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Women’s Day at the Sturgis Rally empowers female bike riders

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 8:12 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - When you think of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally some things that could come to mind are motorcycles, live music, and entertainment, but what about women empowerment?

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip held its first full Women’s Day and kicked it off with the Biker Bells charity ride from Deadwood to the Chip with the goal of creating an event for women motorcyclists.

“And I wanted people to feel like they could just come to the Buffalo Chip as a woman rider, meet other riders, and build her network. Make other connections to women in a very easy way,” said Marilyn Stemp, project organizer for The Buffalo Chip.

Stemp claims demographics show women who own motorcycles have grown steadily over the past decade and this is backed up by the Motorcycle Industry Council.

Surveys done by the council show 19% of motorcycle owners in 2018 were female compared to 10% in 2009.

“We are the ones who are driving the industry, we are the ones buying new bikes, buying new gear. Women are influencers in motorcycling,” said Stemp.

Lorna Cuny first started riding 4 years ago and since then has helped found an all-indigenous women biker group.

“You know, we started out 3 years ago. There were three of us who didn’t know each other. We met in Albuquerque and decided we needed to do something about missing and murdered women and do something to empower women and here we are three years later,” said Cuny.

Cuny believes her group is part of a movement and helped to have a proclamation signed by the Sturgis mayor declaring the first Sunday of the rally MMIW Medicine Bull Ride.

When asked about Women’s Day bringing female riders together Cuny believes, “it’s very empowering. Especially with the women that I ride with. We’re all indigenous women ad like I said I grew up here. As an indigenous person growing up here, we never really participated in the rally and so it is nice and to be with my sisters and to ride with them. It’s very empowering.”

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