Lakes area bikers, it’s time to get those motors running and head out on the highway!
The 14th Annual Leather & Leaves Motorcycle Rally departs from parking lot of the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center this Saturday, Sept. 18, with kickstands set to go up at 11 a.m. There will be a rider meeting at 10:45 a.m. to go over the event route and rules of the road.
Though the exact route they are taking is a secret, each year's ride is between 100-120 miles, according to organizer Nancy Hebert.
"When the DLCCC took over the event in 2015, we asked for feedback (from past participants), and one of the comments was that the course was always the same," Hebert said — so they decided to switch it up, with a new route chosen each year. "This year we're going south and west."
Likewise, their stops along the route are also kept hush-hush, Hebert said, though they try to support as many local businesses as they can by rotating between different venues. This year's ride will include a mid-point stop "to stretch their legs and have a snack" before continuing on to their final destination.
Though their route changes from year to year, one thing that does not is the participation of "road guards" — riders who are certified to ensure biker safety, mainly by riding ahead and blocking off dangerous intersections, then making sure all the motorcycles have crossed before opening up the intersection to through traffic once again.
Hebert says that for the past several years, Minnesota law has required that all large-group rides use road guards. “It’s very reassuring to have them there,” she said, adding that the feedback she’s gotten from other riders has been very positive as well. “It keeps our ride much safer."
When they reach their end destination, participants will be able to bid on a variety of silent auction items, as well as win some door prizes and take part in a "50-50" drawing, with the drawing proceeds split evenly between the winner and the DLCCC.
"This is a fundraiser," Hebert said, adding that the proceeds are used to support scholarships, outreach projects and other DLCCC programming.
All together, the silent auction and door prize items collected as of this past Thursday were valued at approximately $1,800, Hebert continued, noting that they were still accepting donations. Winners must be present to claim their prizes, she added.
Though she has been organizing the rally since 2015, Hebert said it is far from a one-woman operation.
"We have a lot of volunteers for this event," she explained. "People who collect road prizes, people who help with registration, and of course our road guards. We couldn’t do this event without the help of all our volunteers."
Though event-day registration starts at 9:30 a.m., those who prefer the convenience of online registration can do so at dlccc.org/register.html, by clicking on the “Youth and Adult Programs” button toward the bottom of the page. The cost to participate in the ride is $25 per rider, plus an additional $15 per passenger.
For more information, please call the DLCCC at 218-844-4221, or visit the website at dlccc.org.
If you go
What: 14th Annual Leather & Leaves Motorcycle Rally
When: Saturday, Sept. 18, kickstands up at 11 a.m. (day-of registration starts at 9:30 a.m., with rider meeting at 10:45 a.m.)
Where: Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, 826 Summit Ave.
How: Cost is $25 per rider, plus $15 per passenger. Register online at dlccc.org/register.html or at the DLCCC on the morning of the event.