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Weather doesn’t diminish Memorial Ride

By Staff | Sep 14, 2018

Bryce Berginski/PCT Riders go up Main Avenue in Rugby during the 6th annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride. This year’s event attracted 267 participants.

Dozens of motorcycles, classic cars and trucks rumbled down Main Avenue Saturday afternoon to honor the memory of Daryl Kuhnhenn, a well-known community member who passed away in 2011.

The 6th annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride began at the Eagles Club Saturday morning with registration at the Eagles’ Club at 9 a.m. Daryl’s son and ride organizer Ben Kuhnhenn said participants paid a $25 fee to get a patch commemorating their participation and supper the night of the ride.

The Rugby Volunteer Fire Department served coffee and doughnuts, requesting a free will donation to support fire and emergency services.

The participants left the Eagles’ Club at 11 a.m. to begin their ride, which followed a route through the north central part of North Dakota.

“This year, we went to Towner, Upham, Kramer, Willow City, and back to Rugby,” Kuhnhenn said. “This was the first year of that route due to the road construction on Highway 3 south of Rugby.”

Kuhnhenn said usually the route travels from Rugby to communities along US Highway 52. “Every other year, it’s been Willow City, Towner, Drake, Martin, Balta, and back to Rugby,” he noted.

After the bikes and cars returned to Rugby, they paraded down Main Avenue. Some participants threw candy to children watching from the sidewalk.

Kuhnhenn, who oversees the event with a board of directors, owns and manages his late father’s business, Daryl’s Refrigeration. He said his mother, Pat Kuhnhenn, also lives in Rugby, as does one of his two sisters.

“This year, there were 267 people participating, which was down over 100 from last year,” Kuhnhenn said. “The weather this year played a big factor in that.”

Kuhnhenn said the ride usually attracts between 300 and 400 participants, but “the rain and the wind this year was a factor.”

Although fewer people attended the ride this year, Kuhnhenn estimated the total amount of money raised didn’t differ much from the average annual sum.

“By the time we added it up, we were around that $88,000 total for all the years. That’s usually between $12,000 and $16,000 a year,” he said.

Kuhnhenn estimated 20 local charities received donations from the proceeds.

Kuhnhenn listed some organizations who received donations: ” The fire department; the Prairie Village Museum; the Pierce County Fair; the American Legion are probably the biggest ones we do. We give two scholarships to Rugby High, two scholarships to TGU, and one to Drake High.”

“We donate to the food pantry, the Lyric, the Lions Club there are a lot to remember,” Kuhnhenn continued.

Participants came from as far away as Fargo to ride in the event this year, and Kuhnhenn said some riders have come from Canada to participate in past years.

Kuhnhenn said the event is open to anyone wanting to participate, and free will donations are welcome at the supper at the end of the evening.

Our focus is just to get together, and remember all the good Daryl did. Just get out in public, talk to people and just get to know the different people you’ve never met who come on it, and talk to old friends you don’t get to see very often, and to raise money for charities and different causes,” Kuhnhenn indicated.

Another memorial ride is planned for next year. “It’s always the Saturday after Labor Day,” Kuhnhenn said.

Pausing, Kuhnhenn said of his father, “He was a big part of the community. He was a member of a lot of different organizations. He always liked to give back. This is a good way to be able to honor his memory.”

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