Doing good while having fun
Irvine, Calif., Jan. 25—Fox Racing Headquarters was the scene of an exclusive industry party hosted by Good Ride to launch their latest fundraising effort, Tanks for Troops. On display at the party were 22 Indian Motorcycle tanks custom painted by some of the biggest talents in the tattoo, paint, and pinstriping industries. The tanks, donated by Indian, were auctioned off for charity with the proceeds benefiting veterans through the Infinite Hero Foundation.
Good Ride was started by retired motorcycle racer and freestyle motocross athlete Carey Hart, along with his close friend, rapper and producer Big B, whose real name is Bryan Mahoney. Hart’s lifetime passion for V-twins eventually lead to a relationship with the Indian Motorcycle company. “I’ve always tried to figure out a way to raise money for charity using motocross, but it’s a little harder to accomplish in that world. So, since I go to rallies and events on behalf of Indian Motorcycle now, I realized that I could do something from a charitable standpoint while I’m traveling. That’s kind of what started Good Ride,” said Hart.
“We initially started off leading rides to raise money,” Hart continued. “We’ve done them in Laughlin, Sturgis, and Las Vegas. We were adding more rides to the series last year when this idea came up.” Carey asked the guys at Indian what they thought about kicking them down some tanks and doing sort of an art show or auction. Indian was in. “It’s taken me about eight months to pull this event off but slowly over time we got it done and now we’re here tonight. I started Good Ride a few years ago and literally myself and my friend Big B do it all ourselves. We set up all the rides, we plan everything, stuff the gift bags, everything from top to bottom. It’s been a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work but it’s good for the moral compass and all our proceeds go to Infinite Hero. It’s been a great partnership.”
When asked about his transition from the motocross world into street bikes, Carey explained, “I love the V-twin culture and community, and love going to rallies. Now being able to do good by my peers and raising money for wounded veterans makes it worthwhile. The thing I also love about what’s happening in V-twin culture right now is you’re starting to see these little, I don’t know if you would call them rallies, but these little events sprouting up. Like what’s happening up in Oregon with The One Moto Show, and with Born Free in Southern California, the Lone Star Rally in Texas, and I heard that Nashville’s going to have a rally now too. The cool thing is all these all these little events are bubbling up and those are the ones I really want to try to explore in the next couple of years. It seems like more than ever people are about doing it themselves and getting their hands dirty and learning to work on their bikes, and with the movement of women getting into motorcycle riding, it’s amazing. My wife rides like a champion, and it’s just a very exciting time for me with V-twins.”
Carey’s wife, singer and songwriter Pink, attended the party in support of her husband. Pink has parents who are veterans, and her brother is an active member of the Air Force, so she shares the same love and respect for our military and veterans. She even rides along with her husband to support our men and women in uniform. Even their six-year-old daughter, Willow, got in on the action creating her own custom tank for the auction (which wound up selling for a whopping $7,600).
Pink was beaming as she described her feelings about her husband’s accomplishments. “I always joke, and it’s cheesy, that Carey Hart didn’t get heart as a last name by accident. Everything he does, he does himself. He did this entire thing from the ground up. He thought up the idea, called the artists, answered the calls, provided the tanks, and even got Fox Racing on board, all for charity. I could not be more proud of this man tonight, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. When you ask people to get involved with something and you’re not going to pay them, it can be a very tricky thing,” Pink explained.
With a smirk, she continued, “And I’m not allowed to have Willow’s tank. She won’t let me be the high bidder on it, and also, I can’t afford to be the high bidder. She’s a little fancy. The tanks that are here tonight are f-ing insane, and the hours that went into each one of these, I’m just blown away by the time people took, and obviously this cause means something to them by the way the tanks look. My family is full of veterans, I come from a military family and I could not be happier.”
The crowd of around 100 or so people mingled as the DJ spun up some good tunes in Fox Headquarters. The atmosphere was perfect for an event like this where the worlds of motocross and Indian Motorcycle were fused together with all types of incredible bikes from both on display. Guests enjoyed drinks and some incredible food from Sancho’s Tacos of Huntington Beach.
A custom-built slat wall was constructed in the middle of the venue where the tanks were hung on display. Big B was on hand showing off the tanks and answering questions. Big B commented, “They had three months to produce the tank. The tanks are stock Indian Scout tanks cut down by a company called Weld Tables in Minnesota, who donated all the labor to cut the tanks in half. Cary and I welded the tanks and made them so they could be hung as wall displays. We started out with a whole tank and cut it in half and gave each artist a half of a tank to use as their canvas. Carey was obviously a big part of motocross for many years, and now that we’re involved with the V-twin industry it’s a cool thing to bridge the two worlds together. We have all kinds of motorcycle people together here tonight. It’s great. The good thing about working with Laurie and Infinite Hero is that we have a lot of veterans who come on these rides and ride with us and we get to meet the kind of people who receive the money we raise. We know it will be going to a good cause to help these vets out; it’s just an amazing thing.”
The Laurie that Bryan was referring to is Laurie Baker, director of the Infinite Hero Foundation. Laurie gave me some insight into the organization: “Infinite Hero was started about six years ago by Oakley. They have a longstanding tradition of supporting the military in the field with safety equipment, goggles, gloves, boots, you name it. After many years of war and your friends and people that you work with coming back a little bit different than when they left, or not at all, God forbid, they felt as a company they had more to do than to buy gala tables or golf foursomes. They looked internally, and asked, what are our brand values, what are our core values? They are authenticity, performance, success, innovation, and all those things. They thought, why can’t we apply that to this space and really look for partners and people and companies that will follow our lead? So, they created Infinite Hero.
“Through the partnership with Oakley and being in motorsports for as long as he was and being one of the guys that was always known himself as being innovative and pushing the envelope, Carey was introduced to Infinite Hero about 2½ years ago. I remember the first phone call where he said, ‘It’s me and my childhood friend, and if there’s a question about what we’re going to do, call me; here is my number. I’m going to do all the work myself with Big B because it means a lot to us.’
“He told me there’s no reason why you can’t take what you’re passionate about in life, which is for him, motorcycles, having a good time and putting people together. Whether it’s motocross or V-twin now it’s his new world and he’s using that for a greater good. We’re not really risk-averse which is a great partnership with Carey who also, if you’ve seen him do a backflip, is not risk averse either. So that’s what we really want. Every dollar that comes into us we turn around and we put out through a yearly grant cycle. Last year we funded $755,000 worth of grants to six or seven different organizations, and then on the backend, we bring them PR, we bring them strategic partnerships, we do all those things that as a nonprofit you might not have the resources for.
“We’ll look to our partners at Red Digital Camera to produce a video for them, or we’ll bring a Carey and his wife in, or anyone else to the table to help them spread that word on social media that you just can’t pay for, but it all rings authentic and true. We’re challenging the system and the way that it’s been done so many years. I have been the single employee for five years so there’s only one person on the payroll, and then we rely on our corporate partners and our friends and other people. It doesn’t always take a check; sometimes it’s just your resources.
“I would encourage anyone who would like to help to donate to Infinite Hero at InfiniteHero.org. We are currently funding over 20 nonprofits. Think about this; when you give $100 to a nonprofit you have no say over where it goes. If you give $100 to Infinite Hero, it’s going into our grant cycle that will be dictated by contract, by follow-up, by measurement, by data, and we make sure that every single dollar is being used as it’s intended.”
Tanks were put up for auction on a website for 10 days where bidding was open to people from all around the world. The auction closed on January 31, raising tens of thousands of dollars. And in case you’re wondering whose tank was the hottest on the block, that would be Willow Hart’s piece, bringing in $7,600! The second-highest sale was a tank by Chris Wood of Santa Barbara, founder and creative director of Airtrix, bringing in almost $4,000. Nice work, guys! Keep your eye out for more Good Ride rides and functions in the year to come. Future runs can be found on their website at GoodRideRally.com.