For immediate release: Hamsters USA, the international motorcycle group with big hearts, rolled into western South Dakota to make an impact for kids with disabilities… AGAIN! These great guys came together throughout the year to raise funds for LifeScape of Rapid City culminating near $318,344, all staying local to support children with disabilities in Western SD!
For immediate release: Hamsters USA, the international motorcycle group with big hearts, are at did it again! These great guys came together throughout the year to raise funds for LifeScape Children’s Care of Rapid City culminating in almost $207,000 raised to support children with disabilities in Western SD!
Hamsters USA has raised and donated funds at their annual meeting for the last twelve years, wanting to give back to the greater Black Hills community, which many Hamsters consider their second home. This year’s event brings their cumulative total for 12 years to over $2.7 million in total dollars raised for LifeScape Children’s Care in Rapid City. Their gifts help provide services to children in their Black Hills area homes and communities, delivered by LifeScape Children’s Care personnel who drive over 10,000 miles a month to provide services.
Mary Helen Hlucny, a five-year-old from Whitewood, SD, and her family, spoke at this year’s event. Mary Helen, a young lady whose smile lights up a room, was born 13 weeks early to parents, Cris & Ana. Ultrasounds done at one-week-old showed “holes” in her brain, and when she was eight months old, they received an official diagnosis of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
The Hlucnys are proud to be ambassadors for LifeScape at the Hamsters’ event this year, thanking them for their fundraising efforts that directly impact their family. Ana and Cris were told their daughter might never talk or walk or learn anything. However, Mary Helen continues to prove doctors wrong. Ana believes her daughter can do anything! She doesn’t set “goals” for Mary Helen, because they do not define her. Mary Helen first came to LifeScape to be screened in 2013. To this day, the progress she continues to make there is amazing! Ana explains, “Our time at LifeScape has been a real blessing. The Mustang gait trainer she got through them has truly been life-changing. She shocked therapists by running down the hallway the first time we put her in it.”
Mary Helen continues to come to LifeScape once a week for a therapy session that is “an incredible hybrid of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and make believe, while incorporating NeuroMovement principles the family is learning in Denver.” She loves it, and there are tears if she has to miss an appointment.
Ana adds, “Mary Helen’s future is very bright, in part because of the help and support our family receives from LifeScape. Like any parents, we want Mary Helen to lead a life she finds fulfilling, to be someone who is respected and well thought of, to be independent, and to not feel trapped.” With the mission of empowering children and adults with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives, LifeScape is the perfect place for Mary Helen and her family.
It’s no secret: we love the Donnie Smith Show. We cover it every year for Iron Trader News, as we did for decades at IronWorks. Why? Because it’s the most genuine bike show attached to the biggest swap meet in the Midwest and it has kicked off the riding season here for the last 30 years. Midwest builders work all winter on bikes they debut at the show and with expanding features and greater reach every year, nationally-known custom builders are catching on to the grass roots authenticity this show radiates.
With the bike show and massive swap meet as the mainstays from the beginning in 1987, visitors now find national companies such as S&S, Metzeler, Magnaflow, Kuryakyn, Dennis Kirk and Lucas Oil. The Hot Rod & Classic Car show added several years ago keeps growing and a Tattoo Expo joined the list in 2017.
Student-built shop-program bikes turn out to line up among the most eclectic bunch of show entries you’ll find anywhere. High end, one-off builds from the likes of Gilby and Dan Roogsvold, Panheads, Knuckles, military tribute bikes, big wheel baggers, café racers and bobbers,– they all roll in to the St. Paul River Centre. There’s always a slew of old school Shovel and Sporty choppers and a ton of top shelf custom paint work. The list of builders is a roster of the best names in custom motorcycling, including Donnie Smith, of course, who celebrated his 75th birthday over the weekend with much fanfare.
Entries from car and truck customizers have increased in both number and quality, filling the Roy Wilkins Arena to capacity this year. Rat Rods – on both car and truck platforms – were especially prominent.
Industry-impacting custom bikes were unveiled by S&S Cycle and Kuryakyn, both connected to happenings at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. The S&S build is an FXRT-styled, 143 cu. in. Dyna Low Rider for the Legends Ride, and the Kuryakyn build showcases new bolt-on lines and custom paint for the Rock, Rumble & Rebellion promotion.
As before, Happy Hour rocked on the show floor at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday with blues guitarist Corey Stevens in the house this year; and he brought the house down! The Red Bull After Party at Eagle Street Grill was a cool scene, bringing vendors, builders and influencers together for the first time.
We could go on – but we’ve already admitted fandom. So read instead what others say (below) and scroll through the pictures (also below). You’ll learn for yourself why the Donnie Smith Show is the best in the Midwest – and keeps getting better!
What people say:
It’s the camaraderie and the wide array of styles and passions. It brings us all together. It opens my eyes and the eyes of my students. It sparks new ideas!
– Kevin Baas, Technology Instructor, Kennedy High
As a first time vendor it’s been incredibly rewarding, It’s great having such a passionate audience of riders – men women both, a lot of families, too, so we’re getting the next generation of riders. I like the diversity of the regional demographic in this part of the country with so many loyal, intense riders.
– Chris Magee, PR and Mktg
It’s a business showcase where we create alliances and see what the trends are. This is where we find out what everybody’s been up to. It stays fresh. This is always just a huge market for us.
– Cejae Phillips and Kurt Petersen, Lil Evil Incorpor8ted
Everybody comes to the show because it’s the kickoff to the season. This is what everybody’s looking for, where they find all their buddies they haven’t seen all winter. This is a great social event. I come down here every year and even had a booth here for my shop back in the day. I see people I don’t see anywhere else.
– Jeff and Forest, Kuryakyn
It’s an impressive bike show, one of the better shows in this part of the country. There are always fresh ideas here, not the same things like at other shows, I like that. We have a good presence here.
– Bill Barber, National Motorcycle Museum
Proving again that bikers have big hearts for kids, the international motorcycle group Hamsters USA raised a record $285,395 for LifeScape Children’s Care of Rapid City in fundraising events this year, culminating with their annual gathering in Spearfish during the Sturgis Rally on Monday, August 8th.
Funds raised will provide physical, occupational, and speech therapies, plus psychological services, to children in Western South Dakota–plus parts of Wyoming–through LifeScape Children’s Care of Rapid City.
Hamsters USA has raised and donated funds at their annual meeting for the last eleven years, wanting to give back to the greater Black Hills community, which many Hamsters consider their second home. In 2015, the Hamsters broke the $2 million mark in total dollars raised for LifeScape Children’s Care in Rapid City. Their gifts help provide services to children in their Black Hills area homes and communities, delivered by LifeScape Children’s Care personnel who drive over 10,000 miles a month to provide services.
A highlight of this year’s event was the presence of James Habeck and his family. James is four years old, working with LifeScape therapists to overcome hurdles due to his cerebral palsy, the result of a severe brain injury caused by lack of oxygen during birth. His parents, Jim and Melissa Habeck of Belle Fourche, continue to hope that one day their youngest son will walk and talk with help from LifeScape.
The Habecks were proud to be an ambassador for LifeScape at the Hamsters’ event this year and loved the opportunity to thank them for their fundraising efforts that directly impact their family. James stole the show and stole the hearts of everyone there. Because of the impact he made on several Hamster members, donations totaling $36,950 were given in his honor, which added to the overall total for the evening.
The Habecks first came to LifeScape for therapy when James was just two months old. Now that he’s in preschool, Melissa brings him to Rapid City for three 30-minute sessions of physical, occupational and speech therapy four days each week during summer breaks. LifeScape also gives him access to the latest resources – state-of-the-art assistive equipment and the most recent therapies, designed specifically for children.
“No two kids with CP are the same, but James’ situation is so specialized, and their level of expertise is just great. I could go to other therapists closer to home, but they may not know how to work with kids like LifeScape does. If I didn’t have them, where do I go?” she asks. The Mustang gait trainer that James uses to scoot around his family’s rural home (or escape from his mother in Walmart) is such a new innovation that even some physical therapists who don’t specialize in children’s treatments have never seen one, Melissa said.
Perhaps as important as what James receives at LifeScape is what his mother also finds there: emotional support. “I have a kid with cerebral palsy and four teenagers at home,” Melissa said. “Sometimes I just need someone to listen.”
Melissa knows her hope of seeing James walk and talk one day is still a distant dream. “It’s taken a lot to get him this far,” she said, “but LifeScape is there with us every step of the way.”
LifeScape Children’s Care of Rapid City, SD, is affiliated with LifeScape (formerly Children’s Care Hospital and School and South Dakota Achieve), based in South Dakota. LifeScape is a private, independent, non-profit organization with a mission to empower children and adults with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives. The organization as a whole served over 2,800 children and adults last year.
Jessica Wells, President,