Jacket Ride draws more than 100

The seventh annual Dennis Kirk Jacket Ride raised funds for student veterans at Black Hills State University Tuesday morning. More than 100 people participated in the ride. Pioneer photo by Mark Watson

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SPEARFISH — Motorcycles roared Tuesday morning as the seventh annual Dennis Kirk Jacket Ride rumbled from Black Hills State University to Sturgis.

The annual ride serves as a fundraiser for student veterans at Black Hills State University. 

“This year, we were able to award five, $1,000 scholarships,” said Laurie Stenberg Nichols, interim president of BHSU. “There is no more worthy cause. These veterans served their country and now they are finishing up their education. We owe them that.”

This year, 106 riders on 78 bikes registered to make the ride from BHSU up Spearfish Canyon and finally down Vanocker Canyon where participants enjoyed a lunch served at Scott Peterson Motors in Sturgis.

Thanks to the sponsorship of the ride by Dennis Kirk, Scott Peterson Motors and the Black Hills Pioneer, all registration fees from the ride go directly toward veteran scholarships. This year’s Jacket Ride Scholarships were awarded to: Amanda English, an elementary education major from Piedmont; Abraham Fish, a history education major from Belle Fourche; Adam Gilbert, a science education major from Rapid City; Jeffrey Merrill, an environmental physical science major from Rapid City; and Leslie Nuckles, a general studies major from Custer. 

Merrill participated in the ride.

He said that the scholarship helped him focus more on his education rather than seeking a job to pay his bills.

“It is always a great feeling to know that my comrades and fellow veterans are not going  (to) leave me alone,” Merrill wrote in a letter distributed at the morning reception.

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