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Rockin’ and ridin’ Rugby

By Staff | Sep 12, 2014

Ashley Burkhartsmeier/PCT Nearly 225 bikers and many classic cars joined the third annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride on Main Avenue on Sept. 6.

Hundreds of area residents and visitors converged on Main Avenue in Rugby for Geographical Center Day and the third annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride on Sept. 6.

The ever-growing ride, in honor of late Rugby volunteer, business owner and Vietnam veteran Daryl Kuhnhenn, had more than 400 participants, including 223 bikers at the start at Rugby Eagles Club. Others drove classic cars. The 2013 ride had 176 bikers at the start.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” said Ben Kuhnhenn, event president and Daryl’s son. “The first year was unexpectedly good. You don’t know what to expect and it was great and better next year.

“This year, it even exceeded my expectations. We probably gained 100 people.”

After netting about $7,500 for local organizations last year, the ride eclipsed this year’s goal of $10,000, raising nearly $12,000. Ben Kuhnhenn said some of the money will go toward a memorial wall being built at North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, where his father is buried. About 90 percent of money raised will stay in the Rugby community. The ride’s board will meet Monday to decide which groups will receive donations. Scholarships will be provided to students going to trade schools.

Kuhnhenn said his wife Mandy, another ride organizer, thumbed through registrations of riders from as far as California, New Mexico, Virginia and Estevan, Saskatchewan.

“It’s suprising how far away they come from,” Ben Kuhnhenn said. “I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but it’s nice to see people from that far away participated.

About 250 people were served at the American Legion’s supper following the ride.

Geo Day draws big

About 300 people made for a steady crowd at the Geographical Center Day street dance. Vendors, restaurants and bars kept people fed throughout the afternoon and evening.

“That was the most beautiful thing,” said Shelley Block, event organizer and Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“Even our vendors during the day had a steady stream.”

Afternoon and early evening festivities included ping pong ball drops from the rooftops of Main Avenue buildings. Children below rushed to catch the balls, which had the names of various prizes.

Block was pleased to see the bikers stream down Main to open the day of fun. American flags and candy were handed out to bikers, drivers and children lining the street.

“Joining in with the Daryl Kuhnhenn ride was fabulous,” she said, “but we’d like to get more people downtown for that next year. It’s nice for riders to have that option of going to the street dance.”

Belcourt band Hicktown energized the crowds at the street dance, which lasted until about 1 a.m. The band played country and rock ‘n’ roll classics and modern hits.

“Definitely, we will continue with the street dance because people really enjoyed the band,” Block said.

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