 5,000 people to downtown Mitchell each year, thanks to Klock’s promotional efforts and ability to bring celebrities, daring stuntmen and fun activities. Initially, Klock hosted the gathering of bikers at his business, but it moved downtown in front of the Corn Palace to celebrate Mitchell’s biggest tourist attraction in 2018.

“We thought we would have 2,000 people downtown at the first one, but we ended up with 5,000. We haven’t looked back since,” Klock said.

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For Klock, hosting the event goes beyond the celebration of the motorcycle industry. Rather, he says it’s all about promoting the community and supporting all of the local businesses and hotels to show the world what Mitchell has to offer.

“This isn’t about Klock Werks, the big name stunt guys, the music artists, it’s about the community of Mitchell. We are selling Mitchell to the world, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” he said. “I’ve been to events in big cities across the country, but nobody hosts an event like this and rolls out the red carpet like we do.”

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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