A Wichita man died Monday in a motorcycle crash while in South Dakota for the 75th annual Sturgis rally, authorities said.
John Rowlett Jr., 42, lost control of his motorcycle while on South Dakota Highway 87. He hit a rock and died of his injuries, officials with the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said.
Rowlett’s father, John Wesley Rowlett, said his son “loved his kids, and he enjoyed riding his motorcycle with his friends.”
“It was a shock to all of us what happened, and his children are the ones that will suffer the most,” he said.
Rowlett had four children. He worked as a lead man in sheet metal fabrication for Cessna, his father said.
“He always looked forward to going up to Sturgis,” he said, adding that this was his son’s third visit to the motorcycle rally.
Rowlett’s 2008 Harley-Davidson was totaled in the crash.
South Dakota state officials say eight people have died in traffic accidents in western South Dakota over the past week as bikers have flooded the state for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which began Monday.
Officials expect more than 1 million people at this year’s rally, more than double the estimated attendance last year of 442,000.
Last year on the Tuesday of rally week, the patrol had reported only one traffic fatality.
Contributing: Associated Press