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SD Veterans to Benefit at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The first Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was held on August 14, 1938. (
The first Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was held on August 14, 1938. (
August 2, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. – This weekend, hundreds of thousands of people will pour into the Black Hills – most on two wheels – for the 79th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And the state's military veterans will benefit.

Lindsey Holmquest, associate state director of community outreach with AARP South Dakota, says her organization sets up a space on Main Street to offer riders respite from the heat, as well as information about how AARP benefits people over 50.

Holmquest says being at Sturgis also provides a good reason to support those who served in the armed forces.

"We're donating $5,000 to the Disabled American Veterans Black Hills chapter, helping more than one million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year," says Holmquest.

The 10 day event in Sturgis – a community of about 7,000 residents – will host the half-million attendees starting today through Aug. 11.

Holmquest says AARP South Dakota representatives will be at Ethel's Roadhouse on Main Street today through Monday, August 5.

This is the fifth year the nonprofit Veterans Charity Ride will participate in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The organization uses "motorcycle therapy" to help fellow veterans adjust to post-war life.

Holmquest says AARP participates in the rally as an opportunity to connect with a huge cross-section of Americans.

"We'll have staff and volunteers there to talk all about AARP and what we do, because we know that folks come in from around the country, to come to the Sturgis rally," says Holmquest.

The annual rally generates about $800 million in revenue for the state of South Dakota.

AARP will also host Hollywood actor and avid motorcycle rider Tom Berenger, for a screening of the movie "American Dresser" on Sunday, Aug. 4 at 2:30 p.m.. That's in the VIP Lounge of the Main Street location.

Disclosure: AARP South Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD