Monday, July 2, 2012

Facing Adversity

A few hours ago we completed the live Q&A on the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge business page on Facebook and I wanted to be sure to let everyone know that if you weren't able to join us in real time the threads from yesterday and today remain for your review. However, if you are not a member of Facebook I want to repeat some things that (I feel) are important to note.

First let me start by reiterating that we are attempting to build a brand with the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge and this has been a test of our own fortitude as much as any of our riders and we are grateful to everyone that supports us in this endeavor. As I've said before, I am an Environmental Scientist and Jim is a Tribal Attorney. Until we started promoting the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge in 2008 we neither one had any experience in promotions or in long distance motorcycle events. Admittedly, we have been on a bit learning curve but we are getting most of the bugs worked out in an effort to make the Challenge a world class event.

But it is not just about us, or the event.  Sometimes in the hype of dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly; people forget about our ultimate mission which is to bring awareness to the plight of the Indian people on the remote reservations. Most specifically, Pine Ridge Reservation since it is the poorest region in the country and it is right in our own back yard! So, while we may not agree on everything that has happened in the past as it regards the event, let us all agree that something needs to be done about the poverty within the boundaries of the United States and that the grim statistics surrounding the reservations present a compelling argument for our unbending desire to use the HHMC to make some small difference.

There were a couple of doubters online with us during the Q&A, and I tried to address their concerns but I know that we are probably never going to convince the nay-sayers and the haters. Some people will believe everything they read on the internet without any proof one way or the other. They choose what they want to believe. We acknowledge that the HHMC does go against the grain and not everyone likes that about us. But that is OK... To each his own.

On the other hand, I have to say "Thanks" to everyone who does believe in the HHMC. I want you to know that we are doing our best to earn your trust and belief. But, I say again... This is not about us; it is about the people on the Indian Reservations who need something to hope for. Maybe the actual controversy over the HHMC doesn't help the young people on Pine Ridge but perhaps, without trying, the HHMC has allowed us to become an example of how difficult it can be to stand for what you feel is right. At a great deal of personal cost to us and our families; the HHMC hasn't come cheap.  And it certainly hasn't been easy to carry on in the face of so much adversity. But, I suppose that is one of life's hardest lessons after all. 

When I signed off today; I tried to put my finger on the most critical aspect of the HHMC and I don't know that I was able to convey the sentiment adequately. What I tried to say is that the HHMC IS about facing adversity. It is about carrying on no matter how difficult things become. The teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150% higher than the U.S. national average for this age group and these young people NEED something to hope for. If we can serve as an example of what it means to adapt and overcome then so be it. We admit to our mistakes and try to correct them if we can. But the HHMC will not reward cheating nor condone bending the rules to get ahead. People ask what's wrong with the youth today? Well, I have a clue.  I feel that it is because too few adults set the correct example. Right or wrong, the example we intend to set is one of perseverance and dedication. Hard work and commitment. Honor and integrity. If that is too difficult to understand then this event is not for you.

Hoka Hey!

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  1. Has any money from the Hoka Hey gone to the reservation?

  2. Because the HHMC is just getting off the ground we haven't made a profit yet. Unfortunately, although the large purse attracted a lot of attention and riders, it didn't allow for any sort of return on investment and subsequently there has been no funds available to give to the reservation. However, the production is in its final stages of editing and it is our hope that the feature length documentary will bring awareness, money and hope to the reservation.