Indian Partners With Motorcycle Missions To Raise Funds For Veterans

The motorcycle manufacturer will sponsor a build-off competition featuring an Indian Chief Dark Horse

Team Dallas
Motorcycle Missions to raise money for VeteransCourtesy of Indian Motorcycle

At the heart of almost every motorcycle gathering you’ll usually find some kind of contest, whether it’s a concours, a ride-in show, or some sort of custom showcase where one machine ultimately gets named as the cream of the crop. Nowadays it feels like everybody’s getting in on the build-off-style format, where builders (or teams) are pitted against each other to create a custom bike, usually from the same materials and/or with the same parameters. It’s a test of skill, talent, and imagination, and the format’s become so popular that even major manufacturers are jumping into the game.

The latest example comes from Indian Motorcycle, who has has just teamed up with Motorcycle Missions, a nonprofit that aims to help veterans and first responders find healing through motorcycle therapy. In addition to gaining exposure for its products, Indian is doing a whole lot of good for an often-unrecognized community too, which is, if you ask us, the right way to roll.

The two groups have partnered up to host a build-off competition in which two teams of veterans and first responders from the Lone Star State battle each other to design and build the coolest Indian Chief Dark Horse. The ultimate goal of the showdown is to raise funds to benefit veterans and first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chief Dark Horse
Indian’s competition pits two teams of veterans and first responders against each other in a build-off using a Chief Dark Horse motorcycle.Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle

In one corner will be Team Dallas, while in the other, you’ll see Team Austin, both of whom have to design and build an Indian Chief Dark Horse to be unveiled on Friday, April 12, at John Paul DeJoria’s Peace Love & Happiness fundraiser in Austin. The next day, April 13, any fan or enthusiast will be able to weigh in by visiting Motorcycle Missions’ and Indian Motorcycle’s Instagram and Facebook channels and casting their vote for their favorite machine. Each custom bike will eventually end up at on the biggest stage of all, the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and auctioned off on August 6, at the Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel and Casino, with the proceeds going to benefit Motorcycle Missions.

team austin
Both teams are comprised of current or former military members or first responders. Team Austin is clearly ready to rock—and bust out this build.Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle

Each team is made up of either current or former members of the military or first responders. Some of them are even from the local police and fire departments, but all of them are using “motorcycle therapy” to cope with some of the ill effects suffered in the line of duty and find some healing along the way. Among this year’s competitors is Team Dallas’ John Arroyo, an Army veteran and survivor of the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting in 2014. After recovering from severe wounds, Arroyo received the highest non-combat honor for valor. Team Austin will have in its ranks Robert Richman, who has served in law enforcement for more than 25 years.

Motorcycle Missions
Motorcycle Missions, a nonprofit organization, uses “motorcycle therapy” as a way to find healing for those who have suffered adverse effects in the line of duty.Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle

As Motorcycle Missions founder Krystal Hess puts it, “…Motorcycle Missions brings veterans and first responders together as they work toward one common goal. The trials and tribulations, camaraderie, and life-long friendships are what ‘motorcycle therapy’ is all about. If we can help these heroes get back to living healthy, joyful lives, while instilling them with a passion for motorcycles, we have fulfilled our mission.”

Sturgis Rally
Each of the finished customs will be auctioned off at this year’s Sturgis Rally, with the money raised going to Motorcycle Missions and its cause.Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle

For more information or to donate to Motorcycle Missions, visit To vote for your favorite custom, visit Motorcycle Missions' Instagram and Facebook channels on April 13.