Dead Monkey's start year with winter poker run
January 21. 2014 10:26AM
When members of the Dead Monkey’s, a Dell Rapids motorcycle club, rumble down the open road, passersby notice the leather jackets, chrome horses and facial hair. What they might not realize is the bikers have raised thousands for various community organizations since the club was established in 2012.
“It started out with the three of us just wanting to help out the community anyway that we could,” said Jeff Nelson, vice president and charter member of the Dead Monkey’s.
In 2012, Nelson, Monkey’s Bar and Grill owner Monte Martell, and Rick Morris formed the group after each purchased Harley-Davidsons, and were looking to couple a love a riding with a desire to give. Today, the club has nearly 50 members, and a charitable reputation.
“Every dime we’ve ever made we’ve donated back to the community,” said Martell, president and charter member of the Dead Monkey’s. “And it’s fun. We have little parties and go on different poker rides.”
Poker runs are the club’s primary fundraiser. Martell said the Dead Monkey’s make a point to host three each year - winter, spring and fall - and ride in many others. The Club Benefit River Poker Run, the club’s first poker run of the year, is Saturday, and runs from Monkey’s Bar and Grill in Dell Rapids to Bluebirds in Egan. Participants will also stop at Steve’s Bar in Trent.
Martell said the winter runs are geared toward winter vehicles like snowmobiles, ATVs and cars and trucks. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, he said.
The club hasn’t decided what local organization will be the beneficiary of the Saturday’s poker run, but if history is a predictor, it’ll go where its needed.
The Dead Monkey’s donate a few hundred dollars to the Christmas for Our Kids holiday program each year, regularly give ham and beef to the food pantries in town and occasionally sponsor youth sporting endeavors, among other things.
Nelson said as involvement in long-standing civic groups like Rotary, Lions and the Legion wanes, its paramount that community leaders find a way to get young people involved in community action. A biker club is appealing to young riders, and, for some, might serve as the first step toward a lifetime of charitable service.
“I think we’ve inspired some of the younger folks to want to help,” he said.
Anyone can join the club, even people who don’t ride motorcycles. Signing up requires a one-time fee of $30, which covers the cost of the club patch that’s issued to all members.