Children face a plethora of dangers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This poverty-stricken portion of South Dakota has very high suicide rates, and steering children on the right path while avoiding negative detours they face daily is a struggle for parents, officials, and volunteers.
By adopting the Helping With Horsepower Bike Rebuild program developed by Laura Klock, Lara and Mark Spence, of Reservation Restoration, hope to give boys on the reservation something to look forward to.
“We brought our kids to South Dakota in 2009 for a vacation, we fell in love with Rapid City, we wanted to work on the Reservations and this was it,” Spence said.
Mark Spence added that the after they got a motorcycle, the build and design is the responsibility of the boys.
Well the motorcycle program was in top gear today. The boys got the bike stripped down to the frame. Great to have Tjay and Ky join the crew today and help with some welding.
Xavier BigCrow, bike builder and designer, is inspired by his culture for the design. He wants to incorporate Native elements that will symbolize the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The problem-solving skills, building, and design decisions are giving the boys some first-rate life lessons that Lara Spence hopes they can use for the rest of their lives. The smiles and passion from the boys, she said, are proof that building something with your bare hands can bring about big personal changes.
“It’s therapeutic; I mean you end up with something at the end of it as well, it’s not just widdling your life away, you’re bolting something together and at the end of it, you can actually ride it around and enjoy what you just created,” Mark Spence said.
Bigcrow said some kids on the reservation enjoy riding horses, but kids like him enjoy dirt bikes, ATVs, motorcycles, and of course, horsepower!
They all agree that this program gives them something to look forward to.
“At home I’d probably be sitting on my phone, Facebook or whatever, but this, it gets me out of the house to enjoy time with these guys and work on motorcycles and stuff,” David Shangreaux said.
There’s no doubt that the boys working with Reservation Restoration are proud of their build, but they said they won’t be said to see it go because it is their “work of art.” This work of art is a shining example of heritage, creativity, and teamwork, and the boys are proud to share it with the world.
“The motto we try to work with is actually taking the old rundown motorcycle which is supposedly like the kids, they feel rundown and trodden on, then hopefully as you rebuild the bike, you rebuild their lives,” Mark Spence said.
And that is just what the Helping With Horsepower™ Bike Rebuild program is all about: transformation, working together as a team, building relationships, solving problems, and helping others.
The bike will be raffled off in May. Be sure to check back for more updates and ticket sales information. Follow Reservation Restoration on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ReservationRestoration/?fref=ts.
Contact us if you’d like to help! The project is being completed in what the kids have named the “Rez Rocket Garage” at: Chanku Waste Ranch, Hcr 49 Box 242, Porcupine, SD 57772.
Watch a video on the project HERE