Sturgis, SD (July 23, 2014) – General Wesley Clark, (ret.) heads a long list of special dignitaries who will honor our nation’s veterans and help raise funds for organizations benefiting veterans and their families at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s 23rd annual Freedom Celebration, Thursday, Aug. 7.
In 38 years of service in the United States Army, Wesley K. Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Since retiring from the military in 2000, he has become an investment banker, businessman, commentator, author and teacher. Clark graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes Scholar. While serving in Vietnam, he commanded an infantry company in combat, where he was severely wounded and evacuated home on a stretcher. His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), silver star, bronze star, purple heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France).
“General Clark’s dauntless military service is inspiring and will bring a heightened level of patriotism to the event,” said Rod Woodruff, Buffalo Chip President. “We are grateful to have such brave and outstanding heroes attending our celebration, helping us to honor all veterans and their families. It’s humbling to be in the presence of those who have served our country in such a capacity, willing to sacrifice even their very lives for our freedom.”
The Buffalo Chip Freedom Celebration will take place Thursday, Aug. 7 and begin with a special charity ride from Spearfish to the CrossRoads at the Buffalo Chip. There, General Clark will join others in making remarks, signing books and touring the Field of Flags, Veterans Memorial Wall and Battlefield Cross. Proceeds from the Freedom Celebration Ride benefit Wounded Wear/Jumping for a Purpose, Navy Special Warfare Kids, America’s Mighty Warriors and the Community Living Center at Fort Meade VA Medical Center. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be hitched to create a spectacular entrance as General Clark and other special dignitaries ride on the historic Studebaker wagon through the Field of Flags and then continue through the amphitheater before the first concert of the evening. The USAF Academy’s band, Wild Blue Country, will kick off the main stage Freedom Celebration events by performing the National Anthem. Members of the audience can then look forward to a brief address by General Clark, the presentation of the Bob Hanson Distinguished Service Award and a presentation of a mortgage-free home to a wounded veteran.
Additional dignitaries joining the Freedom Celebration and Ride include:
- Dorothy Woods, widow of Retired Navy SEAL, Tyrone Woods, killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack
- Jayson Redman, retired Navy SEAL severely wounded in combat and author of the book “The Trident.” He is the founder of Wounded Wear, which provides combat veterans suffering from amputations with specially fitted clothing. They also provide a program called Jumping for a Purpose in which wounded veterans (amputees) are given the opportunity to skydive
- Marine Master Sgt William “Spanky” Gibson (ret) became the first above-the-knee American amputee to return to combat
- Kimberly Dozier, contributing editor to “The Daily Beast”, an AP correspondent severely injured by a IED explosion which killed her military escort and film crew in Iraq. She is the author of “Breathing Fire: Fighting to Survive and Get Back to the Fight.”
- Richard “Dick” Marcinko, Retired Navy SEAL Commander and Vietnam War Veteran, the first commanding officer of SEAL Team 6 and Red Cell and author of the Rouge Warrior series of books
- Rep. Louie Gohmert, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas’s First Congressional District
- Debbie Lee, mother of 2nd Class Petty Officer Marc Lee, the first Navy SEAL killed in action in Iraq and Founder of Americas Mighty Warriors, a respite/retreat for veterans located in Arizona
- Bob Hanson, a Bison, SD native, WWII army veteran, severely wounded in France and held captive in a German prisoner of war camp for four years, the “Bob Hanson Distinguished Service Award” is named for him
- Dana Boke, Mayor of City of Spearfish
- Other dignitaries and honorees will be announced as confirmed
Freedom Celebration Event Schedule:
10:00am – 1:00pm – Parking and registration begins for riders
11:30 – 1:00pm – USAF Academy’s Wild Blue Country performs in Spearfish for the ride kick-off
1:00pm- 1:15pm – Introductions of dignitaries
1:15 pm – 1:30pm – Main St. Ride group photo
1:30 pm – 1:45pm – Ride lineup
1:45 pm – Ride to Buffalo Chip departs Spearfish
3:00 pm – Ride arrives at Buffalo Chip
3:30 pm – Welcome greeting, brief remarks from charities, celebrity meet-and-greets and book signings
4:30 pm – Catered reception at the CrossRoads at the Buffalo Chip
5:30 pm – Riders are free to attend other activities, including the Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show and live music at the CrossRoads or continue the celebration in the Buffalo Chip’s main amphitheater (additional campground admission passes required)
7:00 pm – Budweiser Clydesdales Parade through the Buffalo Chip Field of Flags and Amphitheater
7:00 pm – Pistol Day Parade performance on Buffalo Chip main stage
8:30 pm – Pop Evil performance on Buffalo Chip main stage
10:00 – 10:30 pm – USAF Academy’s Wild Blue Country National Anthem performance, Freedom Celebration Ride check presentation, Bob Hanson Distinguished Service Award presentation and presentation of a mortgage-free home to a US military veteran all on Buffalo Chip main stage
10:30 pm – Train takes the main stage
More information about the Buffalo Chip Freedom Celebration can be found at buffalochip.com.