During the Mississippi River flood of 1965, 12 motorcyclists decided to ride 90 miles in the rain down Highway 61 to Winona to help sandbag the town.
This brave act of kindness was the inaugural Flood Run, a charity event that has drawn thousands of bikers to raise money for a variety of causes in the past 51 years.
This year’s 90-mile motorcycle ride, set for April 16, is put on by more than 100 volunteers and raises money for Gillette Children’s Hospital through $10 wristbands and merchandise.
The ride starts at Shiner’s Bar and Grill in Lakeland with breakfast and live music, and finishes in Winona. The official event after-party is held at Shiner’s.
Last spring, the ride drew more than 40,000 bikers, and the Flood Run raised $167,410 between its spring and fall events.
Brian Denny, president of the board of directors, says all are welcome, adding that the remaining original flood runners still love the tradition.
“From day one in 1965, it was all about helping people,” he says.
The Flood Run
Shiner’s Bar and Grill, 157 St. Croix Trail N., Lakeland
Breakfast starts at 8 a.m. Ride leaves at 10:30 a.m.