Biker Belles: Encouragement, Empowerment, Mentorship, Charity.

Real Riders. Real Stories. Real Passion.

By Shannon “Dazzlin” Venturo

The prestigious 10th annual Biker Belles charity event kicked off from the legendary Buffalo Chip CrossRoads. Leading the ride through the Black Hills grandeur were road captains Laura Klock and Karlee Cobb. A number of prominent female influencers on the moto scene gather annually with other lady riders to share their passion for two wheels and inspire others. The mission of the event is to celebrate women’s role in shaping the culture, art and history of motorcycling.

Added to this year’s decade celebration was the “Women on Wheels” ride-in bike show. Lady builders lined up their stunning rides and competed for great prizes. I am happy to report I was honored with the win in the Best Paint category. Wow! What a prize package too, a set of Dunlop tires for my bike and my choice of Harley-Davidson boots just to name a couple of the prizes.

It was easy to see in the morning that Toni Woodruff, the Biker Belles program manager was correct in saying, “Biker Belles represents many positive elements of the motorcycle community – encouragement, empowerment, mentorship and charity.” When the event was created in 2009, the hope was that it would draw a diverse group of women, sharing the spirit of camaraderie of the open road. It is wonderful to see this dream fulfilled. The event has grown to over a hundred women participating this year. Toni said, “I can’t wait to see where the Biker Belles takes us in the years to come, and I hope you will join us on the journey.” 

The Biker Belles charity event, sponsored by the Legendary Buffalo Chip has two primary charities of choice. The first is Helping with Horsepower, an organization that empowers and encourages women and girls who are at risk or are victims of abuse. The organization has developed several programs that have a demonstrated track record of results including their SpiritHorse Program, Entrepreneur Experience and the nationally recognized Helping with Horsepower Bike Rebuild Program. Founder Laura Klock explains, “Using riding and racing as a parenting tool with my two daughters, I have experienced firsthand how motorcycling can teach us not only about ourselves, but also powerful life lessons. Our hope for this project is to encourage and transform these girls by repairing what has been damaged on a motorcycle, and also in their lives.”

The second is Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Several previous Hall of Fame inductees, including Gloria Struck, Cris Sommer Simmons and Laura Klock, along with ride expert Meg McDonough, were the pioneers of this event. They all wanted to increase their support of women riders and encourage new riders in the sport and lifestyle that they drew so much joy from. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees, Marilyn Stemp and Valerie Thompson, “Queen of Speed” land speed record holder, were on the panel at the “Shifting Gears” symposium. They were joined by Alisa Clickenger and “You Go Girl” Leah Misch. We listened to them all talk about “being” the change we want to see in the world.

After a delicious catered lunch, “fit for a queen,” at Deadwood Lodge, I had a chance to pick up a copy of Gloria Struck’s new book “Gloria; A Lifetime of Motorcycles” and get it signed by Gloria herself. What an honor to see this lady who has been riding for over seventy years! Followed by some well-deserved pampering with chair massages, facial and hair care sponsored by Team Diva! “Anything worth doing is worth OVERdoing.” is the credo Diva Amy Skaling lives by. Diva Amy is the owner, designer, and creator of all things for Team Diva, a company specializing in headwear and accessories. I happened to win a gorgeous hat by Amy in the silent auction and she autographed it for me!

As the event came to a close, we all gathered to say goodbye in front of the Lodge for a big group picture with both old friends on the asphalt and new-found relationships. I am encouraged to see this beautiful group of wind sisters celebrating each other and the wonderful sport of motorcycling riding. Until next year Belles, safe travels!