Inmates raise thousands for the Great American Bike Race

Sanford Health’s Great American Bike Race has raised millions of dollars for children with special needs. It has been going on for over 20 years, but for the first time, those bikes were taken behind bars.

The sounds of loud music and words of encouragement filled the North Dakota State Penitentiary gymnasium Friday afternoon.

“We raised a lot of money for a lot of people that need it. So, it’s a good thing,” said inmate Chad Seibel.

There are 108 people, both inmates and prison staff divided into 18 teams, and they have collectively raised over $4,700 for the cause.

Seibel added, “To be a part of it is just something special, especially the team that I’m on.”

He and his team are riding for Nora, a two year old girl with crebral palsy. She’s a relative of one of the teammates.

“I saw a picture of her, and that was it. We’re going to do this. So, here we are,” said Seibel.

The 18 bikes were brought in by Sanford Health for them to used. Each person took turns to ride for 20 minutes as fast or as slow as they’d like. And had the support from their teammates the whole way, nomatter which side of the bars they’re on.

NDSP Captain Rick Hochhalter said, “I wanted to show that staff and residents can work together in order for a common goal.”

The inmates say they love the opportunity to give back to the community. It shows a side of them many people don’t see.

“We are human beings in here. We’re not just straight criminals. I think it’s a good event, and I’m glad they’re doing it. And I hope we do more events like this,” said inmate Shawn Helmenstein.

The Department of Corrections also held the event at the Missouri River Correctional Center – with a total of 10 teams participating.

Adding both the state pen and missouri river, nearly $7,000 and counting have been raised for the Great American Bike Race.

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