Graced with geological wonders and unbridled beauty, riding in the Black Hills is almost transcendental. This magic is a big reason riders come from the four corners of the earth to ride here each August during the Sturgis Rally. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-timer, one of the best ways to see this beautiful country, share some camaraderie, and support charitable causes is to join in one of the Buffalo Chip’s “Legendary Rides.”
Over the past 13 years the Legends Ride presented by GEICO Motorcycle has established itself as one of the most preeminent events of Sturgis. From Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler to R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey, a long list of celebrities have graced the ride over the years. The 2020 Legends Ride Road Captain is Academy Award-nominated actor Tom Berenger. Best known for his roles in Platoon and Major League, Berenger is a diehard rider who’s selflessly lent his support to the Legends Ride for years. A few years back Berenger shared a funny story of his first motorcycle, a 450cc Honda, and how on one of his first rides he hit an oil patch, fishtailed and went down. Being chased by a German Shepherd on the same motorcycle was another fond memory. It’s little pearls like this that make this signature ride special.
The Legends Ride begins in the historic Wild West-themed town of Deadwood. It’s a street party at the new Outlaw Square in front of the Silverado-Franklin Hotel & Casino as music fills the air, motorcycles roll in, and celebrities begin to arrive and mingle with the crowd. The girls from the International Bikini Team, long-time supporters of the Legends Ride, have a knack for fostering a festive spirit. So do the kids of the Black Hills Special Olympics who show up every year. Their excitement is unbeatable, and the Special Olympics is one of the main benefactors from the benefit ride. To date, the Legends Ride has raised over a half million dollars for local charities and organizations, and overall the Buffalo Chip has raised nearly a million dollars through all of its charitable endeavors. This year The Chip aims to break the million dollar mark as magnanimity is always the pervasive spirit surrounding the Legends Ride.
This year’s ride takes place Monday, August 10, and begins at 11 a.m. in front of the historic Franklin Hotel in Deadwood. The 2020 charities are Special Olympics South Dakota – Rapid City Flame and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. In addition to Berenger, this year’s special guests include actor/musician Sean McNabb (Sons of Anarchy/Dokken), former Green Bay Packer star lineman Earl Dotson, and a veritable Who’s Who of custom motorcycle builders, from Cory and Zach Ness to the always colorful Rick Fairless, to Jerry and David Covington and many more.
Plenty of riders out there are race fans. If you love to ride your motorcycle and love NASCAR, the 2nd annual Rusty Wallace Ride is tailor-made for you. Wallace, a NASCAR ironman who won 55 races competing in 16 straight seasons, has invited some of his racing buddies and NASCAR friends to come hang out and support his second annual charity ride. The legendary list includes NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, Clint Bowyer, Walker “The Legend” Evans, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, and Steve Wallace. The day will kick off with a party at Black Hills Harley-Davidson and an opportunity to meet the special guests and maybe even get an autograph or two. The riders will mount up for a brand-new route this year, one picked out by Wallace himself. Everybody will meet back up at the Buffalo Chip for a private reception including food and drinks. A silent auction will be held with incredible items up for grabs including a Daytona 500 replica hood autographed by the 2020 Daytona 500 starting grid. The incredible motorcycle Cory Ness of Arlen Ness Enterprises customized for Rusty Wallace, a 2020 Harley-Davidson FLXH Street Glide, will also go to its new owner as the bike is being sold off for charity. This year’s list of Rusty Wallace Ride charities include South Dakota Special Olympics – Rapid City Flame, All Kids Bike and the NASCAR Foundation charities. Grab a ticket and we’ll see you Wednesday, August 12, at Black Hills Harley-Davidson off Exit 55 in Rapid City at 10 a.m.
For 11 years now, the Biker Belles Ride & Celebration has been empowering women motorcyclists.
“When we created the event in 2009, we’d hoped it would change people’s lives for the better, and it’s amazing to see over a decade later how much it truly has. I can’t wait to see where the Biker Belles takes us in the years to come, and I hope you will join us on the journey,” said Biker Belles Program Manager Toni Woodruff.
The immersive event includes its signature “Morning Ride,” a scintillating run from Deadwood on scenic Hwy 385, Nemo Road, and Vanocker Canyon. The ride will be led by co-captains Savannah Rose and Diva Amy Skaling and ends at the Buffalo Chip CrossRoads. There, women vendors, Comfort Zone pampering courtesy of Diva Amy, and mixing and mingling with some of the motorcycle industry’s pioneering women awaits. The Women & Wheels Bike Show kicks off not long after, giving riders a chance to showcase their prized motorcycles. A catered lunch follows, as does a symposium with Jody Perewitz, Lena Fairless, emceed by Sturgis Hall of Famer Marilyn Stemp. At the conclusion of the event, Biker Belles are invited to join other women riders attending the rally for the Women’s Rider Turnout at the CrossRoads. It happens to be the 19th amendment’s centennial, and currently women make up about 19% of riders. Sounds like cause for celebration, right? A drone will record the group and show the riding world what 19% looks like in real-time.
Just like the other two rides, charity is the underlying cause behind Biker Belles, and 100% of funds raised this year will go to three South Dakota-based charities that benefit women-related causes - Helping with Horsepower, the Strider Education Foundation, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. The 2020 Biker Belles begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, August 12, at The Lodge in Deadwood and wraps up at the Buffalo Chip CrossRoads at 2 p.m.
For all you history buffs out there, the Western Frontier Motorcycle Rides take you on a journey to the places history was made in the Black Hills, including the gravesite of Jonathan “Buffalo Chips” White, the campground’s namesake and a protégé of Buffalo Bill Cody. As you stop at spots like the Hoover General Store, Slim Buttes Overlook and the Spur Creek Saloon, local historian Paul Mitchell regales you with tales of Chief American Horse, “Buffalo Chips” and the Battle of Slim Buttes, mixing in stories about the US Cavalry, Cavalry scouts, Sioux Chiefs, Buffalo Bill Cody, and the Pony Express, too. Participants also get a chance to channel their inner Wild West spirit with some antique rifle shooting. The Cowboy Action Shooting experience includes shooting two single-action revolvers, a lever-action rifle and a double-barrel shotgun. If the thought of bigger, more crowded rides put you off, the Western Frontier Motorcycle Rides might be more up your alley because it’s limited to 20 people. Since groups are small, luckily there’s two chances to take part, Tuesday, August 11 and Thursday, August 13. The rides start early, 8 a.m. to be exact, and begin and end at The Chip
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip has made giving back to the local community a priority via its annual rides. Buffalo Chip President Rod Woodruff said he heard all too frequently how “the rally never did anything for the local folks.” This misnomer couldn’t be further from the truth. The biker community is a benevolent community, evident by the support it annually shows through the Buffalo Chip’s legendary rides.
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