One of the less-covered side stories of the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally based in the Black Hills of South Dakota is all the charity work going on. The motorcyclists and companies attending the iconic event are kicking in to help the Sturgis Meals on Wheels Program.
Starting with a GoFundMe goal of $8000, the Sturgis Meals on Wheels 80th Rally Fundraiser organized by Sturgis Meals on Wheels manager Jamie Helms and Luella Goodall (of Sturgis Cake Lady fame) has blown past $10,000. The Sturgis Meals on Wheels program serves over 200 meals a day to people at least 60 years old in Sturgis and nearby Whitewood, South Dakota.
In addition to motorcyclists who have contributed, money has flowed in from philanthropic companies.
Dixxon Flannel Company of Tempe, Ariz., has kicked in $5000 for the cause. “The riding community is very generous with charities, and this is a perfect opportunity for us to say thank you to the citizens of Sturgis who host this rally every year,” says company founder Dan Dixxon. “Whether riders chose to attend this year or not, we know they will share in the effort to support local seniors during and after the rally.”
Anyone familiar with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally knows about Buffalo Chip Campground. The gathering spot is challenging attendees to donate online starting today through August 15, with Buffalo Chip matching up to $4000. “We are always involved with charity programs, rides, and events during the rally week,” says Sturgis Buffalo Chip owner Rod “Woody” Woodruff. “The Sturgis Meals On Wheels Program has been ready for some attention from our riders, and the 80th anniversary is a great opportunity to challenge our fans to help them out, even if they delayed coming to the rally by a year.”
Strider Sports International, based in Rapid City, is the maker of Strider bicycles for kids, and the two-wheel focused company has thrown $1000 in matching donations into the pot.
“I know from past experience that motorcyclists are incredibly generous,” says Robert Pandya motorcycle industry veteran, and founder of the Give A Shift organization that initiated this drive. “We respect any riders who choose not to come to the event due to COVID, but encourage them to ‘donate a tank’ to thank and help the local seniors who have seen the rally become the most famous of its kind in the world. Supporting the Sturgis Meals on Wheels program is a natural fit for any biker and will have a hugely positive impact for local senior citizens.” The GoFundMe page allows non-attendees to participate in the charitable giving.
If you are at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, it’s possible to donate in person. Bring cash to the blue tent at 1230 Lazelle Street in Sturgis between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. from now through Saturday.
Although attendees have weighed the risks of attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and decided that the rewards are worth it, it does put a strain on local seniors. “We serve locals over 60 years old meals every weekday, and even provide meals for the weekend! With the uncertainty of the world right now, our seniors depend on us just so that they don’t have to worry about leaving their homes where they feel safe,” says Helms. “With our aging population taking the city advice to quarantine for a couple of weeks after the rally, we are a needed service now more than ever, but we will get it done as we always do!”
“In a time of controversies and challenges to the events world, it is clear that riders and motorcycle brands care about the seniors in this community,” Pandya noted. “The results of this effort are a thank you from rally fans across the world.”