Bikers swarm to South Dakota for annual rally

2010-08-07T13:10:00Z 2010-08-07T23:45:13Z Bikers swarm to South Dakota for annual rallyBy RUTH BROWN, Courier Lee News Service Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
August 07, 2010 1:10 pm  • 

The spitting, swearing and hard-drinking biker does not fit all Sturgis bike rally visitors. In fact, many will be active in various religious groups during rally week.

The Christian Motorcyclists Association hosts a 9 a.m. nondenominational praise and worship service every day during the rally at Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis. The CMA has about 140,000 members in the United States and chapters in 26 countries, according to Curtis Clements, vice president of evangelistic outreach for CMA.

"We will also have a booth and benches set up where we will be doing fellowship and building relationships with people and praying with them," Clements said. "We will have 300-400 CMA people working the rally."

The CMA has about 60,000 members involved in ministry and the numbers are growing, he said.

"We minister at all types of functions and camp in the area where an event is being held," Clements said. "We build relationships and minister in jails, convalescent homes, prisons, on the streets and we have our own events that we put on for our members and any visitors."

During rally week, CMA plans to have members on Main Street, at their booth, at the city courts and police station, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, the drag strip and at the Main Street photo towers.

The Hellfighters are another local group that will be doing fellowship at the rally. The group works out of the Mission of the Cross near Exit 32 in Sturgis. The group expects between 75 and 100 of their members will attend the rally.

"We always say that the Hellfighters are a Christian motorcycle ministry outreach and our motto is that we are sharing the love of Jesus Christ," said Kelly Sanftner, treasurer of the Hellfighters. "Every Friday, we have prayer and worship at 7 p.m. at the Mission of the Cross, and we encourage everyone from the community to come."

The Hellfighters often work with the local police department during the rally, Sanftner said.

"They bring intoxicated people to us, and they are allowed to sleep on a cot in our tents that we set up during the rally, and when they wake up we provide them with a meal and share our love of Jesus Christ," Sanftner said. "We also send our college kids from the Baptist seminary to go out and talk to people."

The students share Scripture at the rally and promote fellowship, she said. The church provides a daily meal at 6 p.m. at the rally with a live band and worship at the Mission of the Cross, which has a landmark cross.

"People from all over come and they come because they see the big cross," Sanftner said. "They come and say ‘we came here to get refreshed and participate in fellowship.'"

Sanftner said the Hellfighters never push religion on anyone but their goal is to help people find Jesus and make life changes.

"We are non-denominational, and we just hope to lead people to Christ," Sanftner said. "It's really amazing."

Copyright 2015 Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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