STURGIS, S.D. AUG 5–The 6th annual Legends Ride was a legend in its own right. It was a record year for attendance and money raised. For those of you not familiar with the Legends Ride, it’s a fundraiser that starts in Deadwood at the Silverado-Franklin and ends up at the Buffalo Chip Campground after wending its way through the scenic roads of the Black Hills.
To help promote this ride while bringing some star power to it each year, there are “legends” invited to the party. This year had some of the regular legends on the list such as Rod Woodruff, president of the Buffalo Chip, Bean’re, the Mayor of Fun, and, of course, noted photographer Michael Lichter. Other legends along for this year’s ride included The Ness family (Arlen, Cory and Zach), pro wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, daredevil Robbie Knievel, Paul Teutul Sr. of Orange County Choppers and even Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister. To keep everyone in line was R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey from Full Metal Jacket. Don’t think it was just guys that showed up to help lead the pack either. Representing the women were celebrity females including Kristy Swanson from the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jessi Combs of Velocity TV’s All Girls Garage and drag racer Andie Gaskins of Fast Andie Racing. We can’t finish this lineup without mentioning Gloria Struck from New Jersey. At 88 years old she has logged more than 500,000 miles! She and her daughter Lori Struck DeSilva make this ride part of their Sturgis adventure each year.
The purpose of the Legends Ride is to raise funds for local charities Black Hills Special Olympics and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Before the ride takes off, riders have a chance to meet with the legends and hear what makes this special to them. One other legend and major donor was Jon Paul DeJoria, famous for his roles with Paul Mitchell and The Patrón Spirits Company. Jon and others spoke about how important this fundraiser is to the Black Hills Special Olympics to keep the kids in a bus that works, along with the many other things they need to make the Special Olympics happen. The other reason for raising money is to keep the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame growing. With talk of a new, larger building, funds are needed to raise the roof on this project.
Prior to the start of the ride, everyone met at the staging area in front of the Silverado-Franklin where the day’s events were kicked off with a live auction. An Epiphone guitar, autographed by many of the celebrities present, went first and raised $1,700. The next item up for auction got the attention of all those watching. It was a custom Harley-Davidson Road Glide that was built by Sturgis Brown High School students. The bike was donated by Black Hills Harley-Davidson, and working with the students were bike-building veterans Keith Terry of Terry Components and Randy and Nick Cramer from Dakota V-Twin. You had to be careful not to raise your hand because the bidding took it up to $55,000! Jon Paul DeJoria also threw in a year’s supply of Paul Mitchell hair products and two cases of Patrón to the winner of the bike.
Once the engines were fired up, the local authorities escorted this seemly endless parade of motorcycles through Deadwood and onto the scenic path to the Buffalo Chip where the party continued with food and drinks along with some great live music. The fundraising also continued with some silent and live auction items. To top off the night, all the Legends Ride guests were invited into the Chip to see more live music by the Doobie Brothers and Kid Rock. Both bands played flawlessly and rocked the place, even through the downpour that accompanied a few of Kid Rock’s songs.
This year’s ride was a record in both attendance and monies raised. Thanks to everyone involved, over $81,000 was donated to the Black Hills Special Olympics and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Out of the money raised, 100 percent went to these causes thanks to the ride’s sponsors: Budweiser, Black Hills Harley-Davidson, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Epiphone, Geico, Hot Leathers, Interstate Batteries, Pepsi, Renewable Fuels Association, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Silverado-Franklin, Victory Motorcycles and WOW Internet, cable and phone. For more information about the ride, go to www.legendsride.com.