While the annual Sturgis Legends Ride is always a hit, this year’s event came with a twist, a biker battle playing off the storied rivalry of Harley versus Indian. To thicken the plot for the 2015 Legends Ride, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip enlisted the services of “Biker Battleground Phoenix” custom builders John Shope and Paul Yaffe who mentored local high school students in the Buffalo Chip Challenge project. Team Shope, which got additional guidance from Keith Terry and Chris Malo, customized a 2014 Indian Chieftain while Team Yaffe tackled a 2014 Harley Road King with the help of Randy and Nick Cramer. The gamble paid off as both motorcycles sold for record amounts at the 2015 Legends Ride auction.
Dirty Bird’s John Shope and Bagger Nation’s Paul Yaffe stand with the winning bidders in the 2015 Legends Ride auction of the Chip Challenge motorcycles.
A spirited bidding battle broke out as two men were both bent on winning the bike of their choice as the highest bidder got to choose between the two. The crowd cheered them on as prices rose, excitement levels rising when Tommy Lamebright of Austin, Texas, closed the deal with a $61,000 bid. There was no hesitation when it came time to choose which bike he wanted – Team Shope’s striking silver and black Chieftain bagger. His choice was even clearer when Lamebright divulged he already owns four Indians.
But the second party in the bidding war didn’t walk away empty handed. Derrick and Anne Ames rode away with the incredible Road King after the auctioneer gave them the option of owning it outright for a cool $60K, the amount of the final bid they placed. Ames quickly accepted the offer after a head nod from Anne, once again eliciting cheers from the crowd.
The real winners though are the kids in the Black Hills Special Olympics program, beneficiaries of many of the proceeds from the Legends Ride. The record-breaking $121,000 sale of the two motorcycles raised will be used toward the purchase of a van to transport Special Olympic athletes to training sessions and competitive events. Funds raised in the past have already been used to buy them one van, along with a slew of Stryder bicycles. Ten local athletes were special guests at the Legends Ride festivities who quickly became crowd favorites. The kids’ favorite, though, was Josh Owens of Discovery Channel’s program Moonshiners and their faces lit up when they got the opportunity to meet him.
”If I can help kids out in any way, if you need me, I’ll be there,” said Owens.
A big chunk of change was also raised by the sale of an Epiphone Les Paul Guitar signed by many of the celebrities on the Legends Ride. Ben Hudye of Norquay, Saskatchewan, placed the winning bid of $3100. The sale of a David Uhl painting of motorcycle industry favorite, Backroads Nomad Betsy Huelskamp, raised another $2500. The painting, like the guitar, is also headed north to Canada as Bobby and Debbie Duguay of Edmonton, Alberta, outbid the competition. Before today, the Legends Ride had already raised around $375,000 for the Black Hills Special Olympics and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. By the time today’s haul is tallied, that mark will easily eclipse the half-million mark.
Once again, the Legends Ride gave participants the chance to rub elbows and ride with a variety of celebrities, this year’s lineup including John Paul DeJoria of Paul Mitchell fame, former NBA player Scott Pollard, actress Kristy Swanson and husband Lloyd Eisler, a former Olympic skater, custom builders Shope, Yaffe, Roland Sands and others.
The Black Hills students who took part in the Buffalo Chip Challenge get acknowledged for their hard work at the 2015 Legends Ride.
Being the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Rally, it’s little surprise a record amount of riders took part in this year’s event, with approximately 450 riders rolling out of Deadwood on their way to a reception at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. The ride took a longer, different route this year than year’s past, heading out of town on US-85 up to Belle Fourche, then cutting back from the western side of Bear Butte to the Buffalo Chip. A catered dinner awaited them, and more items like signed guitars and Kuryakyn Bahn products were auctioned off to add to today’s tally. Legend Riders also got to hang out for the triple line-up of Nazareth, Dee Snider and Godsmack on The Chip’s main stage.
DeJoria paid the Legends Ride the highest compliment saying “Being a biker myself for many, many years, I happen to know that in philanthropy, bikers are some of the most giving, loving human beings on the planet. Whether it’s giving of their time to go on a ride, giving their time to go out and help somebody out. It doesn’t have to be monetary, it can be of their time, and they do it.
“And one of the most important, I think, biker events on the planet is what goes on here in South Dakota every single year and we’re just so happy to be a part of it.”
- Motorcycles began lining the streets of downtown Deadwood long before the ride started.
- Jager girl Kristina flashes a great smile at the 2015 Legends Ride.
- This Epiphone Les Paul Guitar was signed by many of the celebrities in the 2015 Legends Ride.
- Betsy Huelskamp had the honor of being the subject of David Uhl's painting that was auctioned for charity at the 2015 Legends Ride.