Beth Nielsen never thought her idea for a biker calendar last year would blow up like it did.
“I made 100 calendars and we laughed thinking how many we’d have left over,” Nielsen said.
But when she asked members of local bike clubs if they’d model the months for charity, they were hesitant at first.
“We said… uh OK. Then she looked for volunteers, and a bunch of us volunteered,” Adam Kuntz, Mr. October said.
And their “Not So Heavenly Bodies” calendar efforts didn’t go unnoticed — CNN picked up the story from the AP, turning what started off as a joke into a national spectacle.
“There were a lot of us getting approached at airports and bike rallies,” Kuntz said.
Kuntz said they sold close to a thousand calendars, raising about $20,000 for Heavens Helpers soup cafe in Bismarck.
“It was definitely something we did not expect,” Kuntz said.
This year’s calendar proceeds go to Sporting Chance, a charity that gives people with disabilities outdoor experiences at no cost.
“The biker community has always supported special needs and disabled individuals,” Nielsen said.
But this time, fundraising efforts have also gone to one of their own.
“The day of the fire is beyond the most stressful thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Mike Carpenter said.
When Mike and LaDonna Carpenter’s home caught fire Monday, they lost everything, but the support from the bikers remained.
“You want to wake up from the nightmare, and that nightmare has turned our friends into family. I consider them all family. They came to us to help us to make us feel whole again,” Mike said.
This weekend’s fundraiser for Sporting Chance also includes an option to donate to the Carpenters.
“The motorcycle community in Bismarck is such a family,” LaDonna said. “It doesn’t matter what club you ride for, what colors you wear, we all take care of each other, and I guess it’s our turn.”
Nielsen says the outpouring of support isn’t shocking.
“It doesn’t surprise me one bit, that’s what these clubs are really about.”
To support the cause, you can buy a calendar for $20 through the group’s PayPal account, or at one of the many local sponsors that carry the calendar.