Sturgis Buffalo Chip President, Rod Woodruff, John Shope of Dirty Bird Customs and Keith Terry, President and founder of Terry Components, joined together today to unveil the 2015 Buffalo Chip Challenge program at Sturgis Brown High School.
Legends will collide when stars of HISTORY’s “Biker Battleground: Phoenix,” John Shope and Paul Yaffe, join the Buffalo Chip Challenge. These celebrity custom bike builders will pit iconic motorcycle manufacturers Indian and Harley-Davidson against each other in a classic build-off that will give Black Hills area high school students an opportunity to learn cutting-edge motorcycle customization techniques. This year, the innovative high school mentorship program is taking exciting new twists by challenging students to customize two bikes, a 2014 Indian Chieftain and a 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King, all under the instruction of industry veterans. The Sturgis Buffalo Chip will auction off both bikes Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in support of its signature Legends Ride. The Buffalo Chip Challenge is a collaboration between the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Sturgis Brown High School, Terry Components, Dakota V-Twin and a large group of industry-leading sponsors. The addition of the industry super stars is just one of the many exciting changes to the program this year.
John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts, Paul Yaffe of Bagger Nation and Dave Perewitz of Perewitz Cycle Fab, complete a super team of world-renowned customization leaders that will teach Black Hills area students state-of-the-art technical skills at Sturgis Brown High School. Other members of that team include Keith Terry, Randy Cramer and Nick Cramer. The Sturgis Buffalo Chip is leading the regional program focused on American innovation and craftsmanship for its fifth consecutive year. Many of the motorcycle industry’s top companies continue to sponsor world-class parts for the Buffalo Chip’s build program each year, recognizing its significance as part of the growth and success in American custom bike building.
Students will transform the Indian Chieftain into a fully customized dream machine primarily using John Shope’s Dirty Bird Concepts fabrications, and the Harley will make its transformation based on designs created by Paul Yaffe, utilizing parts from Bagger Nation as well as other sponsors. Shope is well known as a motorcycle artist and will inspire an original work of art from visualization to completion. Yaffe will bring his “big-wheel bagger” expertise to the team to fire up students as they convert the Harley-Davidson Road King into a street-scorching custom. Both bikes are scheduled for completion in time for the fast-approaching Donnie Smith Bike and Car Show.on March 28-29, 2015.
For the first time ever, the Buffalo Chip Challenge will be open to all Black Hills area high school students. All instruction will take place at Sturgis Brown High School, but any area student can join the program. Students interested in more information or looking to register for the class should inquire with their high school counselor or contact Sturgis Brown Principal Jeff Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605-347-2686. Sturgis Brown High School instructors for the program are Chad Hedderman and Bill Johnson.
Also new this year, the Buffalo Chip is offering participating students the opportunity at $8,500 in scholarships. A variety of criteria will determine scholarship gifts including level of participation, interest and improved abilities over the course of the program. Students who participate in development and creation of a display for the Donnie Smith Bike and Car Show in Minneapolis will also be eligible for scholarship awards.
With the help of Keith Terry and Sturgis Brown High School instructors, Chad Hedderman and Bill Johnson, the Buffalo Chip created the innovative school program in 2010 as a means to promote technical education in South Dakota and provide students with expanded career opportunities in the motorcycle industry. Because the state is home to the world’s largest motorcycle rally, a growing number of motorcycle industry businesses have moved to the Black Hills and are looking for experienced technicians. The Sturgis Buffalo Chip hopes to provide local career opportunities for students by creating a hands-on curriculum that teaches youth about motorcycle fabrication and customization.
Over the years, Buffalo Chip Challenge participants proved they had learned the skills to put them on par with some of the world’s best builders by winning first place in the Full Custom Bagger Open Class and Overall Best Display at the Donnie Smith Bike Show and first place in the Full Custom Bagger category and Best Custom Paint Job at the Black Hills Bike Show.
“Our goal is to open the door to new career choices and empower young adults to feel like a job in the motorcycle customization industry is well within their reach,” says Rod Woodruff, president of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. “Through the collaboration and generosity of many in the motorcycle industry, we are offering Black Hills students new choices and opportunities and in the process supporting Black Hills charities. This program is a win-win for the Black Hills.”
Special thanks to Baggsters, Arlen Ness Enterprises, Hot Leathers, C.P. Carrillo, Dakota Digital, Dave Mackie Engineering, Diamond Heads, Danny Gray, Feuling Parts, Handy Enterprises, Hawg Halters, Inc., Horsepower, Inc., Hoffman, Jamie Repair, Legend Suspension, Owens Interstate Sales, RC Components, Thunder Cycle, Thunder Max, Trask Performance, Jack Van Kampen and Vee Rubber America for donating parts to the program.
Follow the Buffalo Chip Challenge on the Sturgis Legends Ride Facebook page to see photos, videos and articles updating the public on the project’s progress.