Photo by Dan Steinberg Photography

Wow! What an amazing start to our Veteran’s Charity Ride to Sturgis 2015! The launch from Los Angeles yesterday morning was a tremendous success.

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Jay Leno & the Veterans Charity Ride Riders – Photo by Dan Steinberg Photography

We began the day at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel. The team at the hotel were incredible. Their hospitality and kindness to our the Veterans was really something. I want to thank Alan Tate and Stephanie for ensuring that our guys and gals were well looked after.

We told the riders that the truck with the motorcycles had broken down and that we would need to transport them to the warehouse where the bikes were housed but they ended up at Jay Leno’s Garage! They were really surprised.

It was so cool to see their faces when Jay opened the door and greeted them. In the entrance were all the brand new Indian Motorcycles they would be taking on their journey. The tour through Jay’s garage was truly amazing! Alonzo Bodden, a friend of Jay’s and a huge supporter of our Veterans also joined them for the tour.

Kristy Swanson & Alonzo Bodden

Kristy Swanson and Alonzo Bodden

We then rode over the the LA City Fire Station #77 in Sunland were received by dozens of firemen, about 50 of the LA City Firehogs MC, the very lovely and supportive Kristy Swanson and fellow veteran and amputee, Alex Minsky. I was really moved by the salute and utter respect shown to all the riders.

We hung out with the firemen and they let Veteran, Josh Ferguson who was wearing a camo kilt, come down the firepole! It was hilarious. The Veterans were interviewed by the press and the real message they were spreading was that as veterans we want our brothers and sisters who have served and who need help , to reach out. To let them know that people want to help them and that they need help each other. This ride is all about coming together and healing by riding and helping each other through whatever life throws them.

We left LA for Las Vegas and despite 111 degree heat and a massive traffic jam we made it! We were met at the state line by more than a hundred other riders and a police escort to lead us into Las Vegas. The group was met with open arms by the New Tropicana Hotel and staff. It was epic! Big shout out to the beautiful All New Tropicana, your newly renovated hotel is stunning! We spent the night in Vegas in style!

ABC7 Los Angeles Interview

ABC7 Los Angeles Interview Photo by Dan Steinberg Photography

The whole group was driven over to the Sands Expo to the Polaris Convention and given and standing ovation by the 4000 Polaris dealers and a special acknowledgement by the Polaris CEO, Scott Wine.

I am really just giving you a few of the highlights! The real success for me was seeing the Veterans having a great time, being together and having them experience for themselves a little motorcycle therapy! Nothing like the wind in your face, speeding down the highway to give your heart a lift. This was just the first day… Utah here we come!