Bikers and Bike Events Make a Difference

By Mary Panerio

Bikers are one of the most caring and generous groups of people on the planet. So it’s no wonder that the home of the biggest biker party would also be home to some tremendous acts of humanitarianism. With help from its kind-hearted campers, the Buffalo Chip® is making a long-lasting positive impact on the community.

There has never been a shortage of worthy local causes in need, and The Chip® has always been eager to “Chip in” whenever possible. Throughout its 32-year history, the Buffalo Chip has proudly contributed to countless organizations. From a Habitat for Humanity house built at the Chip by bikers for a single mother in ’94 to lingerie auctioned for breast cancer research in 2012, the Sturgis Rally destination does not hesitate to express its care with creativity.

Keeping this in mind, the Buffalo Chip created the Legends Ride® in 2008. The annual celebrity-charity biker event served a real and immediate need for the Black Hills Special Olympics. The volunteer organization was often unable to send participants to Special Olympics events due to lack of transportation. So in 2011, the Legends Riders provided a down payment on a bus custom-made for that very purpose. Subsequent rides contributed the funds needed to pay off the bus and its operating expenses. The bus will be paid off entirely when the Buffalo Chip presents its next check to the organization, and a celebration to burn the bank note is in the works.

“The Legends Ride provides a Sprinter van for our program, allowing more athletes to participate in sports,” says Jack Lynass, president of Black Hills Special Olympics. “Right now we are having our biggest year ever in bowling and the Sprinter is transporting almost a dozen athletes to practice. We love the Legends Ride and its riders!”

Additionally, half of the riders’ contributions received through the Legends Ride help to preserve the rich heritage and history of motorcycling by supporting the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. This world-class museum offers comprehensive and educational exhibits, plus rare and unusual motorcycles significant to both the history and sport of motorcycling. Legends Riders’ contributions will assist future expansion and help carry out the museum’s mission for generations to come.

The Legends Ride bike is supplied through a Buffalo Chip program that challenges students of Sturgis Brown High School to customize a motorcycle from the ground up. The annual Student Build Challenge is designed to teach valuable life skills, build confidence and create community among this group of young adults. Students learn state of the art techniques used to build a motorcycle with the help of leading industry professionals. The motorcycle project also opens up students’ eyes to motorcycle industry careers and gives them the industry connections needed to put them one step ahead.

“The entire student body and administration are one hundred percent behind the Student Build Challenge, and the kids participating absolutely love it,” says Sturgis Brown High School instructor, Chad Hedderman. “It has been a great opportunity for us—one that I am proud to be a part of. I have no doubt that we will soon see students from this program entering the workforce and becoming leaders in the motorcycle industry. In fact, two students from last year’s build are now going to school for welding.”


Seeing a need to reach out to help women oriented causes, the Buffalo Chip created a second signature charity outreach program, Biker Belles®. By donating to Helping with Horsepower™, Biker Belles has helped local at-risk and abused girls to become empowered members of society.

“I’ve been honored to be in attendance at the Biker Belles event, and also be a part of the team that has assisted in its creation,” says Laura Klock, Co-Founder of Helping with Horsepower. “The Buffalo Chip has done an amazing job of reaching out to women riders, as well as potential women riders, and I’m excited to be a part of that effort.”

To help recognize and honor women motorcycle riders and the history of women in motorcycling, Biker Belles also raises funds for the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.

“We are humbled and gratified to be one of the two charities chosen to benefit from the Biker Belles event,” says Christine Paige Diers, Executive Director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. “We earmark all donations to design and display exhibits about women in motorcycling. The Biker Belles has already helped to build two wonderful women’s exhibits and the contributions will continue to allow us to improve on those exhibits and build more.”

The Buffalo Chip will proudly continue to hold these signature bike events in 2014. Stay tuned to the Sturgis Rider® News Blog for details on how you can help the Buffalo Chip give back to the community.