As attendees gathered at the Rugby Eagles for the 10th annual Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride on the morning of September 11, Kuhnhenn’s son Ben said he believed his father would approve the date.
“He was a Vietnam veteran, commander of the American Legion and commander of the VFW when it still existed. Kuhnhenn said of his father. “He has worked a lot with other veterans with PTSD. He brought the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to Rugby the year he died.
Daryl Kuhnhenn, who created Daryl’s Refrigeration, was “One of those guys if you’ve met him once you’ll never forget him.” He always had a joke. He was the life of the party. He was always lively. according to Ben Kuhnhenn.
Daryl Kuhnhenn died the day after in an accident while doing one of the many things he loved – riding his motorcycle. His surviving family and friends began a tradition the following year to honor Daryl for the many things he did for his community. Since then, the Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride has been going well.
Ben Kuhnhenn said the ride raised money for charities in the community where Daryl had grown his business and raised his family.
“Last year we broke $ 120,000 in donated donations”, Kuhnhenn said.
Kuhnhenn has a long list of charities that have benefited from the ride. “We give to firefighters, to pantries, we give scholarships. If you go to our Facebook page, there is a list of places where we donated last year. We donate to the Lyric Theater; we give to the museum, to the fair. We do a lot. Probably 75 percent of our donations stay in Rugby and the surrounding communities ”, Kuhnhenn noted.
“The only causes we give away are the veterans house and the veterans cemetery where my father is buried for upkeep. “ Kuhnhenn added. “We’re donating money to a location in Judd, North Dakota that trains dogs for veterans with PTSD.”
Kuhnhenn said, “We give based on the needs of a charity. We give a little more to firefighters because they are volunteers. They are not (staffed by regular employees).
We donate money to the (National American Legion) and the local legion post here. My father was at the Lions Club. He was in the racing association. He was part of the hockey association. He was in everything.
Participants pay a $ 25 fee to have their motorcycle, classic or not-so-classic car join the trek, which begins with a parade through Rugby town center and then follows one of two different routes that alternate each year.
This year, according to Kuhnhenn, “After rugby we leave Willow City, go to Towner, Drake, then we meet in Balta and go back to Rugby. Every two years, we alternate the routes. Last year we went to Towner, Upham, Bottineau and Willow City.
“We were always going south before because my father’s accident was on route 14. There is a commemorative cross there, so we stop there” Kuhnhenn said.
Kuhnhenn said he hoped to see a big turnout for Patriot Day. “Our lowest years had 200 (participants). We could have 300 to 400 people. Hope people try to come out and show their patriotism. “
“As long as it continues like this, we will continue to do it” Kuhnhenn added. “I would like to thank all the companies that come to support and participate in it. Without them we wouldn’t be here. You can plan all day, but if people don’t show up, it doesn’t matter. Maintaining that for ten years is great.
“I hope it won’t slow down” Kuhnhenn said. “A lot of people have never even known my dad. They come just because it’s for a good cause and they know someone who knew him and started participating and it’s nice to see all these people once a year and catch up.
Rugby Volunteer Fire Chief Derek Bush said he had known Daryl Kuhnhenn from a young age. “I grew up running with Daryl”, Bush said. “We raced track cars.”
Bush recalled when members of the Kuhnhenn family contacted the fire department about the establishment of the ride, “They asked us if we were interested in making a breakfast or serving coffee and donuts for the runners, and we said, ‘yes’. Then they wanted help for the parade that went through town. We said, ‘No problem.’ So we like to do it ”, Bush said. The ride always begins with fire trucks as it winds through Rugby.
Bush said the department appreciated donations from the ride. “It’s okay in training, things like that. Nothing? Truly,” he said. “This is a good thing.”
Bush said he thought most Rugby residents “Are happy to see (the ride) in town. It’s a good way to remember Daryl.
“He was a good guy” Bush said of Kuhnhenn. “He would do anything for you. He liked to joke and have fun. I don’t think he had too many enemies. He’s always been a good guy to be around. If you’ve ever met Daryl, you’ve remembered him.
The long list of local businesses sponsoring the ride includes: I Design; Rugby Clarence Larson American Legion Post # 23; Hiway MVP; Kuhnhenn Red Angus; BPS plumbing; Schmaltz farm; Eagles Rugby Club; Balta bar and grill; America’s Heart Medical Center; The general store; 90-Wt of Henry. Ribs and beef brisket; Dog kennel lounge; Saint-Michel furniture; Queen of Dairy Rolla; Agricultural Services of the Heart of America; Bremer Bank; J&J Market; the construction of Wade; Ranch Hoffart; Daryl Refrigeration, LLC; Corey’s rafter bar; Kuhnhenn Trucking & Excavating, LLC; Dakota Spirits; Shooters Legion Riders MC Ext. 23; Bartsch Electric, LLC; horse shoeing Hoffarts; Main street shop; Magnolia wellness and detox spa; Dakota Farms; Daryl’s siblings; Mattern family meats; Rocking relics; Morris Salon; Bulldog honey farms; Release point stretch therapy; B&J Excavation, Inc .; Rugby insurance agency; First international bank and trust; La Bella Vita Salon; Harper Oil; PS garage doors; Cork bottle; Rugby car detailing service; Magic City Harley-Davidson; Supply of the country of the cow; Dakota Eye Institute; Deb’s Concessions and Restoration; NuLine Insurance; Hank hardware store; DK service; Ramsey National Bank; Jason’s Super Foods; Merchant’s bank; Rugby broadcasters; Follman Farms; Honey Gunter; Align chiropractic; Mike’s Body, Paint and Glass, Inc .; Highway 2 collision center; Niewoehner Funeral Home; Boring Line, LLC; Brossart Commercial and Tax Services; White drug # 50; Gooseneck tool; rugby wood; Northern Plains Electric Coop; Goldade Financial Services; Mack Law Offices, PC; Lotvedt Lumber, Inc .; MJ McGuire Co.; Towner plumbing and heating; Otter Tail Power Company; Metro; Section 8 Bar and Grill; Gallows Motorcycle Club; House of the economy; bearded moose; Studio-Living room; Metigoshe Drive In; Titan machines; Larae Sénéchal Norwex; RHI procurement; Ryli’s origami owl; Child care for little angels.
Money raised from last year’s race was $ 12,000 and was donated to the following organizations: Rugby Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, Rugby American Legion, Rugby High School Scholarships, TGU High School Scholarships, 1,000 $ each; North Dakota Veterans’ House, PTSD Assistance Dogs, Drake High School Scholarship, Towner Fire Department, $ 500 each; Good Samaritan Hospital Association Hospice, Rugby Music Boosters, Rugby Cancer Center Gas Cards, Pierce County Fair, Pierce County Food Pantry, $ 400 each; Farm Rescue, Drake Food Pantry, $ 300 each; Village Arts, Minot VA Vet Center, Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports, Bottineau Family Crisis Center, Willow City American Legion, Pierce County 4-H Shooting Sports, Rugby Community Endowment Fund, Drake Fire Department, $ 250 each; North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Heart of America Public Library, Pierce County Seniors Meal, Towner Elderly Seniors Meal, Bottineau Pantry, Prairie Village Museum, $ 200 each; Drake American Legion, $ 150; Heart of America Concert Series, $ 50; an evening of sponsored free skating at the Al Wentz Arena, Rugby; sponsored / hosted A Knight for a Princess Dance in Rugby.