RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Combat Wounded Coalition and Visit Rapid City as well as other sponsors partnered together to hold the Inaugural Rushmore Veterans Ride Tuesday.
The ride is part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally honoring veterans and active duty servicemembers. Bikers, veteran's, active and not active military were invited to participate. They started at Main Street Square and were escorted by local law enforcement to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Several dozen bikers registered for the ride and the proceeds were donated to Combat Wounded Coalition," founded by retired Navy Seal, Lt. Jason Redman. Redman founded this non-profit organization that provides a variety of support services for combat wounded veterans.
"Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic locations in the country, when you look at patriotic symbols next the Statue of Liberty," said Redman. "So I've been coming here for 5 years now for the rally and there's a lot of veterans riders...I was like 'Why do we not ride up to Mount Rushmore?'"
Once at Mount Rushmore they held a little ceremony that included special guest speakers that told their stories about their time in the military.
"For over 240 years this country has existed and it was built on the back of individuals who are willing to volunteer to sacrifice for freedom and that continues today and the individuals that have done that share this common bond and there is the camaraderie in us getting together and doing things like this but bigger than that," said Redman. "The opportunity for us to get out and share our story with other Americans who maybe don't have an insight to that world."
Sentiments echoed by one of the participants who is an Air Force Veteran.
"I think this points out to the general public the strength of the veterans of America from all the wars and all the services," said Clinton K. Randolph, a retired major of the U.S. Air Force. "It brings them all together for one event to honor our country."
Once they concluded their program at Mt. Rushmore, the bikers rode back into Rapid City to attend a reception at The Rushmore Hotel.
Redman hopes that this veterans ride will continue to grow in the future.