The second annual Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis (VCR), organized by Full Vision Productions and presented by Indian Motorcycles, will be hosted in Summer 2016. For the first time, the public will also be able to nominate deserving veterans to participate through the new program, “Hero’s Ride of a Lifetime.” Starting in Los Angeles, California, on July 30, the nine-day ride to Sturgis, South Dakota, will provide 20 veterans a chance to use motorcycle therapy as a way to decompress from the challenges of post-war life.
Founded in 2015 by Army Paratrooper veteran Dave Frey and Emmy award-winning director Robert Manciero, VCR uses motorcycle therapy to provide a healing and fun experience for a select group of veterans who need support. “Giving veterans an outlet for their stress and creating a way for them to find emotional balance is critical,” said ride founder Dave Frey. “As a veteran myself, I’ve used long motorcycle rides for years as a mechanism to decompress. It occurred to me that others would benefit from the power of motorcycle therapy. VCR provides a group of veterans with the benefits of riding, plus a camaraderie and brotherhood that veterans often have difficulty finding on their own.”
The challenges for veterans are well documented. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and difficulties with re-assimilation to civilian life are common. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans – many of whom are still young individuals – are facing a major crisis, with an estimated 20 percent of those veterans having PTSD and/or depression according to a 2014 survey. Motorcycle therapy is one of several effective therapies for veterans seeking relaxation, peace of mind and enjoyment.
VCR 2016 will give 15 ambulatory and five amputee/disabled veterans of various military branches – the majority of whom are post-9/11 vets – the opportunity to work toward overcoming their post-war challenges on the open road. Riding from Los Angeles to Sturgis, the veterans will travel through some of the most scenic back roads of the western United States on the latest Indian® Motorcycle models, some with Champion sidecars and custom trike conversions. Along the ride route, the group will stop in small towns to meet with other veterans, supporters and riders, and participate in various adventures, including off-road excursions and street rallies. Upon arrival in Sturgis, the group will be treated to a special “Hero’s Welcome” and will enjoy a week-long “ultimate rider” experience, taking part in the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and further solidifying a brother/sisterhood that was formed on the open roads of the Wild West.
In addition to the veterans chosen by the sponsoring team from various organization, the new program, “Hero’s Ride of a Lifetime”, enables the public to nominate two deserving veterans to join the ride. To participate, visit VeteransCharityRide.org/heros-ride to nominate your favorite post-9/11 veteran and describe why he or she is deserving of this amazing experience. Two heroes will be chosen to join the group – one rider (motorcycle license and experience required) and one amputee/disabled veteran (motorcycle license not necessary) who will ride in a donated Champion Sidecar. The online nomination program runs through April 15, and the two chosen heroes will be announced on Memorial Day, May 30th, on VeteransCharityRide.org.