Event for bikers continues to support local fire department

Every year in August numerous motorcyclists pass through the small town of Amidon, either on their way to or headed back home from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Motorcycles (RGB)

By RACHEL BOCK | Herald Reporter

Every year in August numerous motorcyclists pass through the small town of Amidon, either on their way to or headed back home from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

While noticing all the bikers that drive by, Slope County Sheriff Pat Lorge along with the Amidon Fire Department, saw a window of opportunity to raise some money for their volunteer Fire Department.

Six years ago they came up with an idea of opening a hamburger stand, because there wasn’t a business open for anyone passing through Amidon to stop and take a break from driving to get something to eat or drink.

“We thought this is shame all these bikes going through and maybe there is a chance that we could make some nickels,” Lorge said.

The Fire Department started small with a BBQ grill outside of the fire hall and cooked hamburgers and brats, and they offered ice cold beverages for anyone passing through during the Sturgis Rally.

The first year started off with a smaller crowd, but every year since it has grown into a successful, profitable event for the volunteer Fire Department.

They have had motorcyclists stop from all over the United States, and as far as the northern territories of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and Sweden.

“Everybody that comes through here once is back every year,” Lorge said.

Three years ago the Amidon Fire Department built a new kitchen inside the fire hall, which was much needed for the event. The firemen cook from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The event goes for 10 days. Even though the idea was to offer visitors something to eat, about half of their customers are from Amidon and the surrounding area.

“(It’s) ten days that mom doesn’t have to cook,” Lorge said.

A Bowman Car Club also comes down on Friday night, enjoying the event while bringing down a nice display of classic cars.

“It’s a great deal because all the locals can all get together, eat, and visit with the neighbors,” Lorge said.

A group of motorcyclists from Manitoba Canada stopped Monday for lunch on their way to the Sturgis Rally. This was the group’s first time stopping in Amidon and heard about the hamburger stand from Heather Boyd’s daughter, who stopped last year on her way to Sturgis.

“This is a fabulous idea,” said Joel Gillespie, who is traveling with Boyd.

The fundraiser is also successful because of the many donations that the Fire Department receives every year from area ranchers and businesses. Four years ago some area ranchers started donating the beef that is used for the hamburgers, and an area butcher shop donates his time processing the meat. There are also other businesses that donate money or supplies, with some of the businesses donating their time as they come down to help work the event.

The planning and preparation starts around March, as supplies need to be ordered, and jobs need to be assigned as all the members of the fire department take time away from their own busy schedules to help work during the 10 days.

A couple of weeks before the event a group gathers together to turn 500 pounds of beef into hamburger patties, the meat is then frozen. Even with the help of a machine press, this process takes about six hours.

During the 10 days the fire department cooks and serves roughly 1,500 hamburgers and 1,500 brats.

This year because, of the predictions of larger crowds for the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Rally, they added about 200 extra pounds each of hamburgers and brats.

Also added to the menu this year were brisket sandwiches on Sunday. The brisket is made by a local Amidon resident.

They also serve breakfast in the mornings.

All the money that has been raised over the last six years has been used for the purchase of new gear, and it has also helped to build a new fire truck for the department.

The Fire Department will be cooking throughout the weekend, ending on Sunday evening August 9.

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