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Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride raises over $16K

By Staff | Sep 13, 2019

Cars, trucks and motorcycles go down Rugby’s Main Avenue during the seventh annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride.

Rain and cooler temperatures did little to dampen the generosity or enthusiasm of more than 100 participants in the Seventh Annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride last Saturday.

“The ride went good considering the weather on Saturday,” said organizer Ben Kuhnhenn. “We ended up getting between 130 and 150 people, and we’re able to give away more money than we did last year, considering the lower number of people.”

“So,” Kuhnhenn said with slight amazement in his voice, “We were able to raise and we’re going to be giving away $16,500.”

Kuhnhenn estimated that the ride has given money to “over 20” organizations and charities since its first run the Saturday after Labor Day in 2012.

“And since we started,” Kuhnhenn added, “We’ve given away $104,500.”

“We get the majority of our money over 50 percent, from sponsorships from businesses and organizations that we send out letters to,” Kuhnhenn noted. “We give them a package and different options for what they’d want to (donate), and we’ve had really great response from the people, and our sponsorship’s been growing every year.”

Kuhnhenn said as word spreads about the ride, people call at all times with donations, even people not contacted by the Kuhnhenn fundraisers.

“Actually, until the day before the ride, people have been calling and messaging to see if they could donate (people) that we never thought of,” Kuhnhenn said.

“It’s been a great thing,” Kuhnhenn said. “The community around Rugby and all the surrounding communities have been great as far as the support we’ve been getting.”

The annual ride is named for Kuhnhenn’s father. Daryl Kuhnhenn died in a motorcycle crash on September 19, 2011.

Kuhnhenn described his father as “very giving, outgoing, generous he’d give you the shirt off his back if that’s what he figured it would take to help you out. He was always involved with different clubs and did a lot with veterans.”

“He was a Vietnam veteran, so he was in the American Legion and the VFW,” Kuhnhenn added. “He always took time for other veterans.”

Kuhnhenn said veterans’ charities have a prominent place on the ride’s list of recipients for money raised.

“We (donate to) the Veterans’ Home in Lisbon; the Veterans’ Cemetery in Mandan that’s where my dad’s buried; the American Legion in Rugby; we’ve given some to the (American) Legion in Upham; the vet center in Minot, and then, we give money to the Lions Club, and they give money to support the PTSD dog (program),” Kuhnhenn said.

The ride follows routes that Kuhnhenn said will alternate each year.

Kuhnhenn said this year’s ride went “from Rugby to Willow City; Towner, to Drake, Martin, Balta and back to Rugby.”

“Last year, we had a different route due to road construction,” Kuhnhenn noted. “Last year, we went to Towner, Upham, Kramer, Bottineau, Willow City and back to Rugby. I think next year, we’re going to do that again alternate our route every other year to give all these small towns a chance to have a little bit of influx of customers for the day.”

Kuhnhenn described the small communities as “enthusiastic” about the boost to their local economy. “You get these towns that have 50 people in them, and all of a sudden, you have 300 extra people in them for a couple of hours; it’s a little boost to the small town bars.”

The ride usually ends with a supper in Rugby. This year’s meal was served at the Rugby Memorial Hall.

Although the ride features plenty of motorcycles, Kuhnhenn said, “It’s not really about the motorcycles and cars; it’s more to get together and celebrate his memory and it doesn’t matter what you’re driving. It’s everybody just getting together and having a good time.”

Kuhnhenn said he plans to continue the tradition the day after Labor Day next year.

“As long as we keep getting the support of the communities and the people, and as long as the people keep showing up, we’ll keep doing it.”

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