Mitchell Tech Program Gears Up for Elite Motorcycle Auction
Friday, November 18, 2022
Power Sports students are re-building a custom motorcycle in partnership with the City of Sturgis and Helping with Horsepower
A team of Mitchell Tech students is revving their engines, ready to speed toward an elite wintertime auction.
Working with Helping with Horsepower and the City of Sturgis, second-year Power Sports Technology students are customizing a 2018 Harley-Davidson Road Glide into “a performance, almost-race bagger with a touch of elegance,” according to Chris Degen, director of Mitchell Tech’s program. The finished bike will feature the City of Sturgis logo and the number 83, to commemorate the Rally’s 83rd year, set into ’80s-style racing stripes. It will be auctioned Jan. 24-28 at the elite Las Vegas Mecum Auction.
The stock bike arrived on campus Sept. 22 with 1,000 miles on it. Immediately, teardown work began, with Laura Klock, creator of the Helping with Horsepower Bike Rebuild Program, working alongside Degen and his students every Thursday. Klock wrote the Helping with Horsepower Bike Rebuild Program curriculum in 2011, as a way to share motorcycles as an effective tool to teach life lessons to youth.
“In the past, the (Power Sports) program has used the student fund to purchase wrecked bikes to rebuild and take to shows. This year, we struggled to find a good fit, and then this idea was presented that required zero investment from the program and a more elite show,” Degen said. “This project brings in a motorcycle and they get to be creative and try some fabrication ideas with no additional cost to the school. The students are working on the project in addition to their regular coursework.”
The City of Sturgis provided the motorcycle for the project, and the cost of parts has been covered by the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Custom Chrome USA and Rockford Fosgate, official sponsors of the project. Other donors include Paul Yaffe’s Baggernation, Klock Werks and Vance & Hines. Local painter Todd Dozark is providing painting services.
The finished bike will be auctioned at a Mecum Auction in Las Vegas in January. Specializing in the sale of collector cars for more than 30 years, the Mecum Auction Company is the world leader of collector car, vintage and antique motorcycle, and road art sales, hosting auctions throughout the United States. Since 2011, the company since 2011 has been ranked No. 1 in the world with number of collector cars offered at auction, No. 1 in the world with number of collector cars sold at auction, No. 1 in the U.S. with number of auction venues, No. 1 in the U.S. in total dollar volume of sales, and is host to the world's largest collector car auction, held annually in Kissimmee, Florida, as well as the world’s largest motorcycle auction, held annually in Las Vegas.
Degen, who worked with Klock at Klock Werks before coming to Mitchell Tech in 2013, said this is likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but shows the students – and outsiders – what graduates of Mitchell Tech’s Power Sports program can accomplish.
“These students will, more than likely, never build another bike that goes to an auction of this caliber,” Degen said, adding that he hopes they will be able to attend the auction to deliver the finished bike.
This is the second time Mitchell Tech and Helping with Horsepower have collaborated on a bike, but the first time the City of Sturgis has been involved. In 2014, the two organizations worked with residents of the Abbott House to transform a Harley-Davidson Road King into “Star,” a commemoration of Abbott House’s 75th anniversary, complete with a vintage sidecar to symbolize the power and impact the Abbott House has had on children and their families.
“The Helping with Horsepower Bike Rebuild Program adds a marketing, design and teamwork aspect that pairs perfectly with the students’ hands-on mechanical coursework,” Degen said. “These programs have a significant impact on the future of power sports, and the students are excited to be working on a project of this caliber.”
Once students received the bike, they instantly began planning and unanimously approved the performance bagger-style theme. Since then, they’ve been tearing down and custom-fabricating the new design. Students involved in the project include Jacob Johnson, Spearfish; Evan Juracek, Gregory; Mason Laursen, Ethan; Austin Munkvold, Freeman; Michael Supik, Colome; and Kash Weischedel, Onida.
“Participants in the program are hands-on throughout the entire customization process, including design and marketing,” Klock said. “This one is special because the Rally connects
generations, and this project is meant to honor 83 years, with a nod to the history of racing through our performance bagger style.”
Klock, president and founder of Helping with Horsepower, said the process drives home the message that “just like a motorcycle, you can repair, customize and rebuild anything in your life with the right tools and inspiration.”
Proceeds from the bike build will benefit the City of Sturgis Rally Endowment fund.
“For years, a part of the profits from the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been donated to local charities. In 2021, the City of Sturgis set up the Sturgis Rally Endowment Fund, a part of the Black Hills Community Foundation to ensure that the Rally tradition of charitable giving endures for the benefit of future area residents,” said Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen.
In 2021, the Sturgis Rally Endowment attracted the attention of a generous anonymous donor who agreed to match donations to the fund, in the form of cash, pledges or deferred gifts, including the city’s share of net proceeds from the motorcycle build program, to a maximum of $100,000.
“If possible, we would like to recognize the person who buys the bike during the opening ceremony of the 2023 City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally next August,” Carstensen said.
Progress on the bike build can be followed at facebook.com/sturgisrally and sturgis-sd.gov.