Sanford’s Great American Bike race has raised more than 3.5 million dollars for children with medical needs since it began over 20 years.
Last year, a new group got to participate. About 170 inmates and staff at the State Penitentiary rode together and raised over $9,000 for the cause.
And today, over 220 gathered for this year’s fundraising event. You could feel the spirit of teamwork and comradery in the room.
State Penitentiary Inmate Allen Radliff adds, “Brings a lot of guys together, and makes it a happier place.”
It’s not an average day at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, inmates told us they rarely get the opportunity to give back.
Inmate Robert Buresh shares, “No, not in here we don’t. It’s very rare and it’s nice to be able to do something like this, even if it is only once a year.”
There were 37 teams at the State Penitentiary gym. Each member rode for 20 minutes in an effort to raise money for children and young adults with Cerebral Palsy and other related disabilities, so they’re able to buy medical equipment like wheelchairs and communication devices.
Buresh adds, “Just being able to help. To show we actually care about what’s going on in the community.”
Not to mention, it brings out the competitive nature in everyone involved.
Buresh explains, “It’s common through everything we do in here, it’s about all we’ve got.”
Allen Radliff was on the winning team last year. He had a special reason to ride.
He shares, “All the children in the world that are having a hard time in their life right now. You know, it touches my heart. I’ve got a little, young nephew that’s kind of got a disease, and I ride for him too.”
Radliff told me it’s opportunities like this that have improved the culture and made for a more positive outlook at the State Penitentiary.
He explains, “Years back it wasn’t so good, but it’s getting better. The operation that this place is putting together is coming along.”
State Penitentiary Unit Manager Lacie Xander adds, “It’s like the one day where it feels like we’re not in prison, and so we feel like it’s a way to kind of bridge that gap and build the relationships.”
11 of the teams were inmates over at Missouri River Correctional Center. The winning team from the minimum security prison will get to participate in the main event on April 27th.