Come ride with me

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kate Maurer
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
After more than a decade of having two separate motorcycle clubs on base, the Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club and the Dakota Thunder Motorcycle Club merged Oct. 22, 2012, to form a new club focused on motorcycle safety and training.

The Green Knights Dakota Thunder Military Motorcycle Club, which provides camaraderie, safety training and education for all those who ride, made its first appearance as one club at Ellsworth's Motorcycle Safety Day meeting, May 6.

There are more than 300 motorcycle enthusiasts on base, and yet only 75 are members of the newly formed club. Becoming a member of the club requires just a few items: access to Ellsworth (active duty or reserve military, retirees, Department of Defense personnel and family members), a motorcycle, filling out an application and adhering to the base policy for operating a motorcycle.

"We want riders with us and doing the right thing," said Senior Master Sgt. Danny Walker, 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent and GKDTMMC president. "Versus getting involved with those who might encourage more dangerous and risky riding."

Before the merger, the two clubs were simply divided forces working to achieve the same goal. Now they can channel their focus toward a safer, more educated Ellsworth.

"Instead of having to pick one club or the other, we can all form one big voice," said Master Sgt. Lance Stephenson, 28th Bomb Wing Foreign Object and Debris Program manager and GKDTMMC vice president.

The club coordinates monthly rides in the Black Hills area and administers briefings, e-mails and dinners on a daily or weekly basis to educate as many riders as possible on staying safe while doing something they enjoy.

"Every Airman is a valuable asset, to both the Air Force mission and their family," Walker said. "It would be terrible to lose a life to something as simple as not wearing the correct personal protective equipment."

The GKDTMMC focuses on safe riding on and off base by administering safety courses and educating the base on using proper protective equipment.

"A club like this is important for riders, especially the new ones," Walker said. "We help get them started and correct errors before they even happen just by talking and riding together."

Aside from riding through the Black Hills for more than 100 miles once a month, the GKDTMMC members stay involved in the local community by volunteering at charities, hosting Ellsworth's annual Dakota Thunder Run during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and riding with other motorcycle clubs such as the Patriot Guard Riders, the American Veterans Riders Association and the American Legion Riders. They also plan to host a bike show in the near future.

"It's great that the two clubs are finally united," Walker said. "I have full confidence that we will continue to grow and improve. I encourage anyone with a bike to join us and to stay safe doing it."

For more information on motorcycle safety or joining the GKDTMMC, call Walker at (605) 385-2053.