Some friendly competition is good for the Lone Star State — especially when it's for a good cause. This spring, a nonprofit organization will pit Austin against Dallas to benefit veterans and first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, and Motorcycle Missions, a nonprofit group that helps veterans and first responders through motorcycle therapy, will hold a motorcycle build-off competition between groups of veterans and first responders in both cities. Each team will design and build a custom Indian Chief Dark Horse to raise money for Motorcycle Missions.
The creations will be revealed April 12 at John Paul DeJoria's and Gary Spellman's 17th annual Peace Love Happiness charity weekend, benefiting The 100 Club of Central Texas. The 100 Club provides financial and emotional support to the families of first responders who have been injured or killed in the line of duty.
The teams building the motorcycles are made up of folks who have formerly served in the military or as first responders — including several branches of the U.S. military and local Dallas and Austin police and fire departments — for as many as three decades.
Team Austin will include Robert Richman, a law enforcement official with more than 25 years of experience. Richman specialized in multiple disciplines and has helped patrol crimes such as critical incident hostage negotiations, human-trafficking, and child abuse.
Among this year’s competitors is Team Dallas’ John Arroyo, an Army veteran and survivor of the Fort Hood shooting in 2014. After recovering from severe wounds, Arroyo received the highest non-combat honor for valor.
“Whether riding or wrenching, Motorcycle Missions bring veterans and first responders together as they work towards one common goal. The trials and tribulations, camaraderie, and life-long friendships are what ‘motorcycle therapy’ is all about,” says Krystal Hess, Motorcycle Missions founder, in a release. “If we can help these heroes get back to living healthy, joyful lives, while instilling them with a passion for motorcycles, we have fulfilled our mission.”
After the big reveal, on April 13, fans will be able to visit Motorcycle Missions’ and Indian Motorcycle’s Instagram and Facebook channels to vote for their favorite and help name a winner. Each custom bike will then make its way to the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to be auctioned off on August 6, at the Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel and Casino, with all proceeds benefiting Motorcycle Missions, according to the release.
“It’s pretty amazing how Motorcycle Missions has utilized motorcycles and craftsmanship to improve the lives of countless veterans and first responders, facing the challenges often associated with active duty,” says Reid Wilson, senior director for Indian Motorcycle, in the release. “It truly is an incredible program, and we’re proud to support Motorcycle Missions and the veterans and first responders who have put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.”