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 Buffalo Chip Challenge™ Building the Next Generation of American Motorcycling

Motorcycle Project Prepares Local Youth for Careers in the Motorcycle Industry


Watch Motorcycles and Students Transform through this Award-Winning Motorcycle Mentorship Program

Over Spring 2016, you had the chance to witness America’s next generation of motorcycling leaders transform while they built these two custom motorcycles:

The fully customized John Shope Signature 2015 Indian Chief Classic (left) and Rusty Jones Signature 2016 Victory Cross Country (right)

After six years of churning out award-winning custom motorcycles, the world watched as the 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge program again welcomed a new crop of students who ready to rise to the challenge and take hold of dreams that might have otherwise seemed impossible.

The Buffalo Chip Challenge is an industrial education and scholarship program that partners with leading industry professionals to provide students with skills and experience to put them a step ahead. Each year student teams work to customize motorcycles that will go head to head with pro builders from around the country at the Donnie Smith Bike Show and be auctioned off in support of the Legends Ride® charity event. In addition to learning cutting-edge customization techniques, student participants are eligible to receive $8,500 in scholarships to continue their education. They are the next generation.

Students who took part in 2016’s innovative motorcycle mentorship program had their sights set on bringing home awards, and they worked with new bikes, parts and concepts to achieve this goal. For the first time, teams customized a 2016 Victory Cross Country and a 2015 Indian Chief Classic. Under the direction of Keith Terry of Terry Components, Randy Cramer of Dakota V-Twin led Team Victory to build a Rusty Jones Signature Victory Cross Country and Chris Malo of Baggster led Team Indian to build a John Shope Signature Indian Chief.

John Shope, star of HISTORY’s “Biker Battleground: Phoenix,” returned to the program as a major parts contributor on the Indian bike and rising industry name Rusty Jones of Rusty Jones Customs joined as a major parts contributor on the Victory bike so that the two signature head-turning customs could go head to head.

Teams had approximately three months to transform the two stock bikes into head-turning custom works of art before having the opportunity to showcase them at the prestigious Donnie Smith Bike Show in St. Paul, Minn. April 2-3, 2016.

To see the skills they learned and pick up some tips and techniques you can use in your own garage, check out these articles in the Sturgis Rider® News Blog:

2016 Challenge participant Matt Hovdenes bolts the Kewl Metal Inc. neck rake kit onto his team's Victory Cross Country and properly torques it to spec.

Build teams, including 2016’s, have been able to add first place finishes at multiple motorcycle shows to their resume and money to further their education goals.

Calvin Tohm grinds down the top of the rear air ride mount in order for it to fit properly with the seat pan.

Calvin Tohm is one of many 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge students who have taken full advantage of this program. His investment in the project was infectious, and his growth and understanding of the mechanics made an observable improvement. This junior from Whitewood attending Spearfish High School was one of three students selected to receive a Buffalo Chip Challenge Scholarship—the top award of $5,000.

The 2016 Challenge participants had a lot to live up to as the 2015 Challenge participants had brought home first and second place trophies from the famed Donnie Smith Bike and Car Show in St. Paul, Minn. in March of 2015. But the months of hard worked paid off when the group took home not one, but two first place trophies in the open class.

2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge pose with their awards and award-winning bikes in their display at the Donnie Smith Bike Show. 

Both custom bikes from 2016’s Buffalo Chip Challenge will be auctioned off in support of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s signature Legends Ride charity event on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016.

To see photos, videos and articles on the project, be sure to follow the Buffalo Chip Challenge on the Legends Ride Facebook page.


Which of the two bikes are you most looking forward to seeing completed? Let us know in the comments below!

Pulling off a motorcycle project of such massive proportions is a task that requires the efforts of many. Thank you to the following industry leaders for powering the 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge:


Sturgis Buffalo Chip
American Iron Magazine
Dakota V-Twin
Dirty Bird Concepts
Hot Leathers
Indian Motorcycle Sturgis
Rusty Jones Customs
Terry Components
Parts Sponsors: 
Arlen Ness Enterprises  Carl Brouhard Designs
CT Designs
Flat Earth Art
Hawg Halters, Inc.
Jamie's Repair
Kreun Kustom
Legend Suspensions
Lloyd’z Motor Workz
MTX Audio
RC Components
Sturdevant’s Refinish Supply Center
Trask Performance
Vee Rubber America