Womens motorcycling events at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have come and gone over the years, but none has had longer and stronger “legs” than the Biker Belles celebration, an event organized by the Sturgis Buffalo Chip that just completed its second year.
Held this year on August 8, the Wednesday of the rally, the Biker Belles celebration is part ride, part celebration, with a charitable component mixed in.The two benefitting charities are Helping With Horsepower, a nonprofit currently working with a South Dakota home for young girls in crisis calledAbbott House, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame, which has put past donations toward purchasing land for future expansion.
“I love what women motorcyclists do for charity and for the community,” said Jan Yu, a rider from Augusta, Ga., about why she attended the Biker Belles celebration. Michelle Vaughn, a Sturgis “newbie” whos also from Augusta, said, “I’m here because I want to support women’s causes.”
While Harley-Davidson is one of the sponsors of Biker Belles, the celebration is open to all brands of motorcycles, and men were welcome, too. The $150 entry fee included a symposium called “Paving the Way” that featured women leaders in the motorcycle industry; an escorted 73-mile ride from The Lodge at Deadwood, the staging area hotel, to the Buffalo Chip campground in Sturgis, where lunch was served; and a fashion show and live and silent auction. The ticket price also included entry to that evening’s concert at the Chip, headlined by Eric Church.
More than $14,000 was raised this year, more than triple what was raised at last years event. All of the money raised will go directly to the two charities. Click through the photos below to see the rest of the story in pictures.
Personal note (from Genevieve): I couldn’t resist sharing these next two photos with you. Sunset is a woman that Diva Amy and I met at the AMA Women amp; Motorcycling Conference in Carson City, Nev., the weekend before Sturgis. Amy talked Sunset into ridingto Sturgisfrom California for the Biker Belles celebration and offered her the spare room in the house she and I had rented. Sunset told us shes a first grade teacher—hard to believe when shes all dressed up in her biker garb, but we figured we could trust a first grade teacher.
Here’s a note I got from Sunset when she got home. “For me, this trip was just what the doctor ordered. I love anything intense, extreme, and spontaneous—even better when I can get all three at once. Life improved because I became one with the road again. My ride on the first day, with the major rain, lightning, hail, and duck-under-the-overpass (only to discover another rider had the same idea), was wonderful! The 100-plus-degree heat on my last day on I-80 was more of the same. I think of riding and those circumstances as letting me know Im alive. I know you all understand.”