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Me and Woody: Bike Builders

My other favorite story about my 2010 adventure at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally didn’t involve any bad ass bikers or beautiful bikini models or famous bands in concert. It was about doing something kind for kids. The amusing part of the story is that I didn’t know I was volunteering to help anybody. I thought I was tagging along with the owner of the Buffalo Chip to cool off and be entertained.

It was a Sunday afternoon in August and it was a scorcher. Normally on a hot day during the rally I’d be dressed in a tank top, shorts and tennis shoes. But on this particular afternoon, Pee Wee Herman and the Funny or Die crew were filming at the campground. I thought it’d be best to be dressed how I think I look best on camera. Just in case. That meant I was wearing jeans, shirt with a collar, cowboy boots and plenty of perspiration. I was sitting in the shade when I saw Woody (Rod Woodruff) approach. I could tell he didn’t have time to stop. He motioned for me to follow. As I caught up he said, “Let’s build some bikes.” I thought, “Cool. We’re going to watch custom choppers being built.”

Woody made straight for the air conditioned Michael Lichter Building. I assumed that was our destination. It was an ideal place to build custom choppers. Not only was it cool inside, but  a celebrity fundraising event was taking place there that night. Famous people like Pee Wee Herman and Lorenzo Lomas and Rupert from Survivor were scheduled to attend. But we did not stop inside. We were merely taking a short-cut. I followed Woody in the front door and right out the back and then onto to a field where a handful of people were gathered under the hot sun. A truck had just been unloaded. At first I didn’t know what the large cardboard cartons contained. Turns out Schwinn had donated sixty bicycles to the Kids and Chrome Foundation to benefit the Black Hills Children Home Society. They were being given to residents at the foster home for battered and abused children. It was children’s bicycles that were being built. Woody and I were there to help.

An event had been scheduled for that afternoon called The Biker Buddy Build-Off. The purpose of this publicized event was to attract volunteers to donate a few hours of their time to assemble bikes. Each volunteer was to be rewarded with a T-shirt and an invitation to the celebrity fund-raiser. That should have drawn a crowd. But the event attracted only a handful of volunteers and by the time we arrived most of the bikes were still in their boxes and the hour was getting late. The organizers needed the bicycles assembled in time for the party that evening (great photo op). Woody went right to work. I watched him put together one bicycle to see how it was done (see photo below). Then I found a set of tools and got to work myself.

I put together a lot of bikes that afternoon. It was miserable working under the hot sun. There were times when I thought I might pass out from heat exhaustion. But I kept working and didn’t collapse and felt elated when that last bike was assembled. Nothing feels better than helping a child in need. Plus we finished by the deadline which was a triumph. Not only because of the charity event, but because I had a show to do too. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a shower and a change of clothes. Good thing I was dressed cool for comedy.

Woody is taking out his first bicycle. I am regretting drinking too many beers the previous night.

2 Responses to “Me and Woody: Bike Builders”

  • cathy gunderson:

    Wow! You are a trooper! They should do something like that in the cities where a comedy stage outside (at a festival) combines with some charity event! Hope you took more photos of the bikes and you putting them together! haha

  • Dwight:

    There are photos somewhere. There was a local TV News crew and more people taking pictures then there were volunteers building bikes. Probably don’t want any of those pics to surface as I’m sure I look a sweaty mess. Would love to add a picture of the long row of newly assembled bikes though. Would REALLY like to see a picture of one of the kids riding one. I’d also wish I have thought of asking for a T-shirt. I know I earned one!

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