By Rider Magazine Staff
The 5th annual Veterans Charity Ride (VCR), in partnership with Indian Motorcycle, will feature a record number of female veteran participants, who will be sharing their decorated military careers and passion for motorcycling with their peers. The veteran-operated, non-profit VCR uses “motorcycle therapy” to help fellow veterans readjust to civilian life.
This year’s ride to Sturgis, South Dakota, will embark on July 25, 2019, from Salt Lake City, Utah, winding through Colorado and past the famous Pikes Peak before turning north toward the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The group will be riding a variety of Indian Motorcycle models, some with custom-built Champion sidecars to carry amputee and paraplegic veterans. The journey not only delivers the freedom of the open road and the cathartic experience only a motorcycle can deliver, but allows the veterans to bond by sharing stories and engage in peer-to-peer discussions.
The VCR connects veterans in a peer/mentor environment that reintroduces them back into the civilian community to reconnect with the country they served. VCR offers holistic and nature-based programs specifically designed to help wounded, severely injured and amputee veterans from all branches of service. Throughout the ride, the VCR stops by several small towns to make connections and to honor and celebrate our nation’s heroes.
This year’s ride will feature a total of 17 veterans. Among those, eight are returning veterans who will mentor the nine veterans who are new to the program. This year’s ride features four female veterans, the most to join in a single year for VCR. Among some of the riding veterans this year, include:
US Army Chief Warrant Officer Kaylan Harrington comes from a long line of veterans spanning back to WWI and has been riding motorcycles since she was 16. After several tours of duty, Harrington returned to Afghanistan with NATO Special Operations Detachment and continued to work with local children, building schools, helping abused women and expanding educational opportunities for girls.
Eric “The Iron Fist” Morante is a three-tour Marine veteran, whose loss of his leg did not stop him from fulfilling his dream and became the first Marine amputee sanctioned to compete in boxing in the United States.
Jared “Bones” Thomas spent more than eight years as an Army combat medic who first joined VCR on the ride to Sturgis in 2018. The ride had such a profound effect on him he chose to come back this year and help lead the ride.
To support the VCR, donate or learn more, visit VeteransCharityRide.org. You can also follow along on Indian’s and the VCR’s social media channels.