DELMONT — An area motorcycle group roared into Delmont this past Saturday, taking advantage of the sunshine and clear skies, as well as the South Park.
It wasn’t just a motorcycle gang, but members of South Central South Dakota A.B.A.T.E., the area group affiliated with A.B.A.T.E. of South Dakota, or A Brotherhood for Awareness, Training and Education. The South Central group had donated $1,000 to the city in the aftermath of the May 2015 tornado, said member Leo Holzbauer, Delmont, and he invited the group to see the progress made since that Mother’s Day disaster five years ago.
The group enjoyed South Park, where they held its July business meeting with the 15 members present. Their chapter is a much larger group of close to 60, explained Greg Isaakson, Corsica, and about 30 had been expected. No matter, they made themselves known, stopping at the Blacksheep Bar and Grill for supper before heading their separate ways.
While at the park, A.B.A.T.E. members enjoyed water from Dakota Splash, donated by Delmont Community Watch, and ice supplied by Rebel Wrenches..
“The park looks good,” said lifetime A.B.A.T.E. member Jim Putnam, Armour, adding, “the town looks good.” Putnam had drawn on his years of being District 19’s representation at the South Dakota Legislature to help gain financial assistance for Delmont following the tornado.
“When I had a stroke” several years ago, said Putnam, “I was unable to move or speak… and I couldn’t ride the Harley Davidson anymore and had to quit,” as well as the other influential posts he had held since his Legislative stint.
About a year ago, said Putnam, the president of South Dakota A.B.A.T.E. recognized him with a lifetime membership. That’s why, he noted, he wasn’t wearing “leathers” on Saturday’s visit.
“It’s a good bunch of people,” said Putnam of the area group.
During the short business meeting, plans were discussed for future meetings, as well as approving doing a 50/50 raffle on Friday, July 31, at Wagner Speedway.
Holzbauer received approval to give a framed picture of the group presentation of the $1,000 donated to Delmont, with the expectation it could be hung in the Community Building where other pictures of the event are posted.
Lars Sorlien, Lake Andes, the state representative for the South Central chapter, noted this is a nationwide group with 13 chapters in South Dakota alone.
He said a separate group, Motorcycle Riders, provide lobbying in both Pierre and Washington, D.C. Proposed laws unfavorable to motorcyclists are watched and the lobbyist seeks to derail such efforts, he added.
Later, Sorlien noted that the South Central chapter’s first meeting was December 2012, organized by himself and another person who has since moved away. He had first joined in Wisconsin three years prior to moving back to South Dakota, and joined the Corn Palace chapter in Mitchell, which has since closed. He served as the first president of the South Central chapter.
A.B.A.T.E. is not a biker gang, a fraternal organization, a motorcycle club, a government branch, or a Harley Davidson owner’s group, their published information states. However, the group is for those persons interested in motorcycle legislation and education; for all persons, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or age; persons who own various brands, makes, styles and sizes of motorcycles and those who don’t own a motorcycle; and motorcyclists, regardless of fraternal or club affiliation.
Isaakson added that A.B.A.T.E groups across South Dakota, as well as the South Central, are involved with various charities, such as doing toy drives and cookies to nursing homes and hospitals at Christmas, as well as supporting Cancer fundraisers, and others.
The group has been based in Lake Andes and meetings held there, but recently said Isaakson, the meetings have been spread out to other areas where members live, and patronizing those businesses too.
“It’s worked out great,” Isaakson added, noting “that’s what it’s all about—helping each other.”
And, perhaps, providing a little sunshine along the way.