Months of hard work paid off for a group of Black Hills area high school students this weekend. The group, participating in the 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge, earned two first place awards April 2 at the prestigious Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show in St. Paul, Minn. The student-built Buffalo Chip Challenge bikes, a fully customized 2016 Victory Cross Country and 2015 Indian Chief Classic, each earned first place honors in the open class. The students competed against professional custom bike builders, which makes winning these awards an even more remarkable achievement.
“Winning first place in competition against professionals was really exciting,” said Calvin Tohm, a junior from Spearfish Senior High School and member of Team Indian. “All of the hard work became worth it when they called us up there to accept the award. Going to the Donnie Smith Show taught me how to make a good first impression, and winning that award taught me to make the most of every opportunity.”
The program, developed by Sturgis Buffalo Chip president Rod Woodruff and coordinated by Keith Terry of Terry Components, was designed to prepare the next generation of American motorcycle experts and cultivate motorcycle industry economic development. Mentors Randy Cramer of Dakota V-Twin and Chris Malo of Baggster provided hands-on instruction to students from start to finish to create signature builds that fit the style of their teams' esteemed captains, Rusty Jones of Rusty Jones Customs and John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts.
“The students worked very hard to prepare for the Donnie Smith Show,” said Rod Woodruff, president of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. “The kids definitely earned those first place trophies. Rarely have students stood together more proudly than this group did when they accepted those first place awards on the Donnie Smith Show Stage.”
Students participating in the Buffalo Chip Challenge program are also eligible to earn $8,500 in scholarships with $5,000 going to first place, $2,500 to second and $1,000 to third. The awards, presented by Buffalo Chip President, Rod Woodruff, will be announced in April.
The two award-winning custom motorcycles will be auctioned in support of the Buffalo Chip’s signature Legends Ride charity event on Deadwood’s Main Street on Monday, Aug. 8.
The Buffalo Chip Challenge is a collaboration between the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Terry Components, Dakota V-Twin, Baggster and a large group of industry-leading sponsors. This is the sixth consecutive year the Sturgis Buffalo Chip has led the regional program focused on American innovation and craftsmanship. The Buffalo Chip Challenge bikes have won top awards in the Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show every year they have been entered.
Many of the motorcycle industry’s top companies continue to supply world-class parts and services for the Buffalo Chip’s build program each year, recognizing its significance as part of the growth and success in American custom bike building. Special thanks to American Iron Magazine, Baggster, Dakota V-Twin, Dirty Bird Concepts, Hot Leathers, Indian Motorcycle Sturgis, Rusty Jones Customs, Terry Components, Arlen Ness Enterprises, Carl Brouhard Designs, CT Designs, Flat Earth Art, Hawg Halters, Inc., Jamie's Repair, KewlMetal, Kreun Kustom, Legend Suspensions, Lloyd’z Motor Workz, MTX Audio, RC Components, Sturdevant’s Refinish Supply Center, Trask Performance and Vee Rubber America for contributing to the program.
Those interested in bidding to win one of these award-winning bikes can visit LegendsRide.com or call (605) 347-9000.